When it comes to condo living, a lot has been said and written about how and why it’s important to choose the right managing agent. But equally important is to elect the right people into the management council of the MCST.
A little background about MCST, management council and AGM
MCST is short for Management Corporation Strata Title. Also known as the Management Corporation (MC), it refers to the managing body that presides over the condo.
It’s formed when the condo developer submits the strata title plan of the development to the Chief Surveyor, and the strata title application to the Registrar of Titles of the Singapore Land Authority. The developer will then manage the condo for 12 months, before the first annual general meeting (AGM) is held to elect a management council to represent the MC.
The first AGM is also when the amount of contributions for the management fund and sinking fund (which come from the condo maintenance fee) is determined. After the management council is elected, they’ll appoint the managing agent, who will take care of the day-to-day operations of the condo. This includes ensuring that the condo is clean and its facilities are maintained, like ensuring that the water in the pool isn’t yellow.
Why it’s important to elect the right people into the management council of your condo during the AGM
1. Issues can be resolved in a timely manner
Let’s say your kid came home late at night. They entered the condo through the side gate since it’s closer to the unit, only to find that the lights around were off. So it felt a tad unsafe.
To rectify this issue, residents will inform the managing agent to get it fixed. If the managing agent is diligent, it will probably be fixed within a day.
But we do also hear of instances where the managing agent keeps delaying these fixes. In such cases, if you have the right people in the committee who are equally concerned (and would usually notice these things), chances are they’ll also alert the managing agent and ensure that it’s resolved soon.
(No, we’re not saying the managing agent would only entertain those in the council. That shouldn’t be the case. But from what we hear, having people in the council who are very involved in these condo matters does help with getting things done.)
A bonus is if you have an engineer in your council, who can help identify issues with the development.
“Over the past two committees at my condo, one of the members was an engineer. He was extremely useful as he was able to pore through the condo structural plans and identify issues with water leakage (say from the tank to our swimming pool) and build a case for the developer to compensate, etc.” David (not his real name) shares with us.
With these issues detected earlier rather than later, it also means that the condo can save on water and electricity bills, and the maintenance funds.
2. Property value of the condo can be maintained
This is related to the first point. It’s best to have people who are deeply involved in condo matters. If they notice some damage to the facilities– for instance, the rubber flooring of the playground has come loose– they’ll go straight to inform the managing agent to cordon off the area and get it fixed.
Highlighting these things ensure that the condo facilities are well maintained. You don’t want to have to wait till the facilities are unuseable before getting it fixed. The condition of the facilities can affect the property value and rent. After all, people are willing to pay more to live in a condo for the facilities.
Even if the condo is new (for instance, the development is only one or two years old), if the swimming pool looks like a cesspit, the property value will drop. When you want to sell the condo, even if there are people interested in your unit, they’d try to get a lower price due to the state of the pool (or worse, offer lower than what you paid for). It’s the same thing with rental; potential tenants are more likely to bargain for a lower rent.
If you have very enthusiastic council members, they might even propose a few ideas that are said to increase the property value of the condo, such as installing EV chargers at the car park.
Whether these proposals get approved or not is a different story.
3. Money paid for the condo maintenance is put to good use
Good council members will usually pay attention to condo expenses, and for good reasons. After all, these are funded by the residents, who pay the condo maintenance fee every quarter.
They’d also look carefully at the quotations for any works to be done. This doesn’t just entail comparing the costs and services provided, but also ensuring they don’t sign one that’s overpriced.
“We have someone in the council who has experience in property management, so it’s actually great to have him as he would go through the accounts and see the kind of expenses to be paid from the funds,” shares Mary (not her real name).
This also helps ensure there’s sufficient money in the maintenance fund and sinking fund, as well as save on unnecessary costs.
Who should you elect into the management council, then?
The management committee is elected at every AGM, meaning members can change every year. At the same time, we hear cases where members stay for another year as no one wants to take up a role.
“After all, it’s a volunteer job,” Mary tells us.
David suggests it’s better to do some groundwork first to select the next committee members before the AGM.
“The MCST always chooses the next committee only during the AGM. They basically ask if any volunteers want to take over their role or they’re staying for the next year. Sometimes, if there’s no volunteer, the committee ends up staying up till late hoping someone would volunteer in the end.”
When it comes to electing the right people, it would be good if they are owner-occupiers. As they’re actually living in the condo itself, they’re more likely to know when something needs fixing, than say an investor who owns a unit, but doesn’t live in it.
Unless they visit the condo frequently (like every two to three days), they’re less likely to be familiar with the way things are at the condo. For instance, they may not know that the intercom hasn’t been working for weeks.
And most importantly, the committee members shouldn’t be coming in with an agenda.
“The first year our committee was formed, we had a lot of volunteers who had no idea what they were in for. One volunteered because they wanted to convert an empty plot into a gardening area (which not all residents felt was justified since we all share the maintenance for it). So first-year members usually have some agenda of their own (and then they sell their units and leave the mess for others to solve),” David explains.
Now, these should be enough reasons why it pays to know your neighbours!
Know of any condo MCST stories to share? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post.
If you found this article helpful, 99.co recommends Calculating your condo maintenance fees & how to save on it and 5 crazy things that would happen if condo managements ruled Singapore.
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Can a MCST be formed with 2 parties one
1having 2/3 share and another 1/3 thanks