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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 ― The government has started raiding and seizing household items from apartment and condominium units whose owners have not paid the maintenance fees.
The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry has this year conducted six such raids in the first-ever enforcement action under the Strata Management Act 2013 ― which kicked in last July.
Mohd Syaifulrizal Mohd Bakar, the ministry's urban service division senior principal assistant secretary, said there was no minimum amount of unpaid fees that would trigger the ministry's joint raids carried out with the Commissioner of Buildings of local councils.
“As long as the joint management body (JMB) or management corporation (MC) of a condo or apartment has served a written notice to demand payment from the unit owner, and it is unpaid after 14 days, enforcement can take place.
“The JMB or MC can serve a warrant to the defaulters with the help of the COB and ministry,” he was quoted telling local daily The Star.
Beyond carrying out seizures, the JMB and MC can also file a summons in court against unit owners who fail to pay maintenance and file a claim with the Strata Management Tribunal, The Star said.
The first of the six raids this year was in May where items were seized from five units of a Bangi apartment over unpaid maintenance fees worth thousands of ringgit.
In the joint raid by the ministry, Kajang Municipal Council's COB and the apartment's own management body, the seized items were either auctioned to clear the unsettled fees or were taken back by unit owners who subsequently paid up.
The items seized included flat-screen televisions, rice cookers, gas tanks and smartphones, The Star said.
“Similar enforcement efforts, including seizures, will be extended to various locations nationwide,” Mohd Syaifulrizal said.
In another report by The Star, Building Managers Association of Malaysia committee member Richard Chan noted that there may be no seizable items at vacant units which are unoccupied by their owners, suggesting that it may be better to empower the authorities to seize the property unit and auction it off instead.