This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on February 17, 2020 – February 23, 2020.

What is a strata title (or any other property title)?

Chris Tan explains that a strata title is “a form of property ownership usually issued for properties in a development or scheme where buildings are subdivided into a number of parcels”. These developments come with shared common areas and facilities. The title is very important for a number of reasons, the main one being that it is the ultimate proof of a person’s ownership of a property.

The title states the name of the registered owner of the property, the built-up area, the apportionment of the share in the total aggregate units (for strata title) and the conditions that are related to the property, if any.

The document is important when it comes to obtaining a bank loan or when an owner wants to sell or transfer his/her stratified property.

Without a property title, there would be complications in the sale and purchase of a property.

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The laws regulating strata titles

In Malaysia, the main law that regulates the issuance or transfer of strata titles is the Strata Titles Act 1985, says Tan. “But in 2013, parliament passed the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) (Amendment) Act 2012 and the Strata Titles (Amendment) Act 2013, which made major changes to the laws on the issuance of strata titles.”

The new laws, which came into force on June 1, 2015, are stricter on the process of the segregation of the master title by the developer.

In addition, it mandates that developers must apply for strata titles within three months of the completion of the superstructure and they should be ready upon vacant possession of the property.

However, generally, the amended Acts do not apply to projects that obtained advertising permits and developer’s licence before 2015.

Any dispute over housing and/or strata management can be resolved by the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims, Strata Management Tribunal or the courts, subject to their respective jurisdiction limits.

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