23 May 2018
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Two reports highlight growing trend

Straits Times
04 May 2018
K.C. Vijayan

Two reports released by the Strata Titles Boards (STB) this month underline the growing stretch of spats being referred to them.

In one case, unit owner Timothy Siah had sought a copy of the audio recording of Balestier Point's management corporation's (MC) 28th annual general meeting held last July - a request declined by the MC. It cited potential legal implications, such as from the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), but offered to arrange for Mr Siah to listen to the recording at its office.

Facing a deadlock, Mr Siah applied to STB last September for an order to obtain copies under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA). He argued that the MC had acknowledged that it was bound to allow an inspection of the recording under the BMSMA by offering to arrange for him to listen to the tape.

The MC countered among other things that it was not entitled to make copies of the audio recording and added that it was likely that the personal data of other unit owners would be revealed in the process.

The STB panel - comprising president Alfonso Ang, Ms Elaine Chew and Dr Tan Teng Hooi - disagreed with the MC and ruled that Mr Siah be supplied with a copy of the audio recording, for which the MC may charge a reasonable fee not exceeding $300.

In its decision grounds, STB said: "The board finds that Section 47 of the BMSMA does not, in any manner, contradict the provisions in the PDPA as information relating to subsidiary proprietors is considered publicly available."

Separately, the management corporation of Le Crescendo development in Paya Lebar Road had applied for unit owner Tay Boon Yong to remove unapproved structures.

The case was settled on the day a hearing was due last month, without any admission of liability. But both sides could not agree on costs and left the issue to be decided by STB. The MC sought $20,000 in costs, pointing to a by-law passed at a general meeting which provided for legal costs to be recovered on an indemnity basis as opposed to standard costs.

STB disagreed, making clear such by-laws do not bind the boards' discretion to award costs under the BMSMA.

The STB tribunal, presided by Mr Alfonso Ang and including Mr Loh Kwi Leong and Mr Chan Kok Way, ordered that Mr Tay pay the MC $4,000 in costs, in addition to reimbursing $1,100 for various fees paid to STB and a reasonable sum for disbursements.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.