THE concept of sub-division was introduced in Peninsular Malaysia on Jan 1, 1966 via the National Land Code 1965. Since then, the Strata Titles Act 1985 (STA 1985), which facilitates the sub-division of a building into parcels, together with numerous other amendments, have been enacted.

The latest update that will bring about a significant change to the landscape of strata developments and common property management comes in the form of the Strata Titles (Amendment) Act 2013 (STAA 2013), which is anticipated to come into force soon.

Significant Amendments

Briefly, the amendments of significant note under the STAA 2013 include:

(a) the extension of the STA 1985 to Labuan;

(b) the introduction of the Electronic Land Administration System of Strata Titles;

(c) it being compulsory for the original proprietor to apply for sub-division of a building or land at the super structure stage, thereby requiring the application for sub-division to be made in two stages;

(d) in the case of phased developments, the issuance of a provisional strata title for a provisional block comprising of land parcels is now allowed;

(e) the designation of limited common property and the creation of one or more subsidiary management corporations to represent the different interests of parcel proprietors; and

(f) the execution of transfer documents of ownership of strata titles by the purchaser within 30 days from the date of issue by the land administrator or any extended period by the director.

This article focuses on the following two key areas:

1. Application for Sub-division of Building or Land

Timeframe

The original proprietor must apply for sub-division at the super structure stage and the procedure for this application is streamlined into two phases:

(a) application for a certificate of proposed strata plan (CPSP); and

(b) application for sub-division within one month from the date of issuance of the CPSP.

The “super structure stage” is the stage upon the completion of building works as duly certified in accordance with the by-laws of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974. Practically, it may mean the completion of building works up to completion of walls that are necessary for measurement of parcels, accessory parcels and common property.

For the first phase, the STAA 2013 specifies the various situations and time periods within which the proprietor must apply for the CPSP. All proprietors should give added consideration to this amendment as it includes situations pre- and post-commencement of the STAA 2013.

Under the second phase, once the CPSP is issued, the proprietor must apply to the Land Administrator for sub-division within one month from the date of issuance.

The implementation of these time frames represent a significant step in expediting the application for sub-division and will also play a major role in facilitating the concept of delivery of vacant possession after the strata title has been issued.

2. Limited Common Property and Subsidiary Management Corporations

This advancement is particularly useful for mixed developments where the usage of each parcel owner may differ widely.

Subsidiary Management Corporations

A principal management corporation (MC) may now create one or more subsidiary management corporations (SMC) to represent different parcel proprietors.

For instance, in a mixed development, the MC would manage common property used by all parcel owners such as the car parks and security points; the office SMC would manage the lifts, lobbies and centralised air-conditioning meant exclusively for the office owners; and the residential SMC would manage the swimming pool, gym and lifts meant exclusively for residents.

The clear advantages of this system would be the improved efficiency in the management of the various common areas, better allocation of resources (provided funds collected are properly channeled towards the maintenance of specified areas) and better representation of different owners.

Limited Common Property

The MC may also now designate limited common property areas for the exclusive use, enjoyment and management for a particular group of parcel owners. These areas must be clearly defined and marked on a special plan, which must be submitted to the director of survey.

This would resolve issues of overlap in management and resources and, equally, the lack of management of certain areas as each SMC’s responsibility will be clearly demarcated.

Conclusion

With the ever-progressive construction and development industry, Malaysian law needs to keep abreast with current advancements and the STAA 2013 represents a significant indication that Malaysian lawmakers are prepared to adjust and adapt to address those necessities. Nevertheless, the fruition of this initiative will depend on how effectively it is implemented and it may be some time after the commencement of the STAA 2013 before we see its benefits.

Download the act here :Act 318-STRATA

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