Everything You Need To Know About Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST)

“MCST” is one of the many property-related words repeatedly thrown around in the real estate market. While this concept is not just limited to residential properties, most people first come across this term in the context of their own homes or during property purchasing journeys.

The MCST is an essential aspect of private property living in Singapore. Private developments, such as condominiums, often come with an array of different shared facilities including swimming pools, function rooms and gyms. These amenities fall under the scope of the MCST. Additionally, if you purchase a unit in a strata title development, you will automatically be a member of the MCST. Thus, a good understanding of who they are and what they do is important, particularly for strata title property dwellers. 

What is an MCST?

Essentially, the Management Corporation Strata Title, or MCST for short, mainly refers to the managing body of a condominium, or any other complex which has multiple owners and shared facilities. In Singapore, this is usually associated with private residential development with more than one owner and where they are many common areas that require joint-maintenance. Each MCST is differentiated through a tracking number and an official name with the format “The Management Corporation — Strata Title Plan No. ___”.


How is the MCST formed?

The MCST is guided by the legislations set out in the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA). The BMSMA provides a legal scaffold for MCSTs to manage their developments to ensure they are being run efficiently and independently. The MCST is created when a project is near completion, once the developer submits the development’s strata title plan to the Chief Surveyor and an application is made to the Registrar of Titles of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

In the first year, or the “initial period”, of the formation of an MCST, the developer is the party  responsible for the duties of the management of the property. At this stage, the developer is also in charge of opening a bank account under the name of the MCST. All money collected for the maintenance fund is then deposited in this account where proper records must be kept. However, if the Commissioner of Buildings believes that the developer is poorly managing the estate, they can appoint a separate managing agent to take over.

Subsequently, the developer will have to arrange for the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the collective responsibilities and control of the MCST are handed over to the property owners, or the subsidiary proprietors (SPs). During this inaugural AGM, the owners must select a council to supervise the management corporation (MC) through an election. This council comprises of not more than 14 people including a chairperson, a secretary, a treasurer and various council members. The council then hires a managing agent who is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the development and acts as the point of liaison between the different parties. The annual contribution, inclusive of maintenance fees, for the common areas is also decided during this meeting.

After this AGM, the developer will hand over all authority of the MCST to the elected management council. This also includes the transfer of all funds previously collected and any other items that are essential for the council to perform their responsibilities.

Why is an MCST important?

There is a necessity for such a self-governing body for strata title housing due to the nature of such developments. Furthermore, a large number of Singaporeans live in estates such as condominiums where the common facilities are actually co-owned by all the residents.

Facilities and services such as swimming pools and security need to be properly managed and maintained. Additionally, someone also has to be responsible in the event something is spoilt and requires repairing. However, as property owners generally do not have the time or the energy to constantly micro-manage every aspect of the development themselves, they delegate this task to a separate group. This is where the MCST steps in and takes over.

What does the MCST do?

On top of collecting maintenance fees, the job scope of the MCST is extremely broad and it is hard to exactly define what they do. This ranges from managing the daily workings of the common facilities of the estate such as cleaning, upkeeping or repairing where necessary to the overseeing of the overall security of the development.

The standard of MCSTs also vary across different estates. The quality of service provided and the breadth of the tasks they cover are the key factors in differentiating one MCST over their competitors. Good MCSTs will go the extra mile, beyond simply taking care of the physical aspects of the estate. They may introduce initiatives to develop a sense of community and rapport, increasing quality of living. On the other hand, other MCSTs may just do the bare minimum, often not fixing problems until they surface rather than nipping it in the bud. However, in reality, most fall in between these two extremes.

Why does this matter to me?

All in all, the importance of the MCST cannot be undermined. This is an aspect of property ownership that affects the everyday lives of private housing residents. In some cases, the calibre of the MCST is a deciding factor on whether to purchase a property. Depending on the upkeep of the estate, there could also be an impact on the future value of the property.

Therefore, in the long run, understanding the ins and outs of the MCST will help you in becoming a more responsible property owner. It is also critical to stay active in the community and to know what is going on so that you can have a say in your own home.

Mervyn Chia
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