Thu | Oct 29, 2020

A Matter of Land | Why am I asked to pay more?

Published:Monday | June 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMDr Glenville Ashby
Craig Francis
A strata complex in St Andrew.

Good day, readers. This week, we respond to another reader's question.

Hello, Mr Francis,

I have been reading your articles in The Sunday Gleaner now for quite a while. I find it very informative and I have been able to learn a lot from it. Now I have an issue that I want your help to address.

I own an apartment in a complex that I do not live in. I live in the United Kingdom and the apartment is occupied by my tenants. I do not owe any maintenance fees or anything like that.

Recently, my tenant told me that she was approached by the management of the complex requesting a certain sum for the painting of the building, and other areas in the complex.

Why am I being asked to do so when I owe no maintenance fees? Why am I not responsible to paint the outside of my own unit and why would I be asked to contribute to the painting of other persons unit?

I look forward to your timely response.

Thank you.


Good day JS,

Thank you for your continued support of this column and I am happy that you have found the articles informative and instructive.

Based on your question, I have deduced that the complex that you own the apartment in is a strata complex.

That being the case, your maintenance fee is used for the daily running of the complex. It pays the security, helps with the upkeep of the grounds, and also pays the utilities for all the electricity and water used in the common areas.

Since you have been honouring your monthly fees, it means you are in good standing.

You are now trying to ascertain why, despite your good standing, you are being asked to pay money for the painting of the buildings.

To respond to your question as to why you are not allowed to paint the outside of your unit. Your strata lot is from the centre line of your floor to the centre line of your roof and the centre line of your walls.

This simply means that the outside of your building wall does not belong to you exclusively, but is common property and as such, has to be treated in that way.

Hence, when the outside of the building has to be painted, it has to be treated as what it is - common property - and everyone is responsible to contribute to the painting of the walls in the common property.


One time cess


The maintenance you pay is for the monthly expenses of the common area and to run the complex efficiently. This new need to paint the buildings will be an additional cost that your maintenance will not cover so what the management has done is applied a one-time cess to cover the cost of painting.

This will not be a recurring amount and will just be one-off until painting needs to be done again, insurance is needed to be paid, or something else to be done for the complex that requires more than the maintenance can cover.

I hope I have been able to address all your concerns. All the best.

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 or Precision Surveying Services.