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BANGKOK 26 April 2019 09:28
bayport22

Condo Committee Rules/Regulations

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20 minutes ago, KittenKong said:

I dont think so.

 

I didnt say that it was defensible, just that some JPMs have been known to do it. I have seen it happen and the JPM acted knowing full well that the Condo Act gives him that authority. That was confirmed to me by the Land Office.

 

Think about it a little: can the committee sack the JPM? No, it cant. Can it give him orders? No, it cant. At best it can request.

If some co-owners want to hold an EGM who do they have to approach? The JPM.

Who organises the AGM? The JPM.

Who files all the voting results with the Land Office? The JPM.

Who monitors the validity of voting and proxies? The JPM.

The Condo Act does not even prescribe a maximum term for the JPM. In theory, once selected, he could carry on forever unless 25% of the entire building votes to remove him. Changing a committee is much easier, and it happens automatically every two years anyway.

Some individual buildings may have internal rules that limit the term of office of the JPM to the same 2 years as the committee, and co-owners in any building that does have that rule should be very thankful. I personally think that it was a huge mistake not to include that in the Condo Act.

Your Condominium must be a complete basket case and should not have been allowed to get into that position.

1. Committee control everything

2. Committee appoint a property management company to carry out day to day management

3. Co-owners appoint a JPM (A company) on a set term

4. JPM carries out resolutions of the Committee

5. JPM keeps their nose out of day to day business which is nothing to do with them.

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2 hours ago, smutcakes said:

Your Condominium must be a complete basket case and should not have been allowed to get into that position.

I've seen several buildings in similar situations and the one I was particularly thinking of was not mine.

How or why it happens is neither here nor there. The point is that it does happen, often, and the Condo Act/Land Office does little or nothing to prevent it.

 

2 hours ago, smutcakes said:

1. Committee control everything

2. Committee appoint a property management company to carry out day to day management

3. Co-owners appoint a JPM (A company) on a set term

4. JPM carries out resolutions of the Committee

5. JPM keeps their nose out of day to day business which is nothing to do with them.

Yes, sounds like a nice story. It's a shame that reality is often very different.

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4 hours ago, KittenKong said:

Think about it a little: can the committee sack the JPM? No, it cant. Can it give him orders? No, it cant. At best it can request.

 If some co-owners want to hold an EGM who do they have to approach? The JPM.

 Who organises the AGM? The JPM.

 Who files all the voting results with the Land Office? The JPM.

 Who monitors the validity of voting and proxies? The JPM.

 The Condo Act does not even prescribe a maximum term for the JPM. In theory, once selected, he could carry on forever unless 25% of the entire building votes to remove him. Changing a committee is much easier, and it happens automatically every two years anyway.

 Some individual buildings may have internal rules that limit the term of office of the JPM to the same 2 years as the committee, and co-owners in any building that does have that rule should be very thankful. I personally think that it was a huge mistake not to include that in the Condo Act.

I get your point, but you are technically wrong on several of these items:

 

The JPM arranges the *first* ordinary meeting, but after that, it is the committee that does this (section 42/1).

 

If co-owners want to hold an EGM, they submit a signed letter to the committee (not the JPM), and if the committee fails to hold the EGM within 15 days, the co-owners are allowed to arrange this for themselves (section 42/2).

 

Monitoring and validating proxies/voting: I do not see where it says that this task must be performed by the JPM. And while the JPM has to sign the papers to be filed at the Land Office (together with the chairman!), co-owners can go to the Land Office to see what got filed and make a complaint if this does not represent what actually happened at the AGM.

 

You are correct that JPM is not term-limited by default, but the Condo Act does state that the JPM resigns once the period defined in their employment agreement comes to an end (section 35/3), so it is straightforward to elect a JPM for two years (i.e. does not require changes to bylaws). Furthermore, JPM can also be terminated if they violate the Condo Act, for example failure to prepare monthly profit and loss statement.

 

That the committee is unable to fire a JPM that does not violate the Condo Act nor their employment agreement makes sense to me; the committee should get permission from the co-owners to make such a change.

 

As for the ability for the committee to give orders to the JPM: If the JPM’s employment agreement states that he should take orders from the committee, then yes, they can give orders, and the JPM can be terminated for not following them.

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2 hours ago, KittenKong said:

The point is that it does happen, often, and the Condo Act/Land Office does little or nothing to prevent it.

The Land Office will just check that the documents you file with them comply with the law, it is not their job to police individual buildings.

 

As for the Condo Act doing little; you wouldn’t know before you have actually tried to sue someone for violating it.

 

The problem with at least some dysfunctional buildings I have heard about is that people seem to be either uninterested in how the building is being run, or as amoral as those in power, so you just have different groups of people fighting for access to abuse power, rather than have a group of co-owners who actually care about running the building properly and without corruption.

 

When I bought my condo, our sinking fund had been drained, our finances was a mess (like no record of payments receivable), the committee was abusing their power (e.g. spending money on projects that they benefited from, which had not been approved by the AGM), meeting minutes were not made public, and our JPM was overpaid and incompetent.

 

It took effort, but today I have nothing to criticize about the way our building is being run, and in my struggle, the Condo Act was of great value, because it is a lot easier when you have the law on your side and can point to specific clauses, rather than just a question of personal opinion about how things should be done.

 

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43 minutes ago, lkn said:

I get your point, but you are technically wrong on several of these items:

 

The JPM arranges the *first* ordinary meeting, but after that, it is the committee that does this (section 42/1).

 

If co-owners want to hold an EGM, they submit a signed letter to the committee (not the JPM), and if the committee fails to hold the EGM within 15 days, the co-owners are allowed to arrange this for themselves (section 42/2). 

 

Monitoring and validating proxies/voting: I do not see where it says that this task must be performed by the JPM. And while the JPM has to sign the papers to be filed at the Land Office (together with the chairman!), co-owners can go to the Land Office to see what got filed and make a complaint if this does not represent what actually happened at the AGM.

I wonder quite how that would work in a building where there are 1000 units and no one apart from the JPM/management knows the names or addresses of the owners? How would the committee go about calling an EGM, even assuming that they actually wanted to call one? And how would co-owners do it on their own without the support of the committee and the JPM/management?

I've seen many committee members who would not even know where to start and who would rather resign than make that sort of effort. I dont think that I would want to do it either. Just the task of manually addressing 1000 envelopes and sending them out by registered mail would be daunting enough.

Certainly I have never come across a building with a committee that arranges general meetings itself. Maybe it would be practical in a tiny building where everyone knows each other.

 

As for monitoring the votes and proxies, who else in a large building could do it if the JPM/management dont? The information simply would not be available to them.

 

Your comments all sound great in principle but real life can be very different and, as I have been trying to point out, in the end it all goes back to the JPM, especially if - as is the case in many buildings - the JPM is connected with the building management.

 

As for complaining to the Land Office, it seems that in some areas such complaints dont always go very far.

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39 minutes ago, lkn said:

When I bought my condo, our sinking fund had been drained, our finances was a mess (like no record of payments receivable), the committee was abusing their power (e.g. spending money on projects that they benefited from, which had not been approved by the AGM), meeting minutes were not made public, and our JPM was overpaid and incompetent.

I'm glad to hear that you were able to improve your building, but for me this is just more confirmation that many buildings here are indeed extremely corrupt and badly run, contrary to what some people think.
Clearly the effort you put in was a major factor in the improvements, but I still think that luck/karma also counts for a lot.

Edited by KittenKong

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12 minutes ago, KittenKong said:

I've seen many committee members who would not even know where to start and who would rather resign than make that sort of effort

And that is probably why JPM/management can abuse their role: The committee members are incompetent idiots!

 

Committee should ensure that they are not dependent on the JPM/management company, that means ensure they have control of finances and that they also have all relevant data, such as the database of co-owners (which could just be a simple Google spreadsheet, even with a building that has a thousand co-owners).

 

And if you have an envelope printer, mailing out a thousand invitations is not that big of a deal. Around here, you could probably even get a shop to do it for you, if no-one in the committee knows how to do mail merge.

 

I mean, seriously, if you see abuse of power to the degree where you think an EGM is needed, but you can’t be bothered to find out how to send out invitations, then I guess the abuse of power is really not that bad…

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1 hour ago, lkn said:

As for the ability for the committee to give orders to the JPM: If the JPM’s employment agreement states that he should take orders from the committee, then yes, they can give orders, and the JPM can be terminated for not following them.

Again, that sounds great on paper but in practice it simply could never work. Who knows what the JPM's employment contract says? It's all written in Thai and in many buildings will have been written by people who work for the JPM. How could co-owners even see the contract if management didnt want them to? And what good would it do them if they did see it?

As for terminating the JPM, this can only be done by a 20% vote of all co-owners, and has to be done at a GM. And the only practical way to arrange a GM is through the JPM as mentioned above. And if the JPM manages to manipulate/miscount even a fairly small number of votes then he could easily avoid getting fired.

 

I've been present at annual meetings where the JPM has produced a report that says one thing in Thai and something completely different in English. And I've watched JPMs take careful notes of instructions given by committee members and then equally carefully forget to put them in the minutes of the meeting. When asked about it later they just say that it never happened. Good luck trying to prove otherwise.

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I will stop arguing about this, as you can come with all the anecdotes you want about dishonest and corrupt people doing all sorts of shenanigans and committee members who are too incompetent to arrange their own AGM and have signed over all control to the JPM, including hiring him with a secret employment agreement written in Thai that no-one has seen.

 

That doesn’t change a single thing about my original argument that this is *not* a situation that the Thai Condo Act prescribes, and effective use of the Condo Act can remedy this, as JPMs are not entitled to do whatever they want.

 

And I say this as someone who has first hand experience serving as both JPM, treasurer, chairman, and have instated proper procedures in my current building.

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3 minutes ago, lkn said:

And that is probably why JPM/management can abuse their role: The committee members are incompetent idiots! 

 

Committee should ensure that they are not dependent on the JPM/management company, that means ensure they have control of finances and that they also have all relevant data, such as the database of co-owners (which could just be a simple Google spreadsheet, even with a building that has a thousand co-owners).

 

And if you have an envelope printer, mailing out a thousand invitations is not that big of a deal. Around here, you could probably even get a shop to do it for you, if no-one in the committee knows how to do mail merge.

 

I mean, seriously, if you see abuse of power to the degree where you think an EGM is needed, but you can’t be bothered to find out how to send out invitations, then I guess the abuse of power is really not that bad…

Everyone knows what should be done, but in real life it often just isnt practical.

For example, I have an extensive knowledge of computers and software, thanks to my former job, but that would not help me at all if a basic list of names and addresses simply was not available to me as a digital record. As a written list it would be worse than useless as at least half of it would be in Thai script. And even if someone did take the time to type out those labels individually, would they also want pay for 1000+ registered letters to be posted out of their own pocket? I doubt it.

 

But as you mention, the core of such problems is that most committee members are indeed complete idiots and would not even be able to get that far. I've seen that in several buildings here. Not much I can do about it though.

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2 minutes ago, KittenKong said:

And even if someone did take the time to type out those labels individually, would they also want pay for 1000+ registered letters to be posted out of their own pocket?

There is actually no requirement that AGM/EGM invitations be sent by registered mail.

 

But even if there was, that doesn’t change the fact that the Condo Act does *not* make the JPM responsible for arranging the AGM nor the EGM.

 

In this thread, you have made claims about the Condo Act but when challenged you seem to revert to “but in practice, this is how it works”, yet the discussion we have is about the Condo Act, and your practice is different than mine, because I do arrange for the AGM (as chairman), I do have a list of all our co-owners and their contact information, I do not let our JPM control our bank accounts, I wrote the employment agreement for our staff, and I wrote it in English (but am able to read Thai), etc.

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The reality is in LOS if you allow the Thai JPM to run the show and oversee the bank accounts without close committee oversight, you are in for a hard and expensive lesson. I am in the camp, the JPM should play a passive role under the strict direction of a strong falang committee. Basically, the JPM just signs debt free letters, contracts, registers meeting minutes, etc when instructed by the committee. 

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5 hours ago, lkn said:

There is actually no requirement that AGM/EGM invitations be sent by registered mail.

 

But even if there was, that doesn’t change the fact that the Condo Act does *not* make the JPM responsible for arranging the AGM nor the EGM.

 

In this thread, you have made claims about the Condo Act but when challenged you seem to revert to “but in practice, this is how it works”, yet the discussion we have is about the Condo Act, and your practice is different than mine, because I do arrange for the AGM (as chairman), I do have a list of all our co-owners and their contact information, I do not let our JPM control our bank accounts, I wrote the employment agreement for our staff, and I wrote it in English (but am able to read Thai), etc.

The Land Office in Phuket requires proof condo owners were duly notified of an AGM and EGM and they require registered mail receipts. Since our manager sends such to the condo address even though the vast majority of owners resides overseas, it's really just a waste of time and money. Owners are also sent the same info by email, but since our management hides email addresses, you don't know if all owners were notified. We have learned that a lack transparency almost always results in expensive lessons. 

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8 hours ago, lkn said:

In this thread, you have made claims about the Condo Act but when challenged you seem to revert to “but in practice, this is how it works”, yet the discussion we have is about the Condo Act, and your practice is different than mine, because I do arrange for the AGM (as chairman), I do have a list of all our co-owners and their contact information, I do not let our JPM control our bank accounts, I wrote the employment agreement for our staff, and I wrote it in English (but am able to read Thai), etc.

I think you are acting beyond your position as a committee member. What you are doing is the job of the JPM (and it is a real job), and if you dont have a work permit for it then you are in breach of labour laws. Of course it may be that you do have a work permit and you are also a JPM, in which case that would be fine as you would just be doing your job as JPM. But it would not be fine if, for example, you are on a retirement extension and are just a regular committee member (or chairman).

 

If you look at the responsibilities of the committee in the Condo Act, you will see that such activities as you describe are not listed.

 

If you dont have a WP I hope for your sake that no one complains about it. I know some farangs who have had serious problems arising from exactly the same situation. Payments in the hundreds of thousands of Baht were made to prevent them being deported.

 

As for showing why I believe as I do about the power of the JPM, I have quoted the relevant section of the Condo Act. It seems very clear to me.

 

As for contracts in English, the last I heard they have to be in Thai to be enforceable. This makes sense to me as we are, after all, in Thailand.

Edited by KittenKong

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8 hours ago, lkn said:

There is actually no requirement that AGM/EGM invitations be sent by registered mail.

I think you are wrong. It is not specified in the Condo Act but it is a requirement of all such business. As far as I know it is the only way to prove that the communication was sent with the correct amount of notice.

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