Sustainable condos, the solution to housing issues, says cma chief | Sunday Observer

Sustainable condos, the solution to housing issues, says cma chief

The Government’s middle income housing program provides developers with State land at zero cost and provides infrastructure to the development site.
The Government’s middle income housing program provides developers with State land at zero cost and provides infrastructure to the development site.

Illegal constructions by some property developers is on the rise as reported by the media, even in the recent past, especially in the Dehiwela and Mt. Lavinia areas.

In an interview with the Business Observer, Condominium Management Authority (CMA) Chairman C.A. Wijeyeweere said property developers who violate the law pertaining to constructions will be called upon to demolish the structures within a specified time and in the event they do not comply with the local authority or the Urban Development Authority (UDA) steps will be taken to demolish the constructions.

Excerpts:

Q: How do you see growth of the condominium sector in the country?

A: Condominium living is rather new in Sri Lanka. With the increase of the urban migration the Sri Lankan housing market is reaching out to a challenge with a new building typology, the high rise residential building.


 CMA Chairman C.A. Wijeyeweere

In Sri Lanka high rise residential and mixed development mainly takes place in Colombo and its suburbs. In the recent past it has expanded to Kandy, Galle, Nuwara-Eliya, Trincomalee and to Bandarawela. For high rise condominiums to be a sustainable solution for housing, it has to be planned and designed within the framework of a sustainable city.

To make condominium living a sustainable solution to present housing issues, it is of paramount importance that new condominium owners or migrant owners of the condominium units are assisted with awareness programs to acclimate to a new urban culture. The buyers of condominium units need to be provided with adequate information regarding the facilities offered to them by the developer.

Condominium Living can be categorised into luxury condos and condos for middle income categories. Public housing for low–income groups is being carried out under the Urban Renewal Program of the Urban Development Authority (UDA).

I think it is pertinent to mention the accelerated program for the development of Middle Income Housing and infrastructure conceived by the Prime Minister for a new country in sixty months, introduced in the run-up to the General Election 2015.

The Prime Minister promised to launch a massive housing program to construct 500,000 housing apartments at a reasonable price for the middle class in urban and sub-urban areas.

Today, this commitment has become a reality as a public–private partnership effort under the direct intervention of the Minister of Housing and Construction.

The condominium property market depends on the developer’s track record and his achievements in the field of condominium development and/or the real estate industry. The location and quality of development plays a contributory role. Concessions granted to developers and prospective buyers are also tied up with demand factor.

The Government’s middle income housing program provides developers with State land at zero cost and provides infrastructure to the development site. These support services by the State have increased the demand for houses in the middle-income category of Government servants and employees of the private sector.

Q: Are you pleased with the observance of the common amenities and elements stipulated by the CMA for developers? If not, could you elaborate why?

A: The Common Amenities and Common Elements Certificate is issued by the CMA on satisfactory completion of all the requirements stipulated by the CMA. This certificate is a vital document necessary to register the condominium plan by the developer in order to transfer the ownership of the condominium units to purchasers.

An owner of an apartment will have the exclusive privilege of enjoying all the amenities and facilities provided in the common elements which include the green open space and walkways, car parking, security, the swimming pool, and the clubhouse.

Having a wide range of recreational and social amenities would require proper maintenance and management of those amenities and the follow up of guidelines to ensure that the rights of all residents are equally respected.

Provisions, therefore, have to be made for the enforcement of rights and obligations affecting the condowminium as a whole and the management of the common elements and for resolving disputes, in terms of the Apartment Ownership Law No. 11 of 1973 as amended by Act No. 39 of 2003 and the Common Amenities Board (Amendment) Act No. 24 of 2003.

Under the Act, the Management Corporation would be constituted as a legal entity and every owner of a residential and of a commercial units in a condominium would be a member of the Management Corporation.

The Management Corporation is responsible, among other things, to control, manage and administer the common elements and to maintain and keep in a state of good repair such common elements including external facade of the condominium.

Q: What is the procedure developers need to follow before commencing high rise building construction as prescribed by the CMA?

A: The procedure that has to be adapted by the developers are to obtained the preliminary planning clearance from the Urban Development Authority, Condominium Management Authority, Ceylon Electricity Board, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Municipal Fire Department, Civil Aviation Department, Preliminary Clearance from Parliament – If the proposed high rise development is within a radius of one km from parliament, Permit from Coast Conservation Department – If the development is within one km from the sea shore, Central Environment Authority and the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation.

Q: Who is responsible for illegal construction taking place in the country and what measures should be taken to stop such unlawful construction?

A:Those involved in the construction of an illegal structures are responsible for such construction and they will be requested to demolish such illegal construction with in a stipulated period of time.

In the event the request is not complied with the relevant local authority or the UDA would take action for demolished such illegal constructions, even in a Condominium Complex.

However, In term of the Condominium Management Authority Act, CMA has special power to remove unauthorized constructions of Condominium Properties.

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