Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Maintenance fee defaulters can be fined, jailed via tribunal, property lawyers say


Residents living in high-rises who fail to pay maintenance fees may be compelled to do so by a strata tribunal set up by the Joint Management Bodies (JMB). — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Those living in high-rises and default on their maintenance fees can be brought to a strata tribunal by the Joint Management Bodies (JMB) where they can be made to pay hefty fines, according to lawyers who deal with the industry.

The Strata Management Tribunal (SM Tribunal) was set up under the Strata Management Act 2013 where property owners or tenants who fail to pay maintenance charges can be charged for committing a criminal offence.

Real estate lawyer Khairul Anuar said at a time where the payment of service charges have become a problem for high rise residences, JMBs should enforce the use of the tribunal to compel their tenants pay up.

“There is the strata management tribunal that can help any management to collect the fees owed by the tenants.

“This can be done without any legal procedure and through the tribunal. This is a short cut for them to collect the dues. There is no more reason for them (JMB) to say residents are refusing to pay,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

The SM Tribunal can hear cases involving claims up to RM250,000 in a hearing process that takes up to 60 days. There are also no lawyers involved in the process.

Section 123 of the Strata Management Act also empowers the tribunal to forward the case to a court if the person charged fails to comply with the Tribunal’s decision.

“Any person who fails to comply with an award made by the tribunal commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM250,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

“In the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding RM5,000 for every day or part thereof, during which the offence continues after conviction,” the section reads.

Other than the tribunal, another real estate lawyer, Chris Tan, explained that there also other ways where the JMB can make their tenants to cough up maintenance fees.

Among the methods he suggested include referring the case to the Commissioner of Buildings or even putting restrictions on facilities at high-rises.

“The management can enforce restrictions on those who fail to pay like not letting them use the condominium facilities or even making them sign visitors book when entering the premises.

“They also can go through the Commissioner and at times can result in actions like taking away their cars, electrical appliances and stuff like that as compensation,” Tan told Malay Mail Online.

If at all the situation here worsens, Tan believes that Malaysia should follow Singapore in seizing and auctioning off defaulters’ units to recover arrears.

He conceded, however, that it will be hard to apply the same rules here as mostly properties here are privately owned compared to the Housing and Development Board (HDB) public housing in Singapore.

Earlier this year, it was reported that over 1,192 cases have been filed at the Strata Management Tribunal since the start of 2016.

The problems with high-rise living and their maintenance have been a growing pain in Malaysia over the past few years as strata properties increase.

A survey by the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry last week revealed that more than half of condominiums and apartments nationwide ranked below par in an evaluation of property management standards.

Among the major problems that resulted in such standards were the fact that some residents in condominiums are refusing to pay maintenance fees. Other problems included building defects and matters involving enforcement.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

LRT users can travel directly between Sentul Timur and Putra Heights from tomorrow

BY BERNAMA - 16 JULY 2016 @ 8:51 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: People using the Light Rail Transit (LRT) for the Sri Petaling-Ampang route can now travel directly between Sentul Timur and Putra Heights, which will be officially known as the LRT Petaling Line from tomorrow.

Prasarana Malaysia Berhad said in a statement today that the full migration of its signalling system for the Sri Petaling-Ampang LRT will be completed at midnight tonight, users no longer need to switch trains at the Sri Petaling Station to travel between Sentul Timur and Putra Heights, which also integrates with the Kelana Jaya LRT line.

“It’s not only easy and smooth, the LRT service is also inexpensive because for travelling from end to end between Sentul Timur and Putra Heights, a distance of 37 kilometres, the fare is only RM3.50 using the MyRapid SMART 30 package.

“For those having concession cards such as senior citizens, students and the disabled, the fare is RM2.40,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the overall Sri Petaling route goes through 29 stations including Puchong, Kinrara, Sri Petaling, Bukit Jalil, Sungai Besi, Bandar Tasik Selatan, Cheras, Bandaraya and Sentul which takes 65 minutes to travel one way.

“From tomorrow, there will be no trips from Sentul Timur operating alternately with trains to Ampang when the new restructured Sri Petaling-Ampang route is implemented.

“With the new structuring, the Ampang Line involving short journeys to eight stations, including Ampang and Chan Sow Lin will be converted into a feeder service with passengers switching trains at the Chan Sow Lin station,” the statement said. --BERNAMA

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Illegal stalls near Sentul flats remain a nuisance

Friday, 15 July 2016

Bandar Baru Sentul Phase 3 Flats residents claim the illegal traders have been operating from the semi-permanent stalls for about 20 years. The set-ups are on the pedestrian walkway along Jalan 3/48A, by the entrance to the flats.
BANDAR Baru Sentul Phase 3 Flats residents wonder what it will take to permanently clear a row of illegal traders after countless raids over several years.

The illegal traders have set up what look to be semi-permanent stalls on the pedestrian walkway along the busy Jalan 3/48A by the entrance to the flats.

“The stalls have been there for about 20 years now. It started off with four or five stalls but now there are about 20 stalls,” resident Ibrahim Awang, 61, said.

“People have to walk on the road instead of the walkway because the stalls completely block it off, as well as the bus stop along the road,” he said.

Resident Selvarajah Arumugam, 75, added that traffic in the area had worsened as tables and chairs from the stalls, spill over onto the road. Most of the stall operators sell food.

“Jalan 3/48A is used as a main road for traffic headed towards Setapak, but because the chairs and tables are blocking the parking spaces, a part of the road is taken up, which causes traffic problems,” Selvarajah said.

Aside from obstructing the road, several residents said the traders clogged the drains by dumping rubbish into them, resulting in flooding and a growing problem with pests such as cockroaches and rats.

Bandar Baru Sentul Phase 3 Flats Residents Association chairman Jaafar Jalal said he had sent several letters over the years, asking Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to take charge of the situation.

He said in response to these complaints, DBKL officers had issued summonses to the traders but this seemed to have had no effect.

“DBKL also asked us to go up against the illegal traders ourselves, but when we do that, the traders become violent.”

Jaafar claimed when the traders were approached to discuss the situation, it usually came down to physical blows.

“We are not asking City Hall to shut down the traders’ business, but for them to either build a place or move them to a more suitable area with proper facilities,” Jaafar said.

DBKL could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Explosive device found near Sentul railway tracks

Thursday, 14 July 2016 | MYT 10:28 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: An object believed to be a home-made explosive device was found on Wednesday beside a road in Sentul here.

It is learnt that police were alerted to the object at about 4.35pm Wednesday, by a member of the public at Lorong Kolam Air 9, which runs next to a railroad track in Sentul.

A team of investigators and other personnel from the bomb squad were dispatched to the scene.

It is learnt that the object was a plastic bottle wrapped with paper and plastic.

It is believed that the bottle contained glass shards and ball bearings as well as powder, believed to have been extracted from firecrackers.

When contacted, Kuala Lumpur police chief Comm Datuk Amar Singh (pic) confirmed the find and said police were investigating the case.