Maintenance of a building
01/06/2007 The Sun LAW & REALTY By Andrew Wong Fook Hin
...before management corporation is formed – Part 1
ON April 12, the Building & Common Property (Maintenance & Management) Act
2007 (“the Act”) came into force in all States within Peninsular Malaysia.
The main purpose of the Act is to provide for the proper maintenance and
management of buildings and the common property, AFTER delivery of vacant
possession by the developer to the purchasers and BEFORE the Management
Corporation (“MC”) comes into existence (“the applicable period”).
In line with the recent amendments made to the Strata Titles Act, 1985 (STA),
which now allows land to be subdivided into land parcels to be held under
separate strata titles, the Act will also apply to prescribed buildings on
Each State Authority will appoint a Commissioner of Buildings to administer
and carry out the provisions of the Act.
The Act empowers the Minister to make regulations for the better carrying
out of the provisions of the Act (“the Regulations”), although at the time
of writing this article, no regulations have been made or have come into
The Act is intended to apply to any building or land intended for
subdivision into parcels, and which have been developed for the purpose of
accommodation, including accommodation for commercial and industrial use.
The choice of the word “accommodation” is certainly misleading, as
accommodation usually denotes housing, lodging or quarters. Perhaps the
Regulations can make it clear that the Act is intended to apply to any
building or land intended for subdivision into parcels and developed for the
purpose of housing accommodation, commercial use or industrial use.
It is pertinent to note that the Act defines common property, more
exhaustively than the STA and the Schedule H agreement under the Housing
Development (Control & Licensing) Regulations 1989 (Schedule H). In the STA,
common property means so much of the lot as is not comprised in any parcel.
Schedule H extended this definition to include lifts, refuse chutes, drains,
sewers, pipes, wires, cables, ducts and all facilities and installations
used in common by all purchasers.
Common property in the Act is now extended to include all structural
elements of the building, stairs, stairways, fire escapes, entrances and
exits, corridors, lobbies, exterior of all common parts of the building,
playing fields and recreational areas, walls and fences.
Joint Management Body (JMB)
During the applicable period, the common property of any building or land
intended for subdivision shall be in the hands of a JMB, which shall
comprise the developer and the purchasers. Up until now, the maintenance and
management of a building intended to be subdivided and the common property
(“the maintenance works”) have always been the responsibility of the
developer until the MC is formed.
The JMB is a body corporate, having a common seal, and therefore can sue and
be sued in its name. The JMB shall be deemed to be dissolved three months
from date of the first meeting of the MC.
Duties of JMB
The duties of the JMB are, among others, to:
· maintain the common property and keep it in good serviceable repair;
· fix and impose charges for the maintenance works;
· insure the building and apply insurance moneys received for rebuilding and
· prepare and maintain a register of all purchasers;
· ensure that the Building Maintenance Fund (BMF) is audited and provide
financial statements to purchasers; and
· enforce house rules.
Powers of JMB
The JMB is empowered to:
· collect maintenance charges from purchasers;
· authorise expenditure for carrying out the maintenance works;
· recover monies due from purchasers;
· acquire property for use by purchasers in connection with the common
· secure the services of a person to undertake the maintenance works; and
· make house rules.
When must JMB be formed?
If the development is completed before April 12, 2007, and vacant possession
has been delivered to the purchasers and the MC is not in existence, the JMB
must be established not later than April 11, 2008.
However, if the development is completed on or after April 12, 2007 then the
JMB shall be formed not later than 12 months from the date of delivery of
vacant possession of the parcels to the purchasers.
There are no provisions in the Act to define when a development is
completed. In line with the recent amendment to the Street, Drainage and
Building Act, 1974, completion should mean the issue of the relevant
certificate of completion and compliance.
How to form the JMB?
It is the duty of the developer to convene the first meeting of all
purchasers within the time frame set out above. If the developer fails to
convene this first meeting, the developer shall be liable to a fine not
exceeding RM25,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or
both. Further, if the developer fails to convene this first meeting, the
Commissioner may appoint a person to convene the first meeting.
Until the JMB is established, the developer is responsible for the
maintenance works and this includes the responsibility to insure the
building against fire and other risks.
First meeting of JMB
At its first meeting, the JMB shall elect a Joint Management Committee (JMC),
and then confirm the taking over of insurances effected by developer,
determine the amount to be paid by purchasers to the BMF for the maintenance
works, determine the rate of interest for late payment of charges and make
decisions on any other matter connected with the maintenance works.
The quorum for the first meeting shall be one quarter of the purchasers who
have paid maintenance charges to a Building Maintenance Account (BMA). Only
purchasers who have paid maintenance charges to the BMA are entitled to
It would appear that the developer is not to be included in the
determination of the quorum and is also not a person entitled to vote.
It is not clear whether:
(a) a purchaser is entitled to vote if he had previously paid maintenance
charges to the BMA but is at the time of the first meeting in arrears; or
(b) a purchaser who has not paid maintenance charges to the BMA is entitled
to attend the meeting or be elected to the JMC, even though he is not
entitled to vote.
If within half an hour of the time fixed for the first meeting, no quorum is
present, then the members entitled to vote who are present shall form the
quorum. Further, if after one hour, no member entitled to vote turns up or
all members present refuse to be members of the JMC, the meeting cannot take
place, and the developer must inform the Commissioner within the next seven
days of the ill-fated meeting.
The Commissioner may then appoint a new date for the first meeting or
appoint a managing agent to maintain the common property.
All resolutions at the first meeting shall be decided by a show of hands.
Joint purchasers (e.g. husband and wife) are not entitled to vote except by
a jointly appointed proxy. However there are no express provisions for a
purchaser who is a corporation, to appoint a proxy or a representative, to
attend the first meeting and to vote.
If the first meeting is successful, then within 28 days thereafter the JMB
must inform the Commissioner of the name of the JMB, and register its name
with the Commissioner.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM of the JMB shall be held once a year and not more than 15 months
shall elapse between date of one AGM and the next AGM. The agenda is to
consider the BMF and transact such other businesses as may arise.
Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)
An EGM may be convened by the JMB, upon requisition in writing made by
persons who are registered as purchasers of at least one-quarter of the
total number of parcels, or when the JMB receives a direction from the
Commissioner to transact a particular business, or on such other occasion as
the JMB thinks fit.
The Commissioner may himself, authorise any purchaser to convene an EGM if
he is satisfied that the JMB was not properly constituted.
It is pertinent to note that although the Act made provisions for rules to
regulate the first meeting of the JMB, there are no provisions on how an AGM
or EGM is to be conducted and it is not clear whether the rules on quorum
and voting rights for the first meeting of the JMB will apply to an AGM or
EGM. Perhaps such rules and other rules to clear up the uncertainties
mentioned above will be contained in the Regulations or perhaps the
Regulations will empower the JMB to regulate its meetings as they deem fit
Joint Management Committee (JMC)
The duties and powers of the JMB are to be performed and exercised by a JMC,
which shall be elected by the JMB at its first meeting, and thereafter at
the annual general meeting.
The JMC shall consist of the developer and not less than five and not more
than 12 purchasers. A purchaser who is elected to the JMC can only hold
office for a period not exceeding three years or until the dissolution of
the JMB when the MC comes into existence.
A chairman, a secretary and a treasurer shall be elected from members of the
JMC. Since the developer is a member of the JMC, its representative can be
elected to any of the above three positions.
Proceedings of the JMC are regulated by the First Schedule of the Act and it
is pertinent to note that the developer has a vote in the JMC even though
the developer has no right to vote at the first meeting of the JMB. A member
elected shall continue to be a member of the JMC until he resigns, dies,
becomes a bankrupt or is no longer a purchaser. Once elected, a member of
the JMC is expected to devote as much time as is necessary to discharge his
In a forthcoming continuation of this article, the writer will examine
provisions in the Act relating to the Building Maintenance Account, the
Building Management Fund, the payment of maintenance charges, the managing
agent, and other features of the Act.
Click here for Part 2.
The writer is the Deputy Chairman of the Conveyancing Practice Committee,
Bar Council, Malaysia www.malaysianbar.org.my
Part 2 of this article will appear next week.
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