Malaysia is generally blessed with choices and variety of housing depends on budget, lifestyle, location, size of family etc. The choice of housing loosely can be divided to strata and individual title. For strata title, you own your own parcel however the facilities, lift, common area and services such as security and cleaning are communal and usually the up keeping and maintenance of these common area and services are outsourced to managing agent.
Local council will not be responsible of the maintenance and upkeeping (except if Pangsapuri Perumahan Rakyat) of common area of strata properties. Therefore, the owners are obliged to pay the maintenance fee for these outgoing expenses. In order for residents to co-habit peacefully whether within their parcel or common area, they need to obey by-laws failing penalty will be imposed. The common stratified residential properties are apartment, condominium, serviced apartment, condotel etc.
Where else individual titled properties, they are the most popular choice among house buyers. Usually, individual titled properties are landed in natural such as terrace, semi-detached and detached home. As long as within the local council rules, the owners has full ownership of the property. However this may cause a dissent in community as no by-laws binding the residents for mutual respect to co-habit peacefully.
Due to change of lifestyle and demand of feature such as security and facilities, some developers have incorporated strata concept in the landed housing. This strata landed concept quickly gaining popularity as owners demanding landed living with single exit/enter point, guarded and gated, facilities such as pool, gym, garden etc. they will also prefer to be in control of the upkeeping and maintenance of the precinct rather than rely on local council. The classic example is Desa Park City by PerdanaPark City and Setia Eco Glades by SPSetia.
However there is another class of housing that often forgotten by house buyers. Townhouse living. Read on to find out more.
It is important that readers understand about townhouse concept which is not a new concept. PROPCAFE observes that home seekers are a bit apprehensive of townhouse concept where multiple owners are owning strata properties that sharing common roof, wall, floor and structure. A typical townhouse in Malaysia will have not more than 3 storeys and on rare occasion 4 storeys. Unlike condo or apartment, it is arranged in a row of 10-12 units/row similar to terrace house. Hence the townhouse is a hybrid of condo (sharing) and terrace house (landed) concept. For ease of understanding, refer to the sketch below.
Townhouse concept diagram
Why choose a townhouse, one may ask? There is no question of the popularity of landed home among Malaysians where it has become an aspiration of many to own ONE. The beauty of owning a landed home is aside the shared walls with neighbour, the property belongs to you. If there is water leakage or cracks, no finger pointing of responsibility. Where the building depreciates, the land always appreciates in the long run. In a nutshell, if location is good and it is affordable, a terrace home will always be the preferred option among Malaysian home seekers.
When land has become scarcer (and more expensive) and lifestyle changes, stratified apartments are being built. Essentially, rather than being built horizontally, the units are built vertically. The major advantage of strata living is owners are only responsible for individual parcel where the communal area such as facilities, lift access, security, rubbish collection, cleanliness are taken care of by Management Office. Therefore it is a no frill maintenance and management of the apartment while owners can enjoy the facilities and a secured homes/ environment in preferred locations. The biggest concern here is the upkeep of the building which, IF not properly maintained will bring about many issues to the property.
THE TOWNHOUSE, WHY? For a start, as a home seeker, you maybe looking for a landed houses however you do not have the budget for it. Essentially you are looking for a VALUE purchase. You do not fancy an apartment as you dread to lug your bags from car to home. You may not fancy your beloved car parked out of your visibility. This is where a townhouse fills in the gap.
Being a stratified development, the townhouse owners have full control of the communal area such as cleanliness, landscape, security and rubbish collection which are governed under the Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA2013). Unlike individual title, townhouse owners are not allowed to alter any façade without the permission from MC. The result in the long run, this will create a cleaner and more uniform façade. In long term with better control and maintenance of façade and communal area, owners expect to have better capital appreciation.
Terrace Link House Versus Townhouse
Townhouse usually has basic facilities and therefore the maintenance fee is low. For example Propcafe just visited Ayden @ Warisan Puteri, the expected maintenance fee is only RM0.08psf and for 1851sqft unit, the maintenance fee is less than RM150 per month! One of the main advantages due to low rise nature, townhouse does not need lift and this is going into the maintenance fee saving.
Another point worth noting IF two or more generations staying together under single roof, townhouse will be a perfect solution. The younger generation can stay on an upper unit while the elders can still stay at a lower unit, maintaining the privacy and yet accessible to each other.
|Facade||Varies depends on Owner||Fixed without alteration of facade||Fixed without alteration of Facade|
|Facilities||No||Yes with basic facilities||Yes, depends on plan|
|Communal Living||Yes, Close Knit||Yes, Close Knit||Yes, depends|
|Security||No or FnG||Yes, GnG||Yes, GnG|
|Maintenance Fee||No or Minimum||Yes, moderate||Yes, high|
*Not include stratified Landed Home
- The table above is strictly based on PROPCAFE personal observation
One of the major concerns of the stratified owners is the shared wall, floor and roof with interleak issue. In the past, this has proven to be a stumbling block as owners have minimum recourse for this issue. However worry not! Under SMA2013, the management has responsibility and power to investigate and accordingly serve Form 28 to responsible parties to fix the issue. The management has power to rectify and recover the cost to from the responsible parties. This has eliminated the issue of finger pointing as well as saving the time to fix the issue before it escalates to bigger issue.
For ease of understanding of the procedure, just refer to the simplified flow credit to Rehda Institute. Upon receive notice from management, the owner shall allow access to the property to verify inter-floor leak, failing the owner can be fined up to RM50K or jail up to 3 years! This is a provision and power given to Management Agency and stratified owners should take this seriously. Further to this, there is clear policy and guideline how source of interleak can be identified, rectified in timely manner.
Compare to the past, the strata management act has been improved tremendously and purchasers shall not be concern of purchasing a stratified property where sharing of wall, floor etc were the concern in the past.
For more information of dealing with inter-floor leakage, please click on the link below
In summary, if you are looking for affordable landed house option, with a large built up, security feature, basic communal area and affordable maintenance fee, townhouse is an option that worth exploring given the significant improvements in SMA2013 to array the fears of ownership in stratified development.
Stay tune to PROPCAFE™ 1st townhouse review, Ayden @ Warisan Puteri by IOI Properties.