Tribunal 1200x628 01
Logo3 small

Let’s face it. There are still many of us who are living in strata units but are not well-informed about the roles and responsibilities of the Joint Management Body and Management Corporation, let alone having a comprehensive knowledge about the Strata Management Tribunal (SMT).

The SMT comes under the Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA) or Act 757, which was gazetted in June 2015.

According to the National House Buyers Association (HBA), the SMT is one of the ‘eye-opener’ of the Act as it provides solutions to aggrieved house owners and management who want to seek legal recourse without having to litigate in courts.

It was reported recently that the complaints to the SMT almost doubled in two years, from 2,642 cases in 2016 to 4,964 cases last year.

Data shows that cases registered with the Tribunal for hearing were related to maintenance fee collections, which include the Joint Management Body (JMB) and parcel owners’ non-compliance to the SMA.

Here are the things that you should know about the Strata Management Tribunal.

Image source:

1. Who is in-charge?

Under the Act, the Tribunal comes under the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT), offering alternative dispute resolution relating to the strata owners, developers and management.

Currently, there are 29 presidents for the Strata Management Tribunal, which were increased from 23 by KPKT’s Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin in July last year, in a bid to expedite the settlement of a backlog of housing disputes.

Under the SMA, the Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any claims specified in Part 1 of the Fourth Schedule and where the total amount in respect of which an award of the SMT is sought does not exceed two hundred and fifty thousand ringgit or such other amount as may be prescribed to substitute the total amount.

The Act says the jurisdiction of the SMT shall not extend to any claim in which the title to any land, or any estate or interest in land, or any franchise, is in question.

2. Who can claim?

Anyone involved in a strata property – developer, purchaser, proprietor, JMB, MC, subsidiary MC, managing agent and others; can make a claim before the Strata Management Tribunal (SMT) under Section 107 of the SMA.

It is noted that a purchaser is an owner of a unit which holds the master title, and have not been issued a strata title. In this case, the developer or the landowner is the proprietor. When the unit’s strata title has been issued and duly registered in the name of the purchaser, then he or she becomes the legal proprietor of the unit.

Image source:

3. What claims can be filed?

The Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear and determine any claims where the total amount does not exceed RM250,000, in respect of which an award of the Tribunal is sought.

Claims that can be filed under the SMT include:

- 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 Strata Management Act 2013 or the by-laws;
- A dispute on costs or repairs in respect of a defect in a parcel, building or land intended for subdivision into parcels, or subdivided building or land, and its common property or limited common property;
- A claim for the recovery of Charges, or contribution to the sinking fund, or any amount which is declared by the provisions of this Act as a debt;
- A claim for an order to convene a general meeting;
- A claim for an order to invalidate proceedings of meeting where any provision of the Act has been contravened;
- A claim for an order to nullify a resolution where voting rights has been denied or where due notice has not been given;
- A claim for an order to nullify a resolution passed at a general meeting;
- A claim for an order to revoke amendment of by-laws having regard to the interests of all the parcel owners or proprietors;
- A claim for an order to vary the rate of interest fixed by the joint management body, management corporation or subsidiary management corporation for late payment of Charges, or contribution to the sinking fund;
- A claim for an order to vary the amount of insurance to be provided;
- A claim for an order to pursue an insurance claim;
- A claim for compelling a developer, joint management body, management corporation or subsidiary management corporation to supply information or documents;
- A claim for an order to give consent to effect alterations to any common property or limited common property; or
- A claim for an order to affirm, vary or revoke the Commissioner of Building decision.

4. What can the Tribunal order?

The Strata Management Tribunal may conduct proceedings in manners deemed appropriate, necessary or expedient for the purpose of ascertaining the facts or law in order that it may determine a claim.

The Order that the SMT can make include:

- Pay a sum of money to another party;
- Order the price or other consideration paid by a party to be refunded to that party;
- Order the payment of compensation or damages for any loss or damage suffered by a party;
- Order the rectification, setting aside or variation of a contract or additional by-laws, wholly or in part;
- Order costs to or against any party to be paid;
- Order interest to be paid on any sum or monetary award at a rate not exceeding eight per centum per annum;
- Dismiss a claim which it considers to be frivolous or vexatious;
- Any other order as it deems just and expedient; or
- Make such ancillary or consequential orders or relief as may be necessary to give effect to any order made by the SMT.

Image source:

5. Do you need lawyers?

The Strata Management Tribunal was well received by all the parties, especially the strata managers, mainly because it will be a convenience for them to bring the errant homeowners to justice without having to appoint a lawyer, which may be troublesome in terms of time and financial.

According to the Act, when a claim is filed with the SMT and the claim is within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, the issues in dispute in that claim, whether as shown in the initial claim or as emerging in the course of the hearing, shall not be the subject of proceedings between the same parties in any court unless:

- the proceedings before the court were commenced before the claim was filed with the Tribunal; or
- the claim before the SMT is withdrawn, abandoned or struck out.

This means that a claimant has to decide in advance as to which forum he has to file a case because having filed a case with the SMT, he will not be able to proceed with the same in the court or vice versa.

It is important for all parties involved in a strata property to understand their rights and practice it accordingly. All information and forms for claimants to present a case are available at the official portal of KPKT. With an accurately presented claims and feasible facts and evidence, the cases can be solved efficiently by the SMT.   

 (By Roznah AJ, 15 August 2019)


20150527 023646 1 small

Super timely information, tribunal may need to increase more technical persons to attend to cases like interfloor leakage