Not all facility management teams are equal. If you want to live in a condominium or work in office that stays well-maintained through the years, you better pick a good one.
Actually, what does an MCST do and how do you assess whether it’s good or bad?
What is the MCST?
The Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) refers to the managing body of your condo. It’s formed under the Building Management and Strata Management Act (BMSM), Chapter 30C.
The name of the managing body is always presented as MCST No. XXXX, where the serial number is issued by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
For new condos, the property developer finds a condo management company within two months of the Temporary Occupancy Permit (TOP). After the first Annual General Meeting (AGM), control of the management committee is turned over to the property owners.
From there, property owners are free to:
- Appoint a professional condo management firm / facility management firm
- Form a management council from the existing property owners (if enough of them will volunteer and be accepted)
- Keep the existing condo management
In the event a management council is formed from the property owners, it’s common for them to hire a Managing Agent.
While you can choose not to care about what your MCST does, know that you are paying management fees and have a right to know whether your property is being properly stewarded.
What exactly does the MCST do?
It may vary based on the property type, but here are the basic responsibilities that most MCST have:
- Manage payroll of the staff (administrators etc.)
- Electing the security company / cleaning company
- Basic building maintenance
- Community building
- Asset enhancement (eg. upgrading of current facilities)
- Financial Report Transparency
Spotting a good MCST requires some effort and time on your part. Here are some things that you can do.
Here’s how you can spot a good MCST
1. Attend the AGMs
From AGMs, you would be able to hear things like pool filter not being fixed or extra repairs needed for the property. If the issue repeats next year, maybe the management cannot afford to replace these things.
In that case, you can work to vote the MCST out. If you’re unable or don’t want to spend the effort to rally enough people to do so, you can factor in this point into your decision to sell your property.
Before buying any property, it also helps to ask residents about their management council. If they reply that they don’t care or never took the effort to attend the AGMs, it’s usually a sign that things are still fine. If they complain, then it’s a sign of a potentially incompetent MCST.
2. Look for asset enhancement, not just maintenance
Maintenance is the most basic task of the MCST. But good condo management goes beyond that.
You should look at how the common areas have been enhanced over the years. Some examples would be optimization of facilities. Asset enhancement definitely contributes toward capital appreciation.
4. Check the management corporation’s other clients
Before buying, ask the agent who’s managing the condo. Then check up on the management agent, corporation, etc. and see what other places they’ve worked on.
Generally, most established property developers will not pick lousy MCSTs. Also, if the management has not changed from the first year, usually there is no need to ask.