Key changes to the Strata Ti­tles Act 1985

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

The new Sec­tion 4C of the STA in­tro­duces the con­cept of rent for parcels and pro­vi­sional blocks. In­stead of the MC pay­ing quit rent on the mas­ter ti­tle, the new Sec­tion 4C and Part IVA in­tro­duced by the STA(A)2016 shifts the obli­ga­tion to the re­spec­tive par­cel own­ers to pay rent for parcels or pro­vi­sional blocks. Rent for parcels or pro­vi­sional blocks will ap­ply to all strata ti­tles in­clud­ing those reg­is­tered be­fore the date of com­ing into op­er­a­tion of the STA(A)2016.

Upon the com­mence­ment of rent for parcels and pro­vi­sional blocks, quit rent in re­spect of the lot ceases to op­er­ate. This change should ad­dress the in­equal­i­ties cre­ated un­der the pre­vi­ous regime as the re­cal­ci­trance of cer­tain in­di­vid­ual par­cel own­ers will no longer af­fect the whole de­vel­op­ment.

Court or­der to com­ply The STA sets out manda­tory time frames for a land owner to ap­ply for the sub­di­vi­sion of a build­ing or land. At present, fail­ure to make such an ap­pli­ca­tion within the spec­i­fied pe­riod is an of­fence and pun­ish­able with a fine, im­pris­on­ment or both. Al­though im­pos­ing a fine and im­pris­on­ment may serve to de­ter land own­ers from de­lay­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion process, these penal­ties do not pro­vide a clear re­course to the wronged par­cel own­ers, whose own­er­ship claim over their re­spec­tive par­cel can only be ev­i­denced with the cor­re­spond­ing strata ti­tles.

Pur­suant to the new Sec­tion 8(8)(b) of the STA, the court may or­der and pre­scribe a time for the pro­pri­etor to com­ply with the pro­vi­sions of STA to sub­mit the ap­pli­ca­tion for sub­di­vi­sion of build­ing or land. There­fore, wronged par­cel own­ers, once the amend­ment comes into ef­fect, may ap­ply for an or­der from the court to com­pel the land owner to sub­mit the ap­pli­ca­tion for sub­di­vi­sion of build­ing or land re­quired for the sub­se­quent is­suance of strata ti­tles of the parcels.

Ac­qui­si­tion of the whole or part of a strata de­vel­op­ment.

The STA at present does not pro­vide for the com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion of the whole or part of a strata de­vel­op­ment. The new Sec­tion 57A of the STA in­tro­duced via STA(A) 2016 per­mits com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tions of the whole or part of a strata de­vel­op­ment in ac­cor­dance with the pro­ce­dures set out in the new Sev­enth Sched­ule. In the Sev­enth Sched­ule, an ac­qui­si­tion un­der the LAA may be pro­posed for:

(i) the whole lot with the strata de­vel­op­ment;

(ii) part of the lot with the strata de­vel­op­ment;

(iii) only the com­mon prop­erty of the strata de­vel­op­ment; or

(iv) any par­cel or pro­vi­sional block within the strata de­vel­op­ment.

In ad­di­tion to the above, in re­spect of tem­po­rary oc­cu­pa­tion or use of land un­der the LAA, the Land Ac­qui­si­tion (Amend­ment) Act 2016 (LAA(A)2016) in­tro­duces amend­ments to Sec­tion 60 of the LAA al­low­ing land own­ers or lessees to ob­ject if ag­grieved with the com­pen­sa­tion of­fered by the land ad­min­is­tra­tor and to re­fer their dis­pute to the court. This is sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from the present word­ings of Sec­tion 60 of the LAA, which specif­i­cally al­low the land ad­min­is­tra­tor to re­fer the dif­fer­ence to the court if the land ad­min­is­tra­tor is un­able to agree with the land owner or lessee on the amount of com­pen­sa­tion to be paid for the tem­po­rary oc­cu­pa­tion un­der Sec­tion 58 of the LAA or restora­tion of the land tem­po­rar­ily oc­cu­pied un­der Sec­tion 59 of the LAA.

This amend­ment ar­guably brings more fair­ness com­pared with the po­si­tion un­der the pre­vi­ous regime as it is now clear that ag­grieved land own­ers are al­lowed to re­fer their dis­pute to court.

CON­CLU­SION

The STA(A)2016 seeks to re­fine and stream­line the STA to be more in line with the needs of the times. This is con­sis­tent with the other key changes brought about by the Na­tional Land Code (Amend­ment) Act 2016, STA(A)2016 and the LAA(A)2016 (col­lec­tively Amended Acts), all of which are sig­nif­i­cant to prop­erty own­ers and prop­erty de­vel­op­ers. The changes pur­suant to the Amended Acts are, on the whole good, for Malaysia as they fa­cil­i­tate com­plex, high­den­sity de­vel­op­ments to meet the in­creas­ing de­mands of prop­erty own­er­ship, al­low for ac­qui­si­tion of un­der­ground land, for the op­ti­mi­sa­tion of the use of land, and pro­vide clar­ity and re­solve is­sues that have been long plagu­ing prop­erty own­ers in Malaysia.

Con­trib­uted by Choo Yuen Phing and Kee Yoke Yew of Christo­pher & Lee Ong (www. christo­pher­leeong.com).

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