Strata Management Tribunal cases jump almost 90% in 2 years

Most reported cases were outstanding maintenance fee owed by parcel owners


THE number of complaints forwarded to the Strata Management Tribunal (TPS) almost doubled to 4,964 last year compared to only 2,642 cases that were lodged in 2016.

Data from the Housing and Strata Management Tribunal (TPPS) showed that most of the cases brought up for hearing were related to maintenance fee collections.

“In the cases registered with the TPS, there were a few types of claims filed. These included the Joint Management Body (JMB) and parcel owners’ non- compliance to the SMA (Strata Management Act 2013).

“The most reported cases were the outstanding maintenance fee owed by the parcel owners to the JMB or Management Corp,” a TPPS spokesperson told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an email reply recently.

The fee, mainly regulated by the JMB through a sinking fund as outlined in the SMA, is an important element that ensures the maintenance of sub-divided buildings and common properties in a strata development.

The fee covers condominiums, apartments, as well as gated and guarded strata landed property.

TPS sits within the TPPS under the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT), which offers alter- native dispute resolution relating to the strata owners and developer.

Apart from strata issues, TPPS also comprises Tribunal for Home Buyers Claims, or commonly known as Homebuyers Tribunal (HT), which covers complaints related to a homebuyer’s claims on losses and other related matters pertaining to the purchase of a home.

According to a TPPS spokesperson, cases lodged to the HT have seen a significant down- trend — from 2,070 cases to 1,523 reported in 2016 and 2018 respectively, a 26.5% decline.

“Among the cases involved included claims for house damages and delay in the handover of vacant posses- sion,” the spokesperson said.

In July last year, KPKT Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin added more tribunal presidents in both tribunals, in a bid to expedite the settlement of a backlog of housing disputes.

Previously, the HT only had 10 presidents, while the TPS consisted of 23 presidents. Currently, 15 presidents would hear cases in the HT, while 29 presidents occupy seats in the TPS.

This has somewhat alleviated KPKT’s towering back- log in 2018 at both dispute resolution platforms.

“At the HT, some 5,372 cases were resolved between 2016 and 2018. Between the first two years, 100% of disputes reached a conclusion. However, in 2018, only 80.1% of cases were settled.

“Meanwhile, at TPS, 11,431 cases were resolved within the same two years. In 2016, 98.5% or 2,602 of a total 2,642 cases were resolved.

“The percentage, however, declined in 2017 to 96.7%, or 4,245 cases resolved from the total of 4,390 cases heard. This is due to the 66% increase in reports lodged that year, compared to 2016,” the spokesperson said.

In 2018, the percentage declined to 92.35% or 4,584 cases resolved, from a total of 4,964 issues.

While TPPS is currently struggling to adapt to rapid increase in cases, more cases are being eventually resolved by the presidents ruling known as an award.

According to the data, 863 TPS awards defaulted, double the 408 cases — in which one of the dissatisfied parties had filed a judicial review to challenge the award in High Court.

A quick check at the government’s open source data revealed about RM7.6 million worth of disputes have defaulted in 2017’s strata cases after the TPS ruled on 455 cases.

The Klang Valley ranked at the top with 381 defaults, involving more than RM5 mil- lion worth of disputes.

At the HT, 207 default awards were recorded in 2017, worth more than RM6.2 million involving developers and buyers.

Last year, the number of default awards increased to 263 cases, slightly higher than the 230 recorded in 2016.