Two councils in stand-off over running of one condo estate
The 22nd management council of Pine Grove, whose term was due to end last November, refuses to recognise the outcome of the annual general meeting at which a fresh team was elected to form the 23rd MC.
A refusal by one management council (MC) of a condominium development to hand over to another council after its term ended has led to the first reported case of two councils appearing to run one estate.
The 22nd MC of Pine Grove condominium, whose term was due to end last November after the annual general meeting (AGM), refused, for various reasons, to recognise the outcome of the meeting at which a fresh team was elected to form the 23rd MC.
"The current 22nd council of Pine Grove is status quo. It is our view that no valid general meeting was held on Nov 30," said chairman Kogi Murthi on behalf of the 22nd council.
The 22nd council had posted a notice the day before the AGM that the meeting would be postponed, but it went ahead and members were duly elected.
At issue were the grounds of decision by the Strata Titles Board (STB) in March regarding the move by two owners to challenge the 22nd council's decision to postpone the meeting.
The board held the 22nd MC was wrong as it had no powers to postpone the AGM.
But Mrs Murthi said the board in its decision grounds had also said: "It is not for the board at this time to consider whether or not the resolutions passed and election held at the general meeting on Nov 30 were valid or otherwise."
She claimed it meant the board did not endorse the view that the AGM was properly conducted or that the resolutions appointing the members of the 23rd MC were validly passed.
Mrs Murthi added that the 22nd MC intended to hold a fresh AGM after the circuit breaker is over and when it is practical to do so. "We will provide residents with further updates in due course."
Contacted by The Straits Times, the 23rd council's chairman Cheryn Chan said the council is weighing its options, pointing out it has been trying to persuade and seek a smooth handover from the 22nd council.
"There will not be a fresh election because we had validly and properly conducted the AGM last November according to the relevant law and our term should be exhausted first before another election can be held.
"The 23rd MC has made repeated attempts to persuade the 22nd MC through their lawyers and the managing agent to let good sense and the law prevail and make way for the 23nd MC to take over, but to no avail."
She added: "As such, we have not been able to discharge our duty to manage the estate, especially to deal with pressing issues arising from Covid-19."
Madam Chan did not rule out legal action as a last resort, but pointed to the legal costs involved.
She added the 23rd MC had registered with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on April 1 to reflect its official position, following the STB's decision in March.
A BCA spokesman said management corporations or MCSTs are required to submit information regarding their last AGM to the Commissioner of Buildings, to notify that the AGM has been held.
"If there are disputes regarding the election of a managing council, the MCST or its subsidiary proprietors can make an application to the STB for a resolution."
Lawyers said the governing Building Maintenance and Strata Titles Management Act does not provide for any caretaker or interim council to bridge any gap pending the resolution of any dispute.
"In this case, the STB found the purported postponement notice of the AGM to be invalid. Unless an action is brought to set aside the AGM, STB's ruling would implicitly mean that the AGM held on Nov 30 would have been properly and validly convened and held," said Dentons Rodyk senior partner Ling Tien Wah, an independent observer.
"Since the AGM was valid, this would implicitly mean that the election that was held to elect the members of the MC during the AGM would likewise be valid unless an action is brought to invalidate it."
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