Emphasize the need to speed up labor
IF you live in Kuala Lumpur and have been forced to put up with your neighbor’s never-ending home renovation project that shows no signs of completion, well here’s some good news.
Starting this year, home owners have one year to complete their home renovations from the date of approval by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
DBKL Building Control Department Director Norizan Sulaiman said this was approved by the One Stop Center (OSC) committee headed by Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah.
“Now, once the house renovation plan is approved by DBKL, the plan is valid for one year.
“If the home owner does not start work within a year of getting approval and if they fail to complete the work within a year, they will need to renew the plan and reapply of approval,” Norizan said.
Also, she said the plan can only be renewed three times.
“If you are unable to complete the project by then, you will have to give a very good reason to convince the OSC committee why they should approve another renewal,” she said. added.
Approval processing fee is RM100 each time.
Previously, there was no validity period for homeowners to complete their renovations.
Because of this shortcoming, many homeowners would take months or even years to complete.
Norizan said the local authority had been considering the idea of imposing a deadline for several years, as there had been numerous complaints from homeowners delaying their renovation project at the expense of the peace of their neighbours.
“It didn’t seem fair that people had to put up with endless hacking and drilling and the dangers of their neighbor’s dust pollution,” she said.
She added that the number of nuisance complaints had increased.
StarMetro reported in February 2020 on DBKL’s plan to review the time frame for people to complete their renovation projects.
The then mayor, Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, said that the Uniform Building Regulations of 1984 did not set a deadline for the completion of renovations.
He added that it was important that a deadline be imposed to protect the rights of people, especially the immediate neighbors who would be most affected.
A meeting was held with all department heads to discuss the issue.
In the past, people affected by their neighbor’s renovations that became a public safety issue, a health hazard or a nuisance could take action under the Local Government Act.
They could file a complaint with DBKL and the local authority could compel the owner of the house to also repair the damage caused to the house of his neighbors by the renovation of the first.
Alternatively, affected residents could take civil action to stop the nuisance or even sue the local authority to compel them to take action.
Planning law expert Derek Fernandez said it was a welcome relief for all Kuala Lumpur residents who had to go through the mental anguish of endless renovations.
“It was well within the power of the mayor, under the provisions of the law, to propose new directives such as the time limit and the period of validity.
“The mayor has sole authority under the provisions of the law for DBKL to set a key period of validity for any construction plan approval,” he said, adding that the plan would no longer be valid if the works were not completed on time.
Angeline Lee, who lives at Taman United Garden in Jalan Kelang Lama, said her neighbor started renovating in 2017 but work was not yet complete.
“My family and I have to endure the constant drilling, hacking, dust and debris for so many years that it has affected our mental health,” she said.
Another affected resident, CS Tan of Taman Gembira hoped to find peace soon.
“It’s good news, but I hope DBKL will enforce the law with this new directive.
“Law or rules without enforcement are useless,” he added.