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The Registration of Strata Titles Act is being amended to address the problem of non-payment of maintenance fees and to give the Real Estate Board responsibility for the supervision of strata corporations.
The amendments, which are expected to be completed and approved later this year, would see the creation of a department within the board to look into complaints brought by strata owners and for the board to confer and report to the Commission of Strata Corporation, which will also be established.
“The board will definitely have to expand by virtue of its new responsibilities. This is in terms of our physical space and staffing,” said Sandra Watson, Senior Inspector at the Real Estate Board.
Mrs. Watson, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, informed that a public education campaign would be launched to inform owners in strata corporations as well as executive committees, of their responsibilities under the legislation.
Until the amendments come on stream, Mrs. Watson said that the board would continue to offer advice to persons with problems associated with the management of strata or apartment complexes, including the non-payment of maintenance, which has resulted in a number of complexes becoming run-down.
However, she stressed that without the proper statutes in place, the board was unable to take any legal action. “Still, there are courses of action open under the existing Registration of Strata Titles Act such as putting a lien on the property for the amount of money outstanding so that the owner cannot sell the property until the matter is cleared up,” she expounded.
“This is why amendments are coming so that even if delinquent persons are not selling, there are steps that can be taken to recoup the money owed. This of course is within the ambit of the law,” she added.
Last June, Minister of Land and Environment, Dean Peart, during his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, urged owners and occupiers of strata properties to display the necessary discipline, commitment and behavourial changes required to ensure the smooth management of their properties, such as payment of maintenance fees.