Splendour through multi-storey housing | Daily News

Splendour through multi-storey housing

It is said that he is not a full man who does not earn a piece of land!

As per the objectives of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’, a comfortable home for each family emerges as a concept of special significance. As one of the objectives of this framework, it provides affordable housing facilities from Government housing schemes to underserved communities and shanty dwellers scattered across many towns across the island. Hence there is little doubt that the vast majority of proposed Government-sponsored housing schemes in future will be condominium properties.

The prime objective thereof is to introduce a state policy of ‘multi-storey housing’ transcending housing policies of all post-independence Governments of the country. This multi-storey housing process or the creation of condominium properties which has already been initiated as a public–private partnership giving premium value to the land is indicative of the importance attached to condominium housing in the future.

CMA Chairman Sarana Karunarana
(Attorney-at-Law)
CMA General Manager
Dr. Indunil Liyanage

The developer of multi-story housing schemes being constructed or proposed to be constructed by the private sector is either a private property developer or an institution. Condominium housing schemes hitherto constructed or proposed to be constructed in Sri Lanka can be broadly categorized as luxury, semi luxury, middle class or low-income multi-storey housing schemes.

Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. Likewise, in the event of regulating multi-storey housing complexes as part of the new housing drive of the Government, Condominium Management Authority (CMA) Chairman Attorney-at-Law Sarana Karunaratna and General Manager Dr. Indunil Liyanage successfully have encouraged the local property developer and foreign investors in the process of condominium multi-storey housing schemes through articles in the Daily News under special descriptive categories.

Special contribution of the State

The proposed multi-storey housing schemes to be constructed under state sponsorship are to be built jointly by the Urban Development Authority (UDA), National Housing Development Authority (NHDA), the Urban Settlement Development Authority (USDA) and Local Government Authorities or individually by these institutions and some of these schemes are already in progress. The ability to buy a housing unit with an affordable long-term loan scheme improves living conditions with a better social standing and is assured for middle- and low-income earners.

By making available lands for construction industrialists for building multi-storey complexes within the income range of the middle class, local industrialists as well as local property developers will be able to make a direct contribution to the development process of the country thus enabling the circulation of money within the country. It also generates plenty of employment opportunities within the country and local property developers become direct partners of the country’s development drive.

Consequently, local revenue will improve and local investors will be immensely benefited. Further, foreign investors are accorded more opportunities to contribute to the development process of the country under the facilities made available by the Board of Investment (BOI).

Based on policies and concepts of the Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour policy framework, the Government constantly offers incentives to public sector institutions and local developers to undertake multi-storey housing projects. The Government also offers many concessions for housing projects constructed by private sector entrepreneurs and regulates the entire process.

Providing state-owned lands on long-term lease basis at reduced rates to entrepreneurs involved in the housing sector will serve as a boost for small-scale entrepreneurs and the resultant growth in their businesses will augment the country’s revenue status. As these housing schemes are constructed under the supervision of public sector institutions, construction work should be completed within the stipulated timeframe adhering strictly to set standards which in turn will minimize the expenditure of the property developer while enhancing the quality of the construction.

For multi-story housing schemes proposed by the Government, involvement of local property developers can be secured through agreements. Thus, the property developer will be relieved of the cumbersome process of finding land and buyers will have the opportunity of purchasing completed houses constructed in conformity with the approved building plan. The construction of a house with minimum defects and equipped with all the requirements will result in the developer of the relevant property being awarded more constructions and thereby the developer will become a more trustworthy and reliable entrepreneur.

The supervision exercised by public institutions over all housing schemes constructed by the developer ensures minimal shortcomings and the property developer will find it easy to dispose of units of housing schemes so constructed leading to their institutional as well as economic advancement.

CMA and services rendered

The Condominium Management Authority (CMA) is the sole regulatory body empowered to regulate common elements and common amenities of all multi-storey housing schemes in the country. The Common Amenities Board that was established by the Common Amenities Board Law No. 10 of 1973 for the regulation of common amenities and common elements of multi-storey housing schemes constructed by the United Front Government gradually evolved and was statutorily established as the Condominium Management Authority by Act No. 24 of 2003.

The Condominium Management Authority is the regulatory authority in respect of condominium properties. It is a semi-Government organization that causes the common elements and common amenities of condominium properties (housing schemes) to be controlled, managed and administered through lawfully established management corporations while regulating activities thereof and supervising the quality of ongoing constructions.

The services offered are as follow:

⬤ Issuing a preliminary planning clearance (PPC) letter for the approval of the building plan of the Condominium Property.

⬤ Supervising the construction of the condominium building to ensure conformity with the building plan and Condominium Plan.

⬤ Establishing Management Corporations to control, manage, maintain and administer common elements and common amenities of condominium or semi-condominium properties.

⬤ Ensuring that common amenities and common elements of condominium or semi-condominium management properties are maintained in good order and repairs are carried out in order to maintain such property in good and serviceable order and to assist Management Corporations (MCs) or owners or occupiers to carry out such activities or to be directly involved with such activities which may also include resolving disputes between various parties of the Condominium Property.

⬤ In cases where deeds of housing units have not been granted, initiating an inquiry and constituting legal action against the developer.

⬤Ensuring that all buildings comprising such condominium parcels are insured against the risk of fire, civil commotion and riot or insure or keep insured, if so requested by the Management Corporations or by the owners, making inquiries annually whether the insurance is kept valid and impressing upon the importance thereof.

⬤ Examining whether the common elements and common amenities of housing units are maintained in good and serviceable order.

⬤ Regulating services and maintenance relating to common amenities and common elements of housing schemes.

Common amenities

Common amenities include water supply system, sewerage system, waste water system, gas system, firefighting system, telephone system and storm water system.

Common elements

Common elements include staircases, roof, generator room, MC office, Club House, drivers’ room, security room, common toilets, toilets for the disabled, transformer room, garbage dump, gas bank, post boxes, electricity meters room, playground, day care centre, preschools, septic tanks, waste treatment plant, lifts and generators.

Making interventions when services are required for occupiers of units from Government or other agencies.

Making interventions to transfer the maintenance of common amenities of housing schemes where such amenities are controlled by an institution or to the Management Corporations of the housing scheme.

Factors to be considered in constructing a Condominium Property or selling a condominium housing unit by a property developer

⬤Quiet possession of the land.

⬤ A building plan of the proposed project drawn by an architect.

⬤Obtaining approval required for the proposed building plan from the Urban Development Authority or the relevant Local Government Authority.

⬤ Obtaining a preliminary planning clearance letter authorized by the General Manager of the Condominium Management Authority to the effect that the property has been planned to facilitate the management of common elements and common amenities of the Condominium Property in terms of Act No. 39 of 2003.

Having prepared the Provisional Condominium Plan, the property developer can obtain a Provisional Condominium Certificate at the preliminary stage itself which will enable the property developer to apply for a bank loan for the relevant project. The same facility will be made available to prospective buyers of housing units of that housing scheme. (The documents required to be presented by to the CMA for obtaining this certificate are given in the Gazette Extraordinary No.2026/25 issued on July 5, 2017).

A Semi-Condominium Certificate can be obtained for the completed section of a Condominium Property until the remaining sections are completed. The importance of obtaining this certificate is that it enables the granting of title deeds for the completed section of the Condominium Property. (The documents required to be presented to the CMA for obtaining this certificate are given in the Gazette Extraordinary No.2026/25 issued on July 5. 2017).

A Condominium Certificate should be obtained after completing the construction of the Condominium Property. (The documents required to be presented to the CMA for obtaining this certificate are given in the Gazette Extraordinary No.2026/25 issued on July 5, 2017). Thereafter the developer can register the final Condominium Plan at the respective Land Registry and grant deeds to prospective unit owners.

The reasons occasioning new trends in the construction of multi-storey housing schemes or Condominium Properties.

⬤ Population shift from rural to urban areas in search of new facilities and jobs.

⬤ Limited availability of lands in urban areas required for housing purposes.

⬤ Possibility of constructing a large number of houses in a relatively small area.

⬤Increasing the number of people employed in urban areas looking for houses in urban localities.

⬤ People looking for houses in urban areas with the objective of admitting their children to popular urban schools.

⬤ Busy lifestyle compels people to live in an environment where all amenities are available.

⬤ Preference of increasing number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka to stay in condominium housing units at more concessionary prices rather than staying in hotels.

⬤ People adapting to luxury living styles with the increase in their disposable income.

⬤Better protection offered by condominium living as compared to living in a separate house.

⬤Constructing a condominium building at a lower cost for children instead of constructing a separate house for each child.

⬤Vertical housing concept gaining more popularity over horizontal housing concept.

At present Condominium Properties are constructed under the vertical housing concept as well as the horizontal housing concept.

Condominium housing schemes by the public sector include:

⬤Luxury multi-storey housing schemes.

⬤ Semi-luxury middle-class housing schemes.

⬤Multi-storey housing schemes for low-income earners.

⬤Designing building plans, consideration of requirements for common elements and common amenities, preparing Condominium Plans and obtaining approval from the relevant Government institutions are carried out by the public sector institutions functioning as the property developers namely UDA, NHDA, USDA and Local Government Authorities.

Condominium housing schemes by the private sector include:

⬤Luxury multi-storey housing schemes.

⬤Semi-luxury middle class housing schemes.

⬤All aforementioned activities in respect of housing schemes constructed by the private sector have to be carried out by the developer of the relevant property and it is the responsibility of the developer to obtain the certificate for common amenities and common elements from the Condominium Management Authority and other relevant approvals from the respective public sector institutions.

Condominium housing schemes constructed through foreign investments

Such condominium housing projects are implemented through the Board of Investment and development of property is carried out either through a local property developer or a foreign property developer/institution. They are usually upscale housing schemes designed to appeal to affluent customers. Condominium Properties are also constructed as public–private partnerships and the expenditure is shared by partners in terms of contractual obligations.

⬤Legislations relating to Condominium Properties

⬤ Common Amenities Board Law No. 10 of 1973.

A law to provide for the establishment of a public authority known as the Common Amenities Board for the control, management, maintenance and administration of the common amenities and common elements of units of accommodation and for the provision of common amenities thereto, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

⬤ The Apartment Ownership Act No. 11 of 1973 was adopted conferring broader powers on the National Housing Commissioner for the control of multi-storey and apartment houses thus repealing the Condominium Property Law No.12 of 1970. It made a provision to the effect that it shall be lawful for the owners of all units of a registered Condominium Property to form themselves into associations or bodies.

⬤ The Apartment Ownership Act No.11 of 1973 was amended by the Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Act No. 45 of 1982. A host of new powers were added to the principal enactment through these amendments in respect of the role of the Management Corporations, funds of the Management Corporations, appointment of an administrator through the courts and insurance of properties.

⬤The Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Act No. 45 of 1982 was again amended through the passage of the Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Act No. 39 of 2003. Through the amendments thus introduced, provisions were made for the registration of a Condominium Property on three occasions as provisional Condominium Property, Semi-Condominium Property and full Condominium Property.

The following powers were conferred on the CMA by the Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Act No. 39 of 2003 and the Common Amenities Board (Amendment) Act No. 24 of 2003:

Condominium Management Authority Act:

⬤Registration of the relevant Condominium Plan and condominium declaration after the construction of the Condominium Property.

⬤Issuing a certificate for common elements of the property.

⬤Regulating all activities of the Management Corporation that is established subsequent to the registration.

⬤Resolving disputes that arise between various parties of the Condominium Property.

⬤Removal of unauthorized structures.

The Apartment Ownership (Special Provisions) Act No. 23 of 2018 which amended the Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Act No. 39 of 2003 facilitated the registration and disposition of certain condominium properties owned by the State or by a State agency.

Further, the Extraordinary Gazette No.2025/26 dated July 5, 2017 introduced regulations to the Apartment Ownership Law No.11 of 1973 and the Condominium Management Authority Law No. 10 of 1973.

The Apartment Ownership (Special Provisions) Act No. 04 of 1999 was enacted to facilitate the registration of certain condominium properties whereof management corporations could not be established as they could not be disposed due to being constructed in violation of the National Housing Development Authority Act.

Other services offered by Condominium Management Authority (CMA)

In addition to the regulation of common amenities and common elements of a Condominium Property through the Management Corporation comprising unit owners of the property, the CMA renders the following services:

⬤Conducting workshops for creating awareness among the owners of housing units of both the public and private sectors.

⬤ Providing advisory services for problems that arise in condominium properties of both the public and private sectors.

⬤ Conducting workshops for officers of public sector institutions who handle the issues arising in condominium properties of both the public and private sectors.

⬤ Offering advice, having negotiated with buyers and the property developer for resolving problems referred to the Authority due to the shortcomings on the part of the property developer in constructing a Condominium Property.

⬤Taking measures for minimizing problems that arise amongst condominium unit owners by offering advisory services.

The objective of the Government is to expand the condominium housing schemes in the country as a solution to the housing problem by encouraging local property developers and foreign investors.

The role of the Condominium Management Authority is to regulate the common elements and common amenities of such housing schemes and the CMA has launched a systematic programme under a five-year Corporate Plan to popularize the condominium concept amongst the people. The five-year plan has been designed to offer immediate solutions to practical issues that people may face consequent to the expansion of condominium properties to areas outside Colombo and also addressing the objectives stipulated in the Condominium Act.


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