Apartment owners, living in a high rise may be fraught with difficulties such as unsatisfactory living conditions, issues with developers, and so on. Where then are such grievances ventilated?

Enter the Strata Management Tribunal (“the Tribunal”).

A tribunal is, in simple terms, a court or forum created by law, to decide on disputes. In this instance:

  • The Tribunal has the power/jurisdiction to hear and determine claims that relate to strata properties (as set out in Part 1 of the 4th Schedule to the Strata Management Act).
  • These disputes mainly concern the functions, duties, or powers by the Strata Management Act, claims for recovery of maintenance charges or contributions to the sinking fund, and claims to vary the rate of interest fixed for late payment of maintenance charges.
  • By law, the total amount to be claimed cannot exceed RM250,000.00.
  • Those entitled to file a claim at the Tribunal are only developers, purchasers, proprietors, joint management bodies, management corporations, subsidiary management corporations, managing agents, and any other interested person (with leave of the Tribunal).

Here’s a simple and practical guide on how you can resolve tribunal issues with Strata Management Tribunal (SMT) –  (and it does not involve hiring a lawyer.)

Before we go into how to file a case with the tribunal, let me introduce the two Strata Laws that govern Strata properties in Malaysia:

(1) Strata Titles Act 1985 (Act 318) amended in 2013 (vide Act A1450)

(2) Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA) (Act 757) (repeal from Building & Common Property (Maintenance & Management) Act 2007 (referred to as Act 663).

The Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA) was enforced on 1 June 2015 and under this act, we have two regulations which are:

(1) Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations 2015 (SMR)

(2) Strata Management (Strata Management Tribunal) Regulations 2015 (SMT). This is the piece of regulation that we will be zeroing in.

*SMA is only applicable to Peninsular Malaysia. In Sarawak, it is governed by the Sarawak Strata Titles Ordinance 1974 and in Sabah, it is governed by the Sabah Land (Subsidiary Title) Enactment 1972.

Based on the SMA and its regulations, strata properties that do not come with strata titles during vacant possession are managed in 3 stages:

Stage 1- Management by the developer. The developer will initially manage the common properties after vacant possession of parcel to strata owners.

Stage 2- Management by a Joint Management Body (JMB). Strata owners and the developer jointly manage the common properties via a JMB established after the first annual general meeting (AGM) of the JMB.

Stage 3- Management by a Management Corporation (MC). Once the strata title has been issued, the JMB will transfer management of common properties to an MC after the first AGM of the MC.

After 1 June 2015, the enforcement of the Strata Management Tribunal Regulation 2015 (SMT) or Tribunal Pengurusan Strata (TPS) by the Housing and Local Government Ministry (Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan) (KPKT) provided an efficient and cost-effective solution in resolving disputes between strata owners, JMB/MC, developer, and other stakeholders.

And yes, no lawyer is needed for SMT cases, because section 110 of the Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA) states that no party shall be represented by a lawyer unless there are complex legal issues that would require any party to have one. The maximum claims limit in SMT cases is up to RM 250,000. Not bad at all right?

The following are steps in filing for Strata Management Tribunal (SMT).

  1. Claimant/(Penuntut): Download and fill up 4 copies of Form 1/Borang 1 (Statement of claims) clearly, precisely and accurately with sufficient facts and evidence attached; together with a filing fee of RM100 for residential claims and RM200 for commercial/industrial claims and submit to KPKT. The 4 copies of Form 1 will be signed and sealed by the Secretary of the Tribunal on the same day.

*Addresses for SMT filing are:

Central zone – No. 51, Persiaran Perdana, 62100 Presint 4, Putrajaya, 62100 Putrajaya (Level 1)

North zone – Aras 7, Zon B Wisma Persekutuan, Seberang Perai Utara,13200 Jalan Bertam,Kepala Batas, Pulau Pinang

South Zone – Tingkat 20, Menara Ansar, No.65, Jalan Trus,80000 Johor Bahru,Johor.

East Zone – Tingkat 5-6, Bangunan Darul Takaful (Maidam), Jalan Sultan Ismail, 20200 Kuala Terengganu,Terengganu

  1. Claimant/(Penuntut) must serve 1 copy of Form 1/Borang 1 (Statement of claims) attached with Form 2 (Statement of defence and counterclaim) and Form 4 (notice of hearing) with the date, time, and venue of the hearing to the Respondent/(Penentang) within 14 days of the filing date.
  2. Respondent/(Penentang) can file a defence using Form 2 (Statement of defence and counterclaim) within 14 days after receiving Form 1 (Statement of claims) from Claimant at KPKT. The filing fee is the same paid by the claimant.
  3. Should the Claimant disagree with the respondent’s Form 2 (Statement of defence and counterclaim), the claimant can file using Form 3 (Defence to Counterclaim) to counter the respondent’s statement with a filing fee of RM50 for residential claims and RM100 for commercial/industrial claims at KPKT.

On the hearing date, both parties must appear before the President of the Tribunal at Level 4 of KPKT Putrajaya (for the central zone). Both parties will present oral arguments and documented pieces of evidence relevant to the case.

Once the hearing is over, the tribunal will make an award based on the pieces of evidence. Awards and settlements are recorded in writing in Form 6 (Award by Consent). Failure to comply with the award decided by the Tribunal is a criminal offence and one can be fined up to RM250K or jailed up to 3 years or both according to Section 123 of the SMA 2013.

The Strata Management Tribunal (SMT) since 2015 have successfully provided a cost-effective and practical solution in resolving disputes between strata owners, JMB/MC, developers and other stakeholders. For additional info please refer to https://www.kpkt.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/423



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