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Condo has right to charge for parking

Strata Board rules against Parc Oasis owners who wanted by-law repealed

Posted on 16-Jan-2014
By: K.C. Vijayan Senior Law Correspondent

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Condo has right to charge for parking

THE Strata Titles Board ruled in a test case yesterday that a condominium management council had the right to charge parking fees for second and subsequent vehicles of residents under a by-law passed at a general meeting.

Some 20 home owners at Parc Oasis in Jurong East Avenue 1 had applied to the board to repeal the by-law as "ultra vires, oppressive and discriminatory". The by-law had been passed last June at an extraordinary general meeting.

It imposed a monthly parking fee of $100 on people with a second car and $150 for each additional vehicle after that.

The monthly management fees were also raised, from $56 to $59 per share value.

These new levies were part of the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) council's efforts to raise funds to offset an estimated $353,000 deficit in the maintenance fund for the fiscal year beginning July 2013.

The 950-unit estate has an equal number of carpark spaces and before June last year, owners with more than one vehicle could park without having to pay fees other than an administration charge for a label and a refundable deposit.

The board, comprising Mr Francis Remedios, Mr Raymond Lye and Mr Edwin Choo, found there was nothing in the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act that prevented the council from charging fees in relation to services provided or for the use of facilities. Hence the move was not ultra vires - or beyond authorised powers - as alleged.

The applicants had argued the by-law discriminated against them as a specific class that owned two or more cars by making them pay more towards the maintenance of the estate.

The board disagreed, pointing out that the affected owners were not obliged to use the spaces in the estate for their additional cars, but could use other carparks in the vicinity.

If they used the estate carpark, the fees went to the upkeep of the estate.

Its written grounds made clear the council had the right and duty to manage common property like the carparks and by-laws could be duly passed to impose conditions such as fees for their use.

The applicants had also argued that the by-law did not benefit all the owners but only the majority who owned only one car.

But the board held the council had not breached its duty to administer common property for the benefit of all, as additional parking fees collected would be used to help defray the projected $353,000 maintenance deficit.

Last night, the council said through its lawyer Subramaniam Pillai: "The MCST is pleased with the outcome but is mindful the applicants are also our fellow residents at the condominium. It is unfortunate this matter has come this far. The MCST is now looking forward to working with the applicants and all others for the common good of the estate."

Lawyer Ng Lip Chih, for the applicants, said: "We are studying the judgment and considering the next course of action."

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