Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Govt must tackle high-rise poser

HIGH-RISE tenants are likely to face problems with water supply in the near future.
The Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 spells out that a joint management body (JMB) will be liable for all jointly owned properties including the pump house, water tanks and piping in the building. The problems start when consumers are not fully aware of this act and its function. In near future, it will be compulsory for high-rise tenants to have individual meters and pay directly to water companies.

However, these consumers still need to spend extra to maintain the rest of the jointly-owned water supply properties. This situation is different from landed properties as the responsibility of the water supply company lies up to the individual meters or to certain distance from the main pipe.

Now, the question is whether the JMB which comprises residents has enough funds to operate such jointly-owned properties. Secondly, how will the tariff be decided? This is because compared to landed property owners, high-rise residents receive fewer services while bearing the cost of common properties for water supply.

It is dangerous to leave the issue as it is. If the JMB fail to collect enough management fees, it may end up unable to maintain the properties well. And in many states, there are no JMBs for high-rise buildings.

The Housing and Local Government Ministry must coordinate with the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry to solve this problem. There should be a mechanism to manage these properties and not left to the consumers because they bought a high-rise property.

Piarapakaran Subramaniam
Fomca Environment Desk

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