Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Maintenance fees for strata and town house complexes

Published:Sunday | May 8, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Craig Francis
Work under way at a town house complex in the Corporate Area.
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Good day readers. Having gone through the differences between town houses and strata lots, I was faced with some questions regarding town house complex and the collection of maintenance fees.

Some persons thought I was saying that it is impossible to collect the fees from the owners of houses in the town house complexes because of the lack of regulation compelling it. Today, I will look at this, highlight the major differences, and explain what can be done to aid in the collection of the maintenance fees.

With the strata lots, the maintenance fee is written into law and the resident has to pay because a failure to do so can result in the property being sold to recover the outstanding amount after it is requested by the strata corporation.

So the maintenance fee for the strata lots are enshrined into the law and there is a direct remedy for the handling of delinquent strata lot owners. The course of action that is to be taken in the case of a strata complex is clear and defined in law.

While town house complexes are not governed by law, the management committees of these complexes are able to draft up contracts that the owners are asked to sign.

Persons who sign these contracts and fail to pay their maintenance fees can be taken before the civil courts for breach of contract. This is the intrinsic difference with the way the collection of the strata lots maintenance versus collection of the maintenance for town house complexes.

The strata is enshrined in law and a certain definite course of action is prescribed in the Strata Titles Act, whereas, for the town house complex, there is no such prescription, so the management committee has to resort to the court for relief. This can take years, stress and resources.

I was informed by a reader that she lives in a town house complex and because of efficiency of their management committee, they have no problems in collection of their fees. This can be the case in most of these complexes, but I just had to point out the major differences that exist and the difficulty that can be encountered by the owners of a unit in a town house complex.

I would advise all residents of a town house complex or a strata complex to pay your maintenance fees. These fees are what allow for the smooth running of your complex. Your fees are what pays the security, the gardener, the maintenance men, and for the upkeep of common property such as pools.

The fees also pay the bill for electricity or water in common areas. So your fees are very important to the smooth running and operation of your complex.

Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or Precision Surveying Services.