The Strata Management Tribunal (“Tribunal”) is a body established under the Strata Management Act 2013 (“Act’) to hear and decide on certain matters relating to stratified properties. Members of the Tribunal are appointed by the Minister of the Housing and Local Government and consist of: a) persons who are members of or who have held office in the Judicial and Legal Service or b) persons who are admitted as advocates and solicitors with not less than 7 years’ standing.
What type of matters can the Tribunal hear and determine?
These include, among other things:
- A dispute or complaint concerning an exercise or the performance of, or the failure to exercise or perform, a function, duty or power conferred or imposed by the Act or the subsidiary legislation made under the Act (e.g. developer fails to maintain and manage the property, developer fails to investigate complaint of inter-floor leakage, etc.);
- A claim for the recovery of charges (money collected for the maintenance of the property);
- A claim for an order to convene a general meeting.
- A claim for an order to nullify a resolution passed at a general meeting.
However, the Tribunal’s jurisdiction does not extend to claims which exceed RM 250,000.00 or where the title to any land, or any estate or interest in land, or any franchise, is in question.
The full list of matters that can be decided by the Tribunal is found in Part 1, Fourth Schedule of the Act.
Who is entitled to file a claim to the Tribunal?
Only the following persons are entitled to file a claim:
- purchaser (any person or body who has acquired an interest as a purchaser in the parcel or any person or body for the time being registered as a parcel owner in the register of parcel owners);
- proprietor, including an original proprietor (proprietor of the lot immediately before the subdivision of building or land);
- joint management body;
- management corporation;
- subsidiary management corporation;
- managing agent; and
- any other interested person, with the leave of the Tribunal.
Can I opt to bring the claim before a civil court instead of the Tribunal?
Yes. However, once the claim is initiated in the Tribunal and the claim is within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, the claim cannot be the subject of proceedings between the same parties in any court unless the claim before the Tribunal is withdrawn, abandoned or struck out.
Can a party be appointed by a lawyer in the hearing before the Tribunal?
No, unless the matter (in the opinion of the Tribunal) in question involves complex issues of law and one party will suffer severe financial hardship if he is not represented by an advocate and solicitor.
If one party is allowed to be represented by an advocate and solicitor, the other party would similarly be so entitled.
Is the decision of the Tribunal final and binding?
Yes, and it will be deemed to be an order of a court and can be enforced accordingly by any party to the proceedings. However, the Tribunal’s decision can be subject to challenge at the High Court on the ground of serious irregularity.
“Serious irregularity” means an irregularity which the court considers has caused substantial injustice to the applicant and may include:
- failure by the Tribunal to act fairly and impartially between the parties, giving each party a reasonable opportunity of presenting his case and dealing with that of his opponent.
- failure of the Tribunal to deal with all the relevant issues that were put to it; or
- uncertainty or ambiguity as to the effect of the award.
This article was written by Donovan Cheah (Partner) and Adryenne Lim (Legal Executive). Donovan has been named as a recommended lawyer for Labour and Employment by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017, 2018 and 2019, and he has also been recognised by Chambers Asia Pacific and Asialaw Profiles for his employment law and industrial relations work.
Donovan & Ho is a law firm in Malaysia. Our practice areas include employment law, dispute resolution, tax advisory and corporate advisory. Have a question? Please contact us.