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General Manager of the Real Estate Board (REB) and the Commission of Strata Corporation (CSC), Sandra Watson, said the Registration (Strata Title) (Amendment) Act, which came into effect on January 1, will affect the dynamics of the local strata industry.
She was addressing a CSC stakeholders meeting at the Girl Guides Headquarters on Waterloo Road on July 21, where she gave an overview of the amended legislation and the impact of the changes.
Mrs. Watson said that the bill and accompanying regulations passed on March 19, came after 20 years of deliberations, and establishes a Commission of Strata Corporation to monitor, regulate and supervise the functioning of strata bodies and specify its duties and powers.
It also provides for the payment and application of fees collected by the Commission to help to defray its administrative expenses, the mandatory registration of each strata corporation with the Commission, and the submission of annual financial statements and reports by each corporation.
Delinquent owners of strata lots, who refuse to pay maintenance contributions and are reluctant to settle insurance costs will face stringent action under the law.
The strata corporation can exercise power of sale for non-payment of contributions to the corporation by a proprietor, and to provide for the application of proceeds of such sale.
The CSC also has power to take action as an administrator of a strata corporation, where the body is not functioning, and also to establish a Strata Appeals Tribunal to hear appeals and adjudicate on matters affecting the administration and management of strata properties.
The amended Act widens the regulatory powers of the Minister responsible for the Real Estate Board, which administers the CSC, and also prescribes the matters that are to be communicated by developers of strata properties to prospective purchasers.
It also indemnifies persons serving on strata executive committees from civil liability arising from actions done in good faith while holding office, and at the same time, increases the penalties for breaches of the Act.
Mrs. Watson said that the changes, which have now been implemented, arose from several complaints made by stakeholders over the years.
These include unpaid maintenance by some owners, uninsured buildings, improperly elected and constituted strata corporation executives, the monopoly of the affairs of stratas by a few persons, improper accounting of funds, unpaid or outstanding property taxes and, even the keeping of pets by some owners where this is prohibited.
Chairman of the Real Estate Board and the CSC, Carl Vendryes, encouraged those present to contact the Commission for assistance and support, noting that the body represents their interests.
“You can call the Strata Corporation for any help or assistance you may need. The Commission is there to serve you,” he said.
The chairman informed that there were some 1,500 stratas in Jamaica, with 900 having 10 or more units.