By: Ryan Lee
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:
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).
*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
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