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The need for Condos to control Foreign students

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The need for Condos to control Foreign students

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:04 pm

Extracted from the old forum, posted by Kimmo88: http://sierraresidency.forumup.com/viewtopic.php?p=3575&mforum=sierraresidency#3575

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/466046

Condos control foreign student tenants
Posted on 17 August 2012 - 10:02am
By Chee Su-Lin
Su-lin@thesundaily.com

The issue of foreigners "infiltrating" condos and neighbourhoods recently came to a high point when officers from the Immigration Department and Home Ministry raided apartments in Puchong, instigating some Africans to escape through the roof.

In Kota Damansara, meanwhile, owners in a high-density condo recently came together to ban foreign student tenants. "Owners shall not rent their property unit to any foreigner, particularly students, with immediate effect," said a notice circulated to owners as well as estate agents a couple of months back. The joint management body (JMB) issued specially colour coded access cards to foreigners and students too.

As with the raids on the Puchong apartments, these actions were the results of several complaints from fellow residents.

"At the JMB level, we received many complaints against foreign students," explains a committee member for the Kota Damansara condo. "We couldn't make the decision ourselves, so we put it to the floor. One owner here who had such tenants objected. But the rest told her that she didn't live here and didn't know the issues we went through."

Foreign students in the condo are often accused of making loud noises at night, fighting, damaging common property, and having general disrespect for authority (as represented by the guards and management).

"By 10pm, these foreign students group together and hang around outside the mini market drinking beer," says the committee chairman who declines to be named.

"One of them even tried extorting money from an owner," exclaims the first committee member. "Luckily the victim managed to walk away."
Foreign students committing crimes, including those involving drugs, have also been reported to the management. The recent murder of estate agent Tang Yong Ching, for which two Pakistanis holding student visas were detained by the police, was in fact linked to this condominium.

"This is good news," says Debbie who owns a unit here. "There have been quite a few break-ins, and as a single female who just comes back from work and goes to work, that's at least one thing that we don't have to worry about. The guards are good, but security internally is otherwise not contained."
Message boards are also ringing with approval, purportedly by unit owners, over this ban.

Neighbour's headache, investor's darling
An upmarket condo in Tropicana also screens foreign tenants as part of its procedures. "We ask the agents to provide a copy of their passports after they sign the tenancy agreement," says the condo manager. "We then call their respective embassies to find out if this person is genuine, and what visa he or she is on. If it's a student, we ask for a copy of the person's student card."

Besides students from African nations, he is, for example, vigilant about Iranian nationals who have been linked to incidents of drug crime in this country.

Questioned on how students can even afford these apartments (monthly rentals average at RM2,300), the manager responds that several have scholarships with generous accommodation allowances. Mentioning a few African countries, he says they may range from RM2,000 to RM7,000 per month.

Foreign students offer higher rentals and pay up to six months in advance, concurs the Kota Damansara condo's JMB chairman. "That's why a few agents stubbornly continue renting to foreigners. They think they can bring in more money."
The sources for their income are looked upon skeptically by this condo's committee members, however, as well as their true occupations. "They're sleeping in the whole day and doing other things at night," adds a committee member. "Which college is going to stay open at night? They're also prepared to pay cash six months ahead. Which students can afford that kind of money? Some of them look old enough to be working."

"If they're genuine students, how can they afford to have a car?" queries the chairman. "They're not cheap cars either, like Hondas or even a Mercedes."

Is it legal?
In the process of researching this article, several users on internet forums have come forward to say that their condos, or condos they have heard of in Puchong, are implementing similar bans.

"We don't have discrimination laws, and if it is enforced through by-laws which are passed through a proper AGM or EGM, nothing says it cannot be done," says property lawyer Khairul Anuar. "There are provisions to repeal it through the Strata Titles Board or the Commissioner of Buildings, however, and if someone really wants to make a stand, it can be done through the courts in Malaysia."

Even though this ban has entered into the Kota Damansara condo's house rules, its chairman admits that the management cannot truly force owners to stop renting out to foreign students. Besides issuing circulars, and frustrating misbehaving tenants with extra checks, observation of the ban has to ultimately be voluntary.

In fact, a walk around the condo's compound reveals several foreigners still living here. "The situation has improved slightly however," says the chairman with hope. "And I can see the numbers reducing."

In the meantime, the chairman has received phone calls from at least one embassy, complaining of the condo's policy being racist. "The embassy called me and asked us, 'Why are you doing this to us?'"

It would be difficult, indeed, to avoid such bans being called discriminatory. The manager of the Tropicana condo, for example, believes that, no matter how convenient it may be to specifically ban foreign students, such a policy would be too hasty.

After all, the student he managed to catch breaking into a neighbour's apartment red-handed turned out not to be a foreigner but, in fact, a local student studying at a nearby college.

"Perhaps screening is a better idea," agrees condo resident Tang Li Ping. "But it doesn't have to be done by just the management company or committee. Malaysians should get out of their tempurung and speak to their neighbours more. That way, we'll know the good as well as the bad. After all, isn't that what communal living is all about?"
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