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Lai Chee Hoe

Lai Chee Hoe

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Strata Management Case Update 5 – Can a JMB/ MC deactivate access cards?

MOK SIOU MIN v. HAMPSHIRE RESIDENCES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION & ORS [2018] 1 LNS 333

The facts are rather simple. The Plaintiff commenced this action against the Defendants, (MC and the Management Committee members) for nuisance and deactivation of the access cards.

On 8.5.2011, an explosion occurred at Hamshire Park Condominium which caused damages to certain units including 2 units owned by the Plaintiff.

On 20.9.2012, JMB received the insurance claim for the 2 units owned by the Plaintiff for a total sum of RM19,000.00.

There are outstanding maintenance charges due and owed by the Plaintiff and the MC took the insurance sum of RM19,000.00 set off against the outstanding maintenance charges and deactivated access card of the Plaintiff.

The principal issue was whether the deactivation of the access cards to the Plaintiff’s unit was lawful.

With regards to the issue, the court referred to Paragraph 6(4) of the Third Schedule which empower the MC to deactivate access without notice where a proprietor is in default of maintenance charges at the expiry of 14 days specified in paragraph 6(1)(a).

For easy reference, paragraph 6(1)(a) states:

(a) a defaulter is a proprietor who has not fully paid the charges or contribution to the sinking fund in respect of his parcel or any money imposed by or due and payable to the management corporation under the Act at the expiry of the period of fourteen days of receiving a notice from the management corporation.

By reading 6(4) and 6(1)(a) together, it is clear that the MC may deactivate one’s access card without prior notice only upon the expiry of 14 days after the defaulter receives a written notice from the MC.

The court also went on to refer to Section 78 where it states that the procedure for recovery of sums due, the MC may serve on the proprietor a written notice demanding payment of the sum due within the period as may be specified in the notice which shall not be less than 2 weeks from the date of service of the notice. If any sum remains unpaid at the end of the period specified in the notice, the MC may file a summons or claim in a court of competent jurisdiction or  beforee the Tribunal.

On top of that, the Hampshire Residence House Rules requires notice to be served to the owner before access card can be deactivated.

In the present case, since there was no such notice produced in court, the Court finds that the deactivation of the access cards are not in accordance with SMA2012 and as such is unlawful.

The  takeaway is clear whether to a Developer, Joint Management Body (JMB) or Management Corporation (MC). If you wish to deactivate any electromagnetic access device such as a card, tag or transponder, it must be preceded by a notification followed by the expiry of the notification period, usually 14 days.

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Lai Chee Hoe

Lai Chee Hoe

Partner at Chee Hoe & Associates. With 10+ years of experience under his belt, he specializes in civil and corporate litigation. He is also the current Chairperson of various Joint Management Bodies.

 
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