Forming residents' associations
Published in NST-PROP
A Buyer Watch Article by National House Buyers
Communal ownership and living in
apartments mean shared responsibility, says the House Buyers' Association
Housing projects big or small, will comprise a community of owners sharing the common areas, roads, parks, recreational
facilities and housing woes (if any). Similarly, those who own apartments or condominiums are co-owners of all common property in
With such shared ownership comes shared responsibility and co-owners must come together in an association to protect their
In Malaysia, such an association of owners is called Residents Association (RA) if the building is completed and Pro Tem
Committee/Associations (PTC/A) if the building is under construction and the owners have formed an association "for the time
being" in order to solve impending problems.
More often than not, ordinary owners are only interested in their own purchase and most do not even consider their part in the
community. This must change, as the spirit of caring for others in the community can only improve one's life and not make it
Do not wait until you have problems of project delays or other major problems before you think of starting an association.
Share happy times too - the pleasure of your new home is enhanced when you know your neighbours.
The House Buyers Association (HBA) has always urged owners to form their own associations to look after their own interest as
soon as they have made their purchase. Together, house owners have the advantage of numbers. We have always advocated self-help as
complete reliance on others, such as developers or the authorities, to look after owner's interests is not wise.
Developers, as an after sales service, can do their part to help the owners form such an association. Wise developers know that
their own interest in the project is short term - to sell and make a profit - whereas for the purchasers, their interest is long
In any new project, the owners' interest would be in the following stages:
Completion stage, which is the period when the completed building is handover to the owners, and when
owners are able to move in.
Living stage, which is the start of a new community.
At any of these three stages, an association of owners formed will be advantageous in serving the future community. These are
some of the reasons for forming one:
To act as a watchdog for their future community.
To have a cohesive voice in the interest of their community.
To be organized when there is a need for contacts and communication.
To share the workload should there be a need for sharing tasks.
To share resources in materials or in ideas to maintain or improve their community
To volunteer for a good cause towards an enjoyable life in their community
Purchasers of subdivided building like apartments, condominiums have more reasons to form a committee as at some point in time,
they are obligated to form a management corporation. By the time, a meeting is called by the developer to form one, the owners
would have known each other well and would make election of fellow owners to the management council an easier task.
Unfortunately, many developers do not understand the importance of working with owners so that they will be prepared towards
community living. Indeed, some developers do not want to encourage these associations of buyers by refusing to recognize them for
fear that they will be too conscientious in reviewing the developer's activities.
HBA has helped many such owners to form associations. The crucial first step is getting a few owners from the project to
volunteer. Without them, there will be no association. These are the steps that can be carried out to form an association of
Formally request the developer to form one in order for the developer to give out the list of other
If the developer has a website on the Internet, request that a page be set up for owners to interact
Place an advertisement in the local papers - look out for pages that offer free advertisements if
resources are limited.
Post messages on HBA's forum page at
Distribute details of owners keen to form an association to other owners, if the building has been
completed by way of flyers or notices.
Check with HBA if an association for that particular project has been formed.
In housing projects that are facing delays or other major problems, frustrated buyers are advised to be diplomatic as direct
confrontations will only bear unsavoury results. In this manner, HBA has helped form or revive more than 50 associations of house
The next step after the decision to form an association is the election of members to form a committee. Most committees have
between 12 and 15 members. Committees with less people tend to be unrepresentative and more will make it difficult to operate.
Every member of a committee has an important role to play and contribution to make. The 3 key roles in any committee are the
chairperson, the treasurer and the secretary.
The chairperson is responsible for the smooth running of meetings, allowing all members to have their say, guiding the
association in their objectives and acting as spokesperson on behalf of the association when necessary. This is a vital position.
The treasurer's role is to look after the association's monies, and to keep a record of all transactions.
The secretary is the association's point of contact with its members and involves writing letters on its behalf, organizing and
keeping records of meetings.
Once an association of mutual interest owners have been formed and a committee has been elected, write to the developer and the
relevant authorities to inform them of the existence of such a committee and the key people to communicate with.
Good dialogue and careful advance planning among owners, developers and relevant authorities goes a long way toward creating a
The National House Buyers Association is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-political organisation manned by volunteers.