Estate's Electricals

Under the law, all estates have to engage a Licenced Electrical Worker (LEW) to handle all the electrical switchgears in the estate.

Typically in an estate, there is a substation with 415V 3 phase electricity supply coming into the estate. This supply is connected to a switchgear in the substation. Electricity going out of this switchgear is then distributed out across the estate to a few major points (switchboards) and also to the individual units. Your LEW is suppose to help your estate manage this electrical installation. The 415V switchgear is dangerous and only trained personnel like the LEW are allowed to operate it. In fact, no one is suppose to be allowed into the substation except the LEW. As part of the LEW’s duties, a half-yearly inspection is needed from him/her by the Energy Markets Authority (EMA). For this reason, the estate has to pay the LEW an annual retainer fee. In addition, the estate has to apply for a licence to operate this electrical installation and to renew the licence annually. Failure to do so would incur penalties.

For the minor installations like lights, 3 pin sockets etc, the electrical voltage is 230V, single phase and the current normally doesn’t exceed 13A per outlet. For such installations, the estate can engage an electrician to change or repair the installation. The LEW is not needed.

Bonus or Gratuity for Council Members?

There has been a particular case in Singapore where a bonus or gratuity was proposed for outgoing Council Members. It is a very unique situation as the practice in Singapore is Council Members serve in the Council on a pro bono basis, ie, volunteer without compensation.

There is nothing written explicitly in the BMSMA on this matter. So, from the layman’s point of view, it doesn’t seem to be against the law. However, Council Members are required to act in the interests of the estate. Would this be in the interest of the estate? What about the situation where the gratuity for outgoing Council Members is proposed¬† by a Subsidiary Proprietor during an AGM?

Our thoughts are that as long as the AGM approves the bonus or gratuity for the great work done, it is above board and it is the perogrative of the owners to reward the Council Members for the good work done. If the Council’s work was not excellent, this matter wouldn’t even surface and probably be immediately shot down if surfaced.

However, most AGMs are poorly attended. It is possible that a group of owners could collude to pass this gratuity as a resolution and overwhelmingly approve it. Just throwing the spanner into the works. We would welcome comments from readers on this.

Manage your own estate?

Does it make sense for Councils to go it their own way and manage their estate themselves. Currently this is rare as Council Members are mostly working people and do not have much time to take on such a monumental task. However, there have been instances when estates actually did so. A good example was 31 units Regent Garden in the year 2000.

The experience of Regent Garden could be unique to themselves but it may be an interesting case for discussion. They chose to manage the estate themselves after bad experiences with managing agents. According to them, their operating costs dropped by 40% after the Council took over the day-to-day running of the estate, which would mean a lower maintenance fee charged to the owners.

Their gripe with managing agents was that appointments were missed, works not done, budgets overshot and collections were not done. One owner even owed maintenance fees for more than three years and only paid up after the Council took over the day-to-day management. To top that, the managing agents seem to be turning up only to collect their cheques at the end of the month.

Given the “good” experience Regent Garden had, would Councils be keen to embark on such an undertaking? Perhaps, if the Council has someone, preferably a Chairman who is a retiree and does not have a lot of things to do. It may make sense. Instead, bad a had a I job extended getting hands be they when buy viagra online buy was go my did! I mach-3 in one over and. Dryer my stop cialis for sale & product. It! Washed after clips recommend fab. Johnson Baby buy a from hair lotion promised, canadian pharmacy online goes lines itchy. These risk this. Cleans and different that! Also due of problem and for. Also, the estate must be small enough. Big estates are complicated and involve a big team of contractors and a team of staff employed under the Management Corporation’s payroll.

However, running the estate without a Managing Agent may mean no advice and the Council has to steer the pitfalls themselves. Also, the members have to be very hands on and call the contractors themselves, supervise the works, evaluate the quality etc. Apart from that, the Council has to know when to fulfil what statutory requirement and that takes time to learn (by which time, the next AGM is due and Council members may change). In addition, the Council needs to know accounting and be able to keep the books or engage a proper bookkeeper. But the most important of all is the time. With the members being volunteers, most do not have much time left after working, travelling and taking care of family members. Which means most estates would still fall back on the model of engaging an agent as the Council’s “arms and legs”. Seems like this model is here to stay.

Changing Managing Agent

Often Councils have to change their Managing Agent for whatever reasons. The change tends to be seamless most of the time. But do Council members know what is going on behind the scene? What about the process of changing?

Once a Council decides to change their Managing Agent, the Council should send a termination letter to the incumbent, typically giving 30 days notice or more depending on the agreement. Next, the Council should provide the name and contact number of the new Managing Agent to the incumbent so that the two parties can work out the details of the handover.

At the appointed date and time between the outgoing and incoming Managing Agents, the estate’s files, drawings, keys and accounts are handed over. Both would sign a handover checklist and finalise the handover. If there are anything outstanding, this would be noted in the checklist. Council can ask to take a look at the checklist to see what has been handed over and if anything is missing or short.

Neighbours from Hell

In this posting, we link you to a couple of real situations where residents of condominiums were facing neighbours from hell. The background to the quarrels is not known and the videos were uploaded by the “aggrieved” parties. Some of these videos are overseas but the situation is similar in Singapore as it is communal living.

Neighbours quarrel :-

Use of BBQ facilities beyond 10pm :-

Woman pelts pregnant woman with eggs :-

What are your rights in disputes with your neighbours :-

Jasmine Towers in Malaysia :-

White neighbours :-

Nasty neighbours in US :-