IS A SEPARATE BOARD NECESSARY? PEPS and RISM ASK IN A VIEWPOINT COMMENTARY
It was reported earlier in Real Spaces that the Building Managers Association of Malaysia (BMAM) has called for the setting up of a new board of building managers under the auspices of the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (KPKT).
As practising property managers regulated by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA), we would like not only to respond and place the facts correctly but also to make suggestions that will work amicably for all concerned.
First to set the records straight, property management and building management are one and the same. There is no point in using different terminologies to confuse people. There are academic disciplines that award degrees in property management but none in building management.
Secondly, historically, even before but especially after the first regulatory exercise in 1976 when the Valuation and Property Management professions were regulated, the science and art of property management has always been tied and intertwined with that of valuers. The later Act of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents in 1981 (Act 242) consolidated this Act further.
The academic and professional education of property managers and valuers are one and the same. In fact, all our practising valuers are holders of degrees in Estate (Property) Management. Hence, it is a fallacy to say that valuers are usurping or monopolising the property management functions. It is theirs in the first place. In fact, it is developers, engineers, architects and others who are not trained in property management who are trying to enter this profession without proper education, training and professional expertise.
The request by BMAM is founded on the following grounds, and we shall address them one by one:
- To establish COB as the sole regulatory agency for building management in Malaysia
The Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 (Act 663), under which COB was set up, was to correct and prevent mismanagement being continued from the time of completion of a strata building and to form a Management Corporation (MC) under the Strata Titles Act, to ensure proper management and maintenance of stratified buildings. Prior to Act 663, there was no regulatory measures; it was left to the vagaries, ways and means of the original developers to manage the completed units without any form of control. Thus Act 663 helped to fill the lacuna and correct the mismanagement.
The COB was to oversee and ensure that the people managing the strata units, with or without strata titles, follow proper procedures and become accountable for the collection and spending of monies. To that extent, Act 663 was indeed a success.
There were some matters not covered by Act 663 and thus, it was replaced by the Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA 2013/Act 757). The SMA 2013 retains the person of COB and gave him/her the same powers to manage the Joint Management Bodies, the Joint Management Committee and MCs. He/she is also responsible for appointing the managing agent.
However, nowhere in Act 663 nor SMA 2013 is the COB the regulator of property managers nor the managing agents. In fact, both Acts have not contemplated setting up or giving powers to COB to register, regulate, condone or discipline property managers or managing agents. It is important to note that this role of the COB under the SMA 2013 does not cover the regulatory control of property management practice (aka “building management practice”). It means that COB will regulate developers, JMBs, JMCs and MCs which are carrying out maintenance and management of the building and common property in a stratified development area, not regulate the property managers (aka “building managers”) in their professional property management practice (aka “building management practice”) related to a stratified development area.
Therefore, it would not be legal or proper to give COB the powers that are not provided for in SMA 2013. In fact, COBs are appointed at local authority level and to even provide powers for them to register property or building managers or managing agents will be a complex exercise unless these powers are centralised.
- Prevent monopolies and be consistent with the Competition Act 2010
Will the powers given to register property or building managers prevent monopolies being formed? The assumption here seems to be that there are monopolies. All respectable professions in Malaysia are regulated by a board representing that profession. Professional property management practice is the same as other professional practices which do not come under the Competition Act 2010 because they are regulated by their respective statutory regulatory bodies. Furthermore, there is no formation of monopolies in all professional practices because anyone who is qualified in that profession can apply for a licence to practise from his respective statutory regulatory body.Thus far, there has not been any claim that there is a monopoly or cartel in the profession of property or building managers.
PEPS is the acronym for Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia. RISM is the acronym for Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia.
ED: (Look out for the second part of this article next week.)