The minutes of the meeting held on 28 September, 2011 between the GCROA Committee and the GCD Management are in and can be viewed using the link shown above.
Below are some my personal observations and quesions:
Security and Landscaping
In one fell swoop the ills of the past in the provision of security and in landscaping will hopefully be resolved with the appointment of “Hi Com Facilities” (I believe the actual vehicle is Hicom Facility Management Bhd for want of accuracy).
I think it is universally accepted that the present landscape looks tired and worn (witness the bare patches in many places and weeds masquerading as grass) so a change is indeed welcome. The surprise for me is the news that PRISM Security is the bad boy because I have been told that Guardian Security is the sloppy one – guards sleeping , eating in full view of residents with gusto (my personal experience), busy with their mobile phones, etc. Not so, according to the developer.
Let’s hope that Hicom Facility will do a great job for us, like they are supposed to have done elsewhere. But I have to wonder; will there be timely and meaningful consultation with the Committee in the future because it has the looks of a fiat accompli. And how are we to determine what we pay for is reasonable if there is no competitive bidding? As it is, Nicky Teh, who works tirelessly on the issue of security on behalf of the residents, feels the hourly charges paid to the current providers are on the high side (which I shall not rush to agree with as I would like to see some comparisons) with overmanning as well. A super-duper provider like Hicom Facility is unlikely to cost us less. Oh well.
Deed of Mutual Covenants
“GC’s lawyer has expressed an opinion that the DMC is an agreement for residents to be responsible to each other and that the main liability is not between Glenmarie Cove Properties and individual residents.”
I don’t really know what to make of this statement. I simply wish that someone had asked a simple follow-up question to whoever said this, like “Can you give an example of what you just said?” I suppose we will have to wait for the public forum (residents must be allowed to attend this briefing!) to find out more from GCD’s clever lawyer.
In the important Third Schedule (where this “residents to be responsible to each other” really takes place) of the DMC, there is a provision that we all know about: The Purchaser shall not carry out any renovation to any building constructed on the said lot without the prior approval of the Vendor (GCD). I have often wondered why GCD’s approval is necessary since MPK’s approval is sacrosant in the first place but I do not have any qualms with this provision because the developer should have an overall control over what gets to be built. For example, we would not like to see a building that is totally out of sync with the rest of the development. From the minutes we learn that there are a few owners who have proceeded with their renovations without any approval. So, why is GCD issuing passes to the workers if there is no approval from MPK?
If it is just bark and no bite, why bother with a grand sounding DMC? Oh, so we can be responsible to each other. I see.
What is the legal justification for GCD to demand a renovation deposit and withhold same when the purchaser does something that is not in line with the plan approved by MPK? If this power to demand the deposit does not emanate from or is implied under the DMC, where does it come from? Can someone answer this?
It is a fallacy to imply that GCD does not have covenants to perform pursuant to the DMC. For example it covenants to do everything possible within its power to have the infrastructure, including the roads, driveways, drains, culverts, water mains and sewerage plants taken over and maintained by the Appropriate Authority (which I suppose must have been accomplished already for Precincts 1 and 2- does anyone know?).
Services like refuse collection, cleaning of public drains and grass cutting on the road reserves are also meant to be taken over by the Appropriate Authority at some point but even though we are paying the half-yearly assessments issued by the MPK, we have yet to see their rubbish collectors do the rounds. Isn’t it time for these mundane chores to be undertaken by MPK to help reduce costs? If there is no intention to use MPK’s services, then this should be made known to the purchasers so they can decide whether to seek specific performance. Hopefully, not many residents will use this non-performance as an excuse to withhold payment for the maintenance services. It is tempting though.
Rental Charges for Common Areas
The minutes do not say whether GCD agrees with the Committee’s view, and most likely not entirely. It does not seem GCD is singing the same tune because I was informed that a resident who had intended to use Seri Santai for a function this past Saturday was asked to pay RM1500 and she declined.
There is no legal basis for GCD to charge the residents for use of common areas or shared amenities.
In September 2010, The Department of Town and Country Planning Peninsula Malaysia published new guidelines for gated communities which include the following provision (http://voyager8.blogspot.com/2010/10/guidelines-for-gated-community-and.html)
- The roads and shared amenities inside the GC (gated community) belong to the community, and managed by Management Corporation elected by the residents
So, is Seri Santai a shared amenity?
I understand these September 2010 guidelines are meant for new schemes and the older boys like Glenmarie Cove may carry on based on the provisions in force at the time the community began . So what was it like back in 2007? See this article by a member of the Malaysian Bar (http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/conveyancing_practice/law_realty_gated_and_guarded_communities_part_2.html)
- Road reserves, street lights, drains, rivers, pavements, playground and vacant area remain as public reserved area. Developer can maintain the facilities based on agreement entered with Local Authority.