Many proprietors may be very tempted to renovate their stratified homes according to their own preference, but it is important to note the dos and don’ts before conducting any renovations.
Obtaining the approval of the management corporation
Do you know that obtaining the approval of the management corporation is as important as obtaining the approval of the appropriate authorities when it comes to renovating a stratified home? With reference to By-Law 27 of the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations 2015, ‘a proprietor shall not carry out any renovation works to his parcel without first obtaining a prior written approval from the management corporation and, where necessary, from the appropriate authority’.
Upon approval by the management corporation, you may be required to pay an amount of money as a deposit to the management corporation. This is to ensure that no damage is done to the common property (i.e. common facilities shared among the community) and the structural support of the building during your renovation. Additionally, you will be required to submit to the management corporation a copy of the necessary approvals from the appropriate authority in regard to the renovation.
Restrictions and prohibitions in renovation works
You may get too excited about renovating your new stratified home and overlook the restrictions and prohibitions. One of the major steps before renovating is to obtain the necessary written approvals, especially for the renovations listed below:
- i) constructing another level to your parcel
- ii) relocating any external door or window of your parcel
- iii) removing or changing any building safety feature in your parcel
- iv) shifting any plumbing and sewerage system in your parcel
- v) changing or upgrading the whole electrical system in your parcel
- vi) illegally connecting or tapping electricity supply
Exterior of the parcel
You may want to convert the balcony to have a larger indoor space in your parcel, however, this may be one of the biggest no-nos if you do not have the necessary approvals! The law states that no proprietor shall be permitted to make any changes to the exterior of their parcels, the appearance of the common property or building façade or encroach onto any part of the common property without prior approval of the management corporation. The building façade is the exterior appearance of the building including external windows, balconies, terraces and etc. Thus, the smallest things, such as installing a television antenna or disc at the rooftop or an outdoor AC condenser, would nevertheless require the necessary approvals as the exterior appearance of the building is concerned.
Hacking, drilling and punching of nails
Although hacking, drilling and punching of nails are allowed with the necessary approvals, there is a permissible limit imposed on them. Such activities are strictly prohibited within 300 mm of any concealed or embedded pipes and electrical conduits. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a proprietor to ensure the contractors use a metal detector prior to any hacking, drilling or punching of nails and to check the as-built building plans.
Consequences of disobeying the By-Laws
With reference to By-Law 7 of the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations 2015:
‘the management corporation may by a resolution at a general meeting impose a fine of such amount as shall be determined by the general meeting against any person who is in breach of any of these by-laws or any additional by-laws made under the Act’
On top of that, the proprietors are responsible to rectify any damage or destruction done to another parcel or the common property. Failure to do so within a reasonable time of two written notifications of at least 14 days each from the management corporation will entitle the management corporation to take action and commence proceedings to rectify the damage or destruction. The cost and expense of such action and proceedings will then be recoverable from the proprietor at fault.
Additional matters to take note!
It is crucial for proprietors to be careful when carrying out major renovations especially during the first two years of their vacant possession, as the developer may then use this as a ground to not rectify any defects during the defect liability period (usually 24 months) by contending that the defects resulted from your renovations. Therefore, it is important that you obey the By-Laws or additional By-Laws as they may indirectly affect your entitlements during the defect liability period.
A proprietor is often required to sign the Deed of Mutual Covenants (“DMC”) which spells out the house rules of the development. Some of the DMCs may include additional rules in regard to renovation, such as a timeframe for renovation to take place. You, as a proprietor, should therefore be cautious and read up the DMC before renovating your home.
In a nutshell, always remember to obtain the necessary approvals regardless of how minor your renovation is because you never know what comes along the way, and be aware of the restrictions and prohibitions before you conduct any renovation.
This article is intended to be informative and not intended to be nor should be relied upon as a substitute for legal or any other professional advice.
About the Author
Goh Li Fei
Halim Hong & Quek
Teoh Chee Jean
Halim Hong & Quek