MPSJ regulates student accommodation








Property owners who convert houses or shophouses into student dormitories will have to acquire consent from seven parties before getting approval from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ).

Under the new MPSJ’s guidelines, a proposed building conversion must be agreed to by neighbours, fire department, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and health, building, town planning and licensing departments of MPSJ.

This is to control excessive property conversions in the vicinity of private colleges such as SS15, PJS 7 and PJS9, said MPSJ officials at a dialogue session on Monday.

The dialogue was attended by Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, MPSJ councillors Edward Ling, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Looi Kheng Min and other MPSJ officials.

The council’s building department head Azmi Mohd Rosli said property owners are deemed to be violating Town and Country Planning Act (Act 172) if they renovate internal or external part of a house without approval from the local council.

Although it is not stated clearly in the guidelines, Azmi defined “student dormitory” as a house which occupants are not family members of the owner, and the rooms of which are rented out to students.

He added that a double-storey terrace house that has four rooms is allowed to house a maximum of 10 students.

The minimum space of a room, according to the guideline, is 6.5 x 2 square meters, and has minimum height of 2.74 meters.

The guideline, which was approved in February at a full-board meeting of the MPSJ, is hoped to simplify the application for conversions to dormitories as well as to ensure well-being of the student occupants.

There will be a grace period from June 15 to August for property owners to comply with the new guidelines.

About 320 summonses were issued in 2010 to property owners who had illegally converted their buildings to dormitories.

National House Buyers Association secretary-general, Chang Kim Loong, was reported as saying education institutions should provide enough accommodation for students.

Taylor’s University College marketing department assistant manager, Shirley Thiang, responding to a query from Komunitikini, said the university would build another 3,000 places of accommodation for its students next year.

“Currently we have 1,300 beds ranging from on-campus accommodation to off-campus condominium units, but we do not own any houses or shophouses,” she said in a phone interview.

She said Taylor’s, like other public universities, could not afford to build accommodation for the entire student population.

She believes the influx of students in a neighbourhood can bring positive impacts to the area as well.

“For instance, in Wangsa Maju, traders are having brisk business and local transportation has been improved, all thanks to the student crowd from Tunku Abdul Rahman College,” she noted.