KUALA LUMPUR: If you own a condominim or apartment unit, you better make sure you have been paying your maintenance fees. Tenants should ensure that their landowners have been diligent in paying their dues. Otherwise, their valuable possessions found in the unit can also be seized and sold off to meet the arrears.
According to The Star Online, the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry has started raiding and seizing household items from high-rise housing units whose errant owners have not paid their dues.
So far this year, the ministry has conducted six such raids in the first-ever enforcement action under the Strata Management Act 2013 ― which started last July.
Ministry’s urban service division senior principal assistant secretary Mohd Syaifulrizal Mohd Bakar said there was no minimum amount of unpaid fees that would trigger the ministry’s joint raids carried out with the Commissioner of Buildings of local councils.
“As long as the joint management body (JMB) or management corporation (MC) of a condo or apartment has served a written notice to demand payment from the unit owner, and it is unpaid after 14 days, enforcement can take place.
“The JMB or MC can serve a warrant to the defaulters with the help of the COB and ministry.”
The JMB and MC can also file a summons in court against unit owners who fail to pay maintenance fees and file a claim with the Strata Management Tribunal.
The first of the six raids this year was in May where items were seized from five units of a Bangi apartment over unpaid maintenance fees worth thousands of ringgit.
In the joint raid by the ministry, Kajang Municipal Council’s COB and the apartment’s own management body, the seized items, which included flat-screen televisions, rice cookers, gas tanks and smartphones were either auctioned to clear the unsettled fees or were taken back by unit owners who subsequently paid up.
“Similar enforcement efforts, including seizures, will be extended to various locations nationwide,” Mohd Syaifulrizal said.
Meanwhile, Building Managers Association of Malaysia committee member Richard Chan saying that there may be no seizable items at vacant units which are empty. He suggested that it may be better to empower the authorities to seize the property unit and auction it off instead.