If you live in a condo, you will receive a yearly invitation from your condo management, otherwise known as Management Corporate Strata Title (MCST), to attend the annual general meeting (AGM).
Whilst most people tend to skip the AGM without giving it a second thought, it pays to be involved in the discussion because it affects your property’s value and rentability, among many other things.
So, without further ado, here are four reasons why you should be an active member in your condo AGMs.
What Is the MCST?
As explained above, the MCST is basically your condo management/council.
For new condo developments, the developer will employ a condo management company for about two months after the Temporary of Occupation (TOP) date. After the first AGM however, the property owners can choose to decide whether to appoint another condo management firm, form a management committee consisting of existing property owners, or stick with the existing management company employed by the developer.
In most cases, a condo management may also employ a managing agent to handle day-to-day administrative and operational tasks such as ensuring that staff have a proper schedule, tending to car park matters, dealing with residents’ complaints and queries, etc.
In general, here’s a lowdown of what your condo management or MCST does:
- Take care of common shared facilities in condos such as parking space, gardens, swimming pools, perimeter fence, security systems, gym and sports facilities
- Managing the staff’s (cleaners, gardeners, plumbers, electricians, technicians, security guards and other personnel needed) payroll to keep the development in good working order
- Collect maintenance fees from strata title (property) owners
- Upgrading or creation of new facilities
Each month, the condo owners will pay a monthly maintenance fee to the condo management/MCST for the management of the tasks mentioned above. Depending on several factors, the fee can vary from a few hundred to even four-digit figures.
Since you’re paying a monthly maintenance fee, it’s only fair that you should know what your MCST is doing with the collected funds. Hence, it’s important to be part of your condo’s yearly AGM, since that’s when all these matters are discussed.
4 Reasons You Should Join Your Condo’s AGM
Here are our four most compelling reasons why you should attend your condo’s AGM:
1. The AGM Will Discuss The Maintenance of Your Condo, Which Directly Affects Your Condo’s Value
Things are usually rosy in the first few years of living in a new condo. However, problems will start to arise as your condo begins to age; especially if there’s negligence or a lack of proper maintenance of the facilities.
Some examples would be lifts that frequently break down (or are too slow), rusty and malfunctioning gym equipment, poorly maintained swimming pools, or underground car parks that look dirty and dark (or worse, if there’s graffiti).
Why does this matter? The overall condition of your property plays a big part in your condo’s resale and rental value. If the general upkeep of the facilities is poor, it’s likely that you would also see your property’s value drop.
Remember that you would probably also face competition from other projects in the area, including new and upcoming developments. If your condo isn’t well-maintained, buyers and tenants would most likely gravitate toward projects that are newer or better maintained.
That’s why being part of your condo’s AGM will help. During meetings, you get to raise concerns on the general upkeep of the property, or highlight something that needs to be repaired/replaced. These issues may seem small at first, but they will affect your property’s value in the long-run.
2. You’ll Know Exactly Where the Funds Are Going
As condo owners, you pay a monthly maintenance fee to your condo management for general upkeep. Naturally, you would expect the condo to be in tip-top condition. But if something breaks down, then you would begin to question where the money is spent.
By being part of the regular AGMs, you will be informed on where the funds are going. For example, how much is being used to pay for lift repairs, whether funds have been used to address the water seepage issues, quotation for repairing the estate, and so on. You would also know whether the management has worked to try and rectify the problem, but maybe do not have sufficient funds to repair it.
As such, you get a better overall picture of your MCST’s performance or whether your management is paying notice to the concerns raised. This would help you make a better-informed decision when you have to vote.
3. You’ll Have a Say in What You Want to See Improved and Can Vote for It
The AGM is the only time of the year where the owners, council members, and board of directors come together to discuss the affairs of the condo. Not only will you get to hear the concerns of others, but also have the chance to provide your input.
Being part of your AGM gives you the opportunity to vote for important issues or changes that you want to happen. For example, if you want to suggest the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging lots. As Singapore gears towards a greener and sustainable future, having EV charging lots will not only benefit future EV owners, but also help to future-proof your condo over the next few years.
4. You Get to Keep Your Management in Check
Aside from voting, you also have the chance to keep your condo’s council in check. For example, in 2017, residents of One Canberra executive condo (EC) were livid when the management agent planned to hold its first annual AGM at the Orchid Country Club for $19,000. After pressure from residents and community leaders, the venue was eventually shifted to the Chong Pang Community Club for less than half of the cost.
As a resident, you have the right to keep your council’s integrity, so that no group or single person can dominate the decision-making process. For example, if the council suggests building a new water feature fountain for $10,000, but no one turns up at the AGM to go against it, then they can go ahead without any opposition.
Also, it’s important to be involved in AGMs especially during financial reports. Typically, there will be an elected auditor who is tasked with auditing the condo’s account and disclosing financial statements.
Remember, the auditor represents the condo owners and thus is responsible for reporting to you and not to the council. If you’re not part of your AGM, you’re basically giving up your right and opportunity to question the auditor or council in regard to the financial health or operating expenses.
Conclusion: You Only Stand to Gain From Attending AGMs!
Most residents take it for granted that the management is managing the funds properly/efficiently. But you can’t be certain what the funds are being used for, unless you’re part of the AGMs.
Whether you’re living at the property or renting it out to tenants, it’s important to be involved in the general discussions and decision-making because you get to understand everyone’s concerns, whilst ensuring that the general maintenance is well-managed.
Other FAQs on Condo AGM
What is a Condo AGM?
The annual general meeting (AGM) is where the condo management will provide a financial report and annual report to the condo owners. Owners and stakeholders also discuss the challenges that they face, as well as improvements that they want to see implemented.
When Is the AGM Held?
According to the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act
(BMSMA), the AGM is held once a year, and not more than 15 months from the preceding AGM.
Who Can Attend the Condo AGM?
Condo owners, council members, as well as relevant stakeholders can attend the condo AGM.
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This article was written by Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru. When he’s not busy churning out engaging property content* or newsletter copies, he’s busy being a lover of all geeky things. Say hi at: email@example.com
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