Contributed by Lai Chee Hoe
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) on April 7 revised the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on stratified properties during the movement control order (MCO) period.
Much of the contents remain the same, but the numbering of paragraphs have been rectified to show the correct sequence from FAQ 14 onward.
Issues relating to the maintenance and management of a strata property are now provided for from FAQs 15 to 35. FAQs 46 to 62 deal with public sanitisation.
Lastly, the paragraph relating to strata management tribunal is re-numbered to FAQ 68.
The updated copy can be downloaded at: FAQ-KPKT-Bil-5-edited-08042020-1Download
Lai again took the liberty to translate the FAQs of the portion under the sub-heading “Pengurusan Skim Strata” to English for those who are not well-versed in Bahasa Malaysia. The translated version is as below:
Q15. Can the planned AGM/EGM of a strata scheme be convened during the MCO?
A15. No. All meetings are to be postponed.
Q16. Are the commercial premises, education institutions and nurseries within a strata scheme allowed to open and operate as usual during the MCO?
A16. No. All commercial premises, education institutions and nurseries within a strata scheme must be closed except those providing essential services.
Q17. Can a management office be opened during the MCO period?
A17. The management office within a strata scheme can only operate from 8am to 5pm for purposes of ensuring no interruption in providing essential services. Notwithstanding that, the management office is to be closed. Access to the public is not allowed during the MCO period to curb the spread of Covid-19. The number of employees of the JMB/MC or building manager who is present at work shall not exceed more than two persons at any one time.
Q18. Can a property manager managing a strata scheme be allowed to operate?
A18. Yes, but subject to the guidelines provided in questions and answers 17 and 19.
Q19. What are the steps that a property management, managing agent or building manager must take when operating during the MCO period?
(i) the JMB/MC/property management company is required to issue a letter of verification to all employees within the strata scheme;
(ii) operation hours are limited to 8am to 5pm ONLY;
(iii) the number of employees of a JMB / MC or property manager shall not exceed two persons at any one time during operation hours;
(iv) the JMB/MC/property management company shall carry out all active steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in ensuring the safety of all employees;
(v) the employee or building manager shall practice social distancing of not less than one metre from one and another, and further carry out steps to avoid the spread, control and sanitisation in light of Covid-19;
(vi) the JMB/MC/property management company shall take all necessary steps to curb the spread of Covid-19 in ensuring the safety and health of employees, service providers, residents and all other parties within the strata scheme in line with the directions issued by the government, from time to time.
Q20. Can common properties like the hall, gym, badminton court, swimming pool be allowed to be rented out or used during MCO?
Q21. Can renovation works within the strata scheme be carried out during the MCO period?
Q22. Can the operations of the management of critical services like water, electricity, security, cleanliness and maintenance of lifts and pump systems be continued to operate?
A22. Yes. The operations mentioned above can be continued.
Q23. If there is damage, for instance, the incident of a leaking pipe, can works be carried out?
A23. No. Action can only be taken for any damage if it is critical and affecting the safety of the occupants within the MCO period.
Q24. Can a management committee for a strata scheme hold a meeting during the MCO period?
A24. All management committee meetings which involve the gathering of persons are not allowed. A committee meeting through video-conferencing is however allowed.
Q25. Can the community within a residential or commercial strata scheme be allowed to move around within the strata scheme during the MCO period?
A25. No. For residential strata schemes, all movements are to be limited while practising social distancing unless it involves providing critical or essential services, like medical, cleanliness and provision of food. For a commercial strata scheme like an office building, all employees, who are involved in providing essential services, requiring access to the office must mandatorily wear face masks and reduce their movements when entering and exiting the building. It is mandatory for offices within the strata scheme which carry out essential services to report to the management office to gain smooth access of entry and exit to the building and/or to allow the management to supervise.
Q26. How does the maintenance and management of the strata scheme operate when the management office is closed during the MCO period?
A26. The management office of a strata scheme can only operate from 8am to 5pm for purposes of ensuring non-interruption of essential services. Notwithstanding that, the management office is to be closed. Access to the public is not allowed during the MCO period to curb the spread of Covid-19. The number of employees of the JMB/MC or building manager who is present at work shall not exceed more than two persons at any one time.
Q27. Can a sanitisation contractor be allowed to enter to provide services?
A27. Yes. A sanitisation contractor is allowed to enter into the premises of a strata scheme to provide services.
Q28. Are visitors allowed to enter a residential strata scheme, for example, a condominium?
A28. No. Visitors are not allowed to enter into a residential strata scheme except for the following circumstances:
(a) an occupant being a senior citizen who is staying alone and requires monitoring. Only immediate children or siblings of the occupant or caretaker are allowed to visit, when necessary;
(b) an occupant being a patient (not a patient of Covid-19 or any other diseases which require notification under Section 10 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988) or weak individual who requires frequent monitoring. Only immediate children or siblings of the occupant or caretaker are allowed to visit, when necessary;
(c) an occupant who requires medical intervention. Only immediate children or siblings to the occupant or medical practitioners are allowed to visit, if necessary.
(d) cases of death which do not involve Covid-19 or any other diseases requiring notification under Section 10 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. Only immediate children or siblings or caretaker are allowed to visit, when necessary; And
(e) all visitors are allowed into the residential strata scheme after undergoing a body temperature test. Any visitor whose temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius shall not be allowed into the residential strata scheme.
Q29. Are activities of short term rental accommodation like Airbnb or other similar platforms allowed to operate within the residential strata scheme during the MCO period?
A29. No. All activities of short term rental accommodation like Airbnb and similar platforms are not allowed within a residential strata scheme during the MCO period.
Q30. What about a post, courier or delivery personnel (FoodPanda, Grabfood, etc)?
A30. All post and courier personnel and delivery persons are allowed to enter into a strata scheme but only up to the security guardhouse or security counter after passing the temperature check. All post personnel can only enter into the mailbox room. All delivery persons with a body temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius are not allowed to deliver the goods.
Q31. If there is damage, for instance, the incident of a leaking pipe or short circuit which result in interruption or suspension of services, can works be carried out?
A31. Yes. Action must be taken immediately since those kinds of damages affect the everyday life of the occupants during the MCO period.
Q32. Can an occupant take part in outdoor activities like exercising or jogging within a strata scheme?
A32. No. All occupants are required to stay within their respective residential parcels and practice social distancing throughout the MCO period.
Q33. In a commercial strata scheme like an office building, are the businesses within the strata scheme allowed to operate?
A33. Only businesses categorised as essential services are allowed. If there are businesses which are non-essential services operating within the strata scheme, kindly report it to the nearest police station for further action.
Q34. Can moving in and moving out be allowed?
A34. No. Only essential service providers are allowed to be involved in moving in and moving out activities.
Q35. My tenancy has expired, and I am forced to move out. Can I be allowed to move out? If not, what can I do?
A35. No. A tenant is encouraged to discuss with the landlord to extend the tenancy until after the MCO period ends.
Q68. Will the cases fixed for hearing before the Tribunal of Homebuyer Claims and Strata Management take place during the MCO period?
A68. No. All hearings will be postponed to a date to be notified later.
Lai Chee Hoe is a partner at Chee Hoe & Associates with over 10 years of experience under his belt. He specialises in civil and corporate litigation and is the current chairperson of various JMBs.
This article is intended to convey general information only. It does not constitute advice for your specific needs. This article cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation.
Any interested party should study each situation carefully. You should seek and obtain independent professional advice for your specific needs and situation.