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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Condominium concept in Post-tsunami construction

Daily News: 05/07/2005" by Athula Wimalaratne, B.Sc. Eng. (Hons.), Dip. C.Sc. (Hons.), E.D.B.A., C.Eng., MIE (SL)

Most of the state implemented Housing Apartments were done 2-3 decades back. Those housing units were distributed mainly to the middle income groups of people in the society on rent purchase basis in which they had to pay their monthly rental for a long period to acquire ownership of those housing units. Until such time the developer, being a statutory body has to maintain the entire Housing Schemes mainly the common elements and common amenities.

As per Apartment ownership Law, with the transferring of ownership of individual housing units only the undivided shared ownership of common elements and common amenities could be transferred to individual unit owners.

Until such time, the ownership of those common elements and common amenities belong to the original developer, in this case the statuary body. By now there are many complicated issues in those housing apartments for which all parties concerned are held responsible up to a certain extent.

With the depreciation of rupee value rental charges are insufficient even to cover maintenance cost and therefore the relevant statutory bodies find in difficult to maintain the common elements and common amenities in the proper way. Most of the common elements and common amenities have been misused by different parties due to the fact that their ownerships belong to the statutory body. Maintenance of common elements and common amenities becomes a fairly ineffective and inefficient process due to the long-term involvement of statutory bodies with limited resources.

The corporation received from housing unit owners and respective occupiers of those housing schemes in maintaining those common elements and common amenities is very poor. Increase of their rental is also dubious due to various reasons.

Obtaining the corporation of unit owners and occupiers in maintenance activities by inculcating certain common attitudes for the well-being of all occupants is also somewhat difficult at this stage due to their present mindset on these aspects and their past experiences in some long outstanding issues and malpractices such as unauthorized constructions.

Some occupants find it difficult to pay their monthly rental and some of them neglect paying the rental owing to different types of reasons. Some of them expect the ownership of individual housing units without any further payments and some are refusing to obtain ownership of housing units purely to avoid any sort of responsibility on maintenance of common elements and common amenities.

One has to admit the fact that there are lot of needy repairs and improvements in those housing schemes. Some of them are due to poor maintenance activities during the past and some of them are due to certain malpratices of connected parties. It is not reasonable to blame one party as all connected parties contributed to the ineffective and inefficient system, and hence it is a system failure. It is a conceptual error done by not paying enough attention to the Condominium Concept.

* Are we going to correct them now?

* What sort of corrective actions are available to the present problems?

* Do we have a system to introduce preventive actions?

* How can we introduce Management Corporation Concept to housing unit owners in state implemented housing schemes of 20-30 years old?

* Do we need a National Policy and uninterrupted long-term action plan to solutions?

* How do we address dilapidated condominiums and ensure earthquake resistant apartments in future along with other disaster mitigation programmes?

* Do we have sufficient standards for condominium constructions?

* Are we regulating the condominium industry properly?

Out of all;

* Can we allow tsunami victims who are going to be occupied in apartments to face similar problems in future?

If not what shall we do now?

* How do we plan out of all these activities?

What information are lacking?

* Are you going to adopt correct systems and procedures?

* Are you ready to accept at least the basics of the condominium concept?

If so, please come and discuss with us. It is not easy to convince you by an article alone.

The Condominium Management Authority has no hesitation to interrupt and act against unscrupulous condominium developers as empowered by Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Act. No. 39 of 2003 to regulate all condominium industry activities for the long-term well-being of occupants.

Condominium Management Authority,
Sahadhipaththiya Pivisum Sevena, NHD Building,
Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha,
Colombo -02.

(The writer is the General Manager of the Condominium Management Authority, Ministry of Housing Construction Industry, Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development.

He is a member of the Institution of Engineers (Sri Lanka) & Institution of Project Managers (Sri Lanka). He had worked for many reputed overseas Companies and conducts several Awareness Programmes to regulate continual enhancement of habitable Condominium Properties.)

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