Muscat: Resident associations must be formed in new-build apartment blocks before the housing ministry will sign off on the building, the department has announced.
In a move to cut down on complaints from new home owners about sanitation, poor build quality and lift breakdowns, the ministry wants every block to have a committee of owners.
That committee would liaise with the ministry before final approval is given to the developer.
In existing developments, the ministry has announced that owners will in future be unable to sell their homes unless they have a clearance certificate from the association stating that no outstanding fees are due.
Housing Minister Sheikh Saif bin Mohammed Al Shabibi had issued a circular banning the issuance or transfer of any property ownership until an owners association has been formed.
The circular states that selling apartments in new buildings will not be approved unless the owner of the building submits a document, which proves that an owners association has been formed by the new owners of the apartments and an approval is obtained from the ministry.
Saleem bin Hassan Al Balushi, assistant director general for Real Estate Development at the Ministry of Housing, said, the Ministry of Housing will coordinate with the Municipalities to stop issuing rent contracts unless an owners association has been formed in every building.
"In the first stage, the ministry will stop approving resale transactions for current apartments as they are already sold from the first owner," said Al Balushi. He added that in the second stage, the Ministry of Housing will coordinate with the municipalities to stop issuing rent contracts unless an owners association has been formed in every building.
"The circular aims to compel real-estate companies and individuals and owners of apartments to establish owners associations under the control of the ministry," said Al Balushi. He added that such a move will check the complaints reported by apartments' owners and tenants to allow the ministry to decide on issues according to the real-estate development procedures of the Sultanate.
"The Ministry of Housing received many complaints by owners and tenants on limited services, including maintenance, sanitation and technical problems in the elevators," said Al Balushi, adding that the ministry under such a situation and without the existence of the owners association cannot act.
Al Balushi also pointed out that the ministry is also coordinating with other concerned authorities to follow up on daily complaints received by the ministry and also to track the existence of the tenancy contract in such buildings. "The move will enable owners and tenants from losing their rights as such an association will enable the ministry to better control the situation," he stated.
In the future, no owner will be able to sell any property in such buildings, unless he or she provides the ministry with clearance from the owners association and proves that he has no financial dues pending, he concluded.