Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) - what is it?

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MCST, which stands for Management Corporation Strata Title , refers to the managing body of a condominium or any compound which has multiple owners and shared facilities. In Singapore, MCSTs are usually associated with private residential developments.

When a Management Corporation is contracted to manage an estate, it’s given a name: The Management Corporation — Strata Title Plan No. XXX, where “XXX” are running numbers to identify the managing bodies.

What’s the function of an MCST?

The need for a managing body arises from the nature of private housing in Singapore. Many Singaporeans set up homes in compounds such as condominiums where numerous owners share common facilities.

These compounds usually come with a swimming pool, shared common park, gymnasium, security and other amenities. Naturally, all such public facilities have to be managed, maintained and at times, improved on or expanded.

This is where the MCST comes in. Multiple property owners generally do not wish to constantly manage everything themselves, so they delegate tasks to a separate body, and this body is the MCST.

So what does an MCST exactly do?

It’s difficult to generalise what the job scope of the MCST precisely is. The duties tend to range from managing the day-to-day cleaning and fixing of the public facilities, the upholding of the general health of a compound (e.g. taking care of leakages, mould, pest), to managing its overall security. A good MCST could expand its duties to include community development or even property appreciation.

It is both in the quality of service and the breadth of tasks that an MCST can differentiate itself from its competitors. While some MCSTs may set out to do the bare minimum, others take initiative and fix problems before you even realise they were there to begin with. Naturally, most MCSTs fall somewhere between these two extremes.

In the long run, a good MCST may mean better living at lower management fees.

How is the MCST formed?

The MCST is usually formed when the developer submits the strata title plan of the development to the Chief Surveyor, and the strata title application to the Registrar of Titles of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

The developer will also have to open a bank account under the name of the MCST and deposit all the money collected for the maintenance fund and keep a proper record of it.

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Afterwards, the developer will have to hold the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) within 13 months of the MCST’s constitution. It’s during this meeting that the responsibilities of and control over the condo management is given to the property owners.

The owners will then collectively appoint a management council, which in turn hires a managing agent. The managing agent is the go-to person who takes care of all the day-to-day business, and functions as the liaison between the MCST, the management council, and by extension the property owners.  You can read more about it on page 10 of this guide.

A comprehensive list of all MCSTs

You can find the comprehensive list of all the MCSTs here. The list includes relevant information such as the condominiums information and contact details. Alternatively, you can search for the MCST information using the condo’s name through BCA’s MCST Enquiry.

How to find a new managing agent for the MCST?

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To start off, look for managing agents with accreditations from organisations such as the Association of Management Corporations in Singapore, the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers, and the Association of Property and Facility Managers. These organisations manage accreditation schemes to ensure the quality, services and standards of the managing agents.

Another way would be to go out there to survey the various condos and see them for yourself. In all likelihood, all MCSTs will tell you beforehand that they will be doing a superb job in managing your estate.

Yet, to be better informed, we recommend you to check out the various condos and see how the management corporations have been managing.

Here’s a checklist you may want to follow

  1. Make a shortlist of managing corporations that you deem good candidates.
  2. Look up which estates the managing firms are currently managing and add them to a separate list. You can save time by using this website.
  3. Visit the estates and make a detailed observation of the facilities and public spaces.
  4. Lastly — and this is crucial — talk to the residents and tenants. After all, it is the residents and tenants who see and experience the MCSTs work first-hand every day, and they are well-suited to sharing the pros and cons about whether their estate is properly managed or not.
  5. Additionally, you could attend the annual general meetings. While not the most exciting exercise you can think of, you will probably get to hear a lot about the MCST and get a good vibe of how the owners judge the MCST.

This article was first published in 99.co.