MOST condominiums comprise a few hundred residential units located in one or more apartment blocks that are enclosed by a perimeter fence or wall to prevent the entry of people or vehicles except at gates manned by security guards round the clock.
Condominiums are run by management committees that are elected from among apartment owners and they could range from three to 14 members. A managing agent is appointed to handle daily matters, such as receiving payments for maintenance and sinking fund.
Condominium residents are either apartment owners or family members, or tenants and other people staying with them. Most residents could recognise one another, particularly those in the same block, as they often see each other when using the lifts.
Unaccompanied strangers are viewed with suspicion and so are contract workers, as some may be burglars in disguise. Ladies of the night when dressed to the hilt while leaving for work are frowned upon by those with families. At other times, their body language is a dead giveaway.
Most tenants and visitors try to be discreet, hoping to blend in with the residents. But homestay guests treat the condominium like a hotel. They expect to make full use of all the facilities available and wish to get maximum value from what they have paid to homestay operators.
One such incident happened at a condominium in Ipoh last December. A homestay guest was angry that his child was prevented from using the swimming pool which was closed. Tragically, the 33-year-old guest assaulted a 64-year-old security guard who later died of injuries sustained.
By right, entrepreneurs must first obtain permission from management committees before they are allowed to operate homestays in apartments. This should be easier where condominiums were built at tourist belts and many owners are using their apartments for homestay business.
But most condominiums are not suitable for tourists on overnight or short term stay, and there had been many reports of police raiding drug-fuelled parties held inside luxury apartments throughout the country.
When large number of outsiders can enter and leave a condominium freely just like a hotel, the security is easily compromised and some visitors are a bad influence, especially to children. Many people chose to live in condominiums so that their children can live and play in safety.
If not regulated, homestays are virtually unlicensed hotels but need not be banned. It is up to management committees to set conditions and forfeit deposits for any violation of the terms of agreement. If this is too much of a bother, entrepreneurs could operate homestays at bungalows.
Or they could opt for serviced apartment that were built to cater to business travellers and tourists offering comfort like a hotel and are mostly located in busy commercial hubs. But certainly not in condominiums meant for residents to live in peace, privacy and tranquillity. – Sept 10, 2021
YS Chan is Asean Tourism Master Trainer for travel agencies, master trainer for Travel & Tours Enhancement Course and Mesra Malaysia (both programmes under Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture). He is also a tourism and transport industry consultant and writer.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.