Sun | Aug 20, 2017

A matter of land | How do I get these delinquents to pay?

Published:Sunday | December 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Craig Francis
A strata property in western Jamaica.
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Good day readers. thanks for the continued support of this column. I ask that you exercise some patience as I try to answer all your questions in a timely manner. This week, I respond to another question from a reader.

 

Good day Mr Francis,

I read your articles in The Sunday Gleaner and I have a few questions.

My town house complex recently sent me a copy of the receivables only for me to realise that more than 60 per cent of the owners are delinquent. It also appears that persons who are charged with the duty of ensuring that every one's maintenance obligations are met are also delinquents.

It is such a recipe for disaster that it pains me to think about it on a daily basis. With this new town house act can a single homeowner take a delinquent homeowner to court? Will we be able to access the accounts for the complex? I need some advice on this.

-N.P.

Good day N.P.

So sorry to hear of the unpleasant experience you are having at your complex.

First, for your sake, I hope the town house complex is one that is under the Registration (Strata Titles) Act, as this would make the problem you are having easier to deal with. A clear path is available under the act that would provide an easy fix for your problem.

If it is not a complex that's registered under the Registration (Strata Titles) Act, then your actions would be guided by the agreement that was signed by the residents as it relates to the payment of maintenance and the management of the complex.

If this is not in place, then you would have to seek redress in the courts, and I would urge you to contact your attorney-at-law.

If, however, it is a strata complex, then you have an easier path to redress. You should contact the Commission of Corporation Strata, which will intervene in your situation to bring about a satisfactory resolution.

The corporation will come in and audit the books of the management of the complex to ensure that there is no impropriety. Representatives of the corporation will have mediation meetings, if necessary, with the management and the owners of the units within the complex with a view to getting them to pay their outstanding maintenance fees.

If this is not done, then the corporation has power under the law to force them to pay, and if they still don't, the corporation can assert its power of sale for their property to recoup the maintenance fees. I am sure most persons would settle than have it get to this stage.

The managers of the complex should not be in delinquency as it compromises their authority to try and enforce collection from the other owners.

For your sake, I hope that the facility is a strata complex as it would greatly reduce your stress level in getting this problem rectified.

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