The Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) and its subsidiary legislations, except the provisions on stage development, came into operation on 1st April 2005. The provisions on staged development will come into force on a date to be announced. The BMSMA comes under the purview of the Ministry of National Development (MND). The legislation is administered by the Commissioner of Buildings (COB) of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
The BMSMA is a statute merging the Buildings and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act [“BCPA”] with parts of the Land Titles (Strata) Act [“LTSA”]. It is the result of an extensive consultation process with the industry and the public culminating with a Select Committee review. The BCPA has been repealed. The LTSA has been amended and continues to be under the purview of Ministry of Law (MinLaw). However, the Strata Titles Boards (STB), which is provided for in the BMSMA, now comes under the ambit of MND.
There are a number of significant changes introduced in the BMSMA. They include, among other things, 2-tier MC scheme, proportional representation in the council for multiple lot owners, responsibility of owners to maintain their windows, presumption of liabilty on upper floor unit owners in leakages between units, office bearers permitted to resign without replacements and provision for share values to be varied in staged developments.
As the BMSMA is highly technical, BCA together with industry stakeholders has published a guide entitled “Strata Living in Singapore – A General Guide” to assist laypersons in understanding the Act. The guide provides answers to some common questions like how share value is determined and what it represents, who are the parties responsible for the repairs of inter-floor leaks and how to resolve disputes. There are also examples on the applications of the different types of resolution. It is hoped that the guide will equip owners with basic information so as to facilitate better management of strata developments.