MCST stands for Management Corporation Strata Title in real estate
MCST, the Management Corporation Strata Title, refers to the managing body of a condominium or any compound which has multiple owners and shared public facilities. MCSTs are usually associated with private residential developments.
When a Management Corporation is contracted to manage an estate, it’s given a name: Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No. xxxx (where “xxxx” are running numbers).
Why are there MCSTs?
The need for a managing body arises from the nature of private housing in Singapore. Many Singaporeans set up homes in compounds such as condominiums where numerous owners share common facilities. These compounds usually come with a swimming pool, shared common park, gymnasium, security and other amenities. Naturally, all such public facilities have to be managed, maintained and at times, improved on or expanded.
This is where the MCST comes in. Multiple property owners generally do not wish to constantly manage everything themselves, so they delegate tasks to a separate body, and this body is the MCST.
So what does a MCST do exactly?
It’s difficult to generalise what the job scope of the MCST precisely is. The duties tend to range from managing the day to day cleaning and fixing of the public facilities to the upholding of the general health of a compound (e.g. taking care of leakages, mould, pest) to managing its overall security. A good MCST could expand its duties to include community development or even property appreciation.
It is both in the quality of service and the breadth of tasks that an MCST can differentiate itself from its competitors. While some MCSTs may set out to do the bare minimum, others take initiative and fix problems before you even realize they were there to begin with. Naturally, most MCSTs fall somewhere between these two extremes.
In the long run, a good MCST may mean better living at lower management fees.
How does an MCST form?
In the early stages near a building’s completion, it is the property developer’s responsibility to arrange the formation of an MCST. It is legally obliged to do so within 2 months from the issuance of the Temporary Occupation Permits (TOP) to the new homeowners.
After the first Annual General Meeting (AGM), the responsibilities of and control over the management is given to the property owners. The shift is a little complex and involves some steps, for which the details are available here (see page 9 and 10). If all goes well, the owners now have full authority to either keep the present management corporation or appoint a different one to manage their affairs as the MCST.
It is common, especially amongst bigger estates, that the owners collectively appoint a management council, which in turn hires a management agent. The management agent is the go-to person who takes care of all the day to day business, and functions as the liaison between the MCST, the management council, and by extension the property owners.
A comprehensive list of all MCSTs
How do we know which MCST does what, and where? You can find the comprehensive list of all MCSTs with all the currently active MCSTs here. The list includes relevant information such as the condominiums information and contact details. Additionally, if you already know either the MCSTs plan number or the name of the development, this website is very helpful in that it allows you to fill them in and it will then give you all the relevant information such as contact details of the manager agent, contact details of the MCST, address development name etc.
How to find your new MCST?
Are you looking for a great MCST but don’t where and how to find one? Here are some pointers to nudge you in the right direction.
To start off, there are two non-profit organisation whose objective it is to enhance the standard of quality of management corporations: the Association of Management Corporations in Singapore (AMCIS) and the Association of Property & Facility Managers (APFM). One way to go about this would be to inquire with these associations and see if they can recommend good MCSTs.
Another way is to do some homework yourself (which could be a pain, yes, but bear with us, it will be worth it!). Go out there and see them for yourself. In all likelihood, all MCSTs will tell you beforehand that they will be doing a superb job in managing your estate. Yet, to be better informed, we recommend you to use their past and current performance as an indicator for future performance. For you, this means that you should check out how management corporations have been performing in the estates they are currently managing.
- Make a shortlist of managing corporations that you deem good candidates. As noted earlier, a comprehensive list of all the MCSTs active in Singapore can be found here.
- Look up which estates the managing firms are currently managing and add them to a separate list. Again, save time by using this website
- Visit the estates and make a detailed observation of the facilities and public spaces.
- Lastly—and this is key— talk to the tenants. Yes the tenants! After all, it is the tenants who see and experience the MCSTs work first hand every day, and they are well-suited to sharing the pros and cons about whether their estate is properly managed or not.
- Additionally, you could attend the annual general meetings. While not the most exciting exercise you can think of, you will probably get to hear a lot about the MCST and get a good vibe of how the owners judge the MCST.
Good luck with finding your MCST!
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If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in Condo management: The most underrated cause of selling at a loss and Why it pays to be involved in your condo’s management council.
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