IF you are living in Kuala Lumpur and have been forced to put up with your neighbour’s endless house renovation project that shows no signs of ever being completed, well here’s some good news.
Starting this year, house owners have one year to complete renovating their homes from the date of approval by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
DBKL Building Control Department director Norizan Sulaiman said this was approved by the One-Stop Centre (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 house owner does not start work within the one year of getting approval and if they fail to complete the work within the year, they will have to renew the plan and reapply for approval,” said Norizan.
Furthermore, she said the plan could be renewed three times only.
“If you are not able to complete the project by then, you will have to give a very good reason to convince the OSC committee on why they should approve another renewal,” she added.
The fee for processing the approval is RM100 each time.
Previously, there was no validity period for homeowners to complete their renovation works.
Due to this loophole, many homeowners would take months or even years to complete the work.
Norizan said the local authority had been mulling for several years now the idea of imposing a time frame, as there had been many complaints of house owners delaying their renovation project at the expense of their neighbours’ peace.
“It did not seem fair for people to have to put up with the endless hacking and drilling and the dangers of dust pollution from their next door neighbour,” she said.
She added that the number of complaints on the nuisance had been increasing.
StarMetro reported in February 2020 of DBKL’s plan to review the time frame for people to complete their renovation projects.
Then mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan had said that the Uniform Building By-Law 1984 did not provide a time frame for renovation works to be completed.
He added that it was important for a time frame to be imposed to protect the rights of people, especially next-door neighbours who would be the most affected.
A meeting was held with all department heads to address the matter.
In the past, those affected by their neighbour’s renovation that became a public safety issue, a health hazard or a nuisance, could take action under the Local Government Act.
They could lodge a complaint with DBKL and the local authority could compel the house owner to also repair the damage to their neighbours’ house caused by the former’s renovation.
Alternatively, affected residents could initiate a civil suit 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 to all Kuala Lumpur folk who had to go through mental anguish brought upon by endless renovation works.
“It was well within the power of the mayor under the provisions of the law to come up with new guidelines such as the time frame and validity period.
“The mayor has the sole power under the provisions of the law for DBKL to fix a validity key period for any building plan approval,” he said, adding that the plan would no longer be valid if the work was not completed on time.
Angeline Lee, who lives in Taman United Garden in Jalan Kelang Lama, said her neighbour started renovating in 2017 but the work had yet to be completed.
“My family and I have to put up with the constant drilling, hacking, the dust and debris for so many years that it affected our mental health,” she said.
Another affected resident, CS Tan of Taman Gembira hoped to find some peace soon.
“This is good news, but I hope DBKL will enforce the law with this new guideline.
“Law or rules without enforcement is useless,’’ he added.