Before installing a security feature in your neighbourhood, it is imperative to understand the main differences between a gated community and a guarded neighbourhood.
Crime incidents, such as snatch thefts and break-ins, have recently increased customer expectations for properties within a gated/guarded community. While new developments typically provide residents with safety assurance features, older properties lacking these features have taken steps to provide their residents with some assurance of safety.
What Exactly is a Gated and Guarded Community?
A gated and guarded community, also known as a gated community housing scheme, is a community of houses or buildings whose services and amenities, including structure (roads, drains, etc.), are independently run and owned.
Gated and guarded communities are in high demand in Malaysia. In terms of safety and security, the concept of a gated residence with security guards gives convenience and assurance. It is common for premises to be surrounded by perimeter walls or fences, and to have security guards or boom gates controlling access to the premises. Other security measures may include guard patrols, central monitoring systems, and closed-circuit television (CCTV).
Although some residential areas are not gated and guarded, residents have taken steps to restrict general access by setting up guard posts in the hope of preventing and controlling crime in the area. The boundaries of the housing estate are usually surrounded by some kind of physical barrier, and residents hire private security to provide security services. This practice involves a private effort to limit or regulate public spaces by putting up barriers to public needs, guardhouses, and so on.
What is the Difference Between a Gated and a Guarded Community?
According to the Strata Titles Act of 1985, a gated community is an official implementation of security functions. The owner of a stratified property is also the joint owner of all common facilities provided in the development, including security functions, according to strata title law.
Simply put, strata law states that all amenities and landscaping within the development are private property. If you own a strata title property, whether it’s a terrace house, bungalows, or condominium, you’re also a co-owner who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all basic amenities within the residential compound.
The law gives no authority to a guarded community. This community is made up of individual land titles for residential properties and is not governed by the Strata Title Act of 1985. Regardless, independent property owners can choose to form a similar structure known as a guarded community.
This type of guarded community typically offers security services and cannot have any permanent fixtures. As a result, guard posts and boom gates in guarded communities are typically temporary structures that can be removed as needed. Aside from that, the guarded community may not impose any access restrictions on residents or the general public.
Definition of Guarded Neighbourhood
In general, the term guarded neighbourhood refers to a guarded housing area as a whole or as part of an existing or new housing scheme, owned by an individual land title. Security control services are provided by guarded neighbourhood schemes, either with or without a security house. From a legal standpoint, it cannot have physical barriers on public roads, nor can it impose any blocked entrance-exit for residents and the general public.
The existence of a guarded neighbourhood is not supported by any laws or regulations. It only exists on an ad hoc basis, based on residents in a neighbourhood agreeing to make their neighbourhood a guarded area.
This is in accordance with Section 46(1)(a) and (b) of the Street, Drainage, and Building Act 1974, which states:
“(1) Any individual who—
(a) constructs, erects, installs, or maintains, or permits the construction, erection, installation, or maintenance of any wall, fence, rail, post, or buildup of any substance, or other interruption in any public place;
(b) covers over or hinders any open drain* or water source along the side of any street without the prior written permission of the local authority…”
Two Distinct Types of Gated & Guarded Communities (G & G)
Strata titles are development schemes that divide land into parcels, with the common property and accessory parcels managed by the joint management board (JMB) or management committee (MC). The Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA) and the Strata Title Act 1985 govern these developments (STA).
The STA was modified to enable landed parcels (such as terraced and semi-detached houses) to be governed by the SMA, which is legally binding.
Our STA is modelled after the Australian New South Wales Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act 1961 and the Singapore Land Titles (Strata) Act 1967.
Non-strata titles (i.e. issued with individual titles) are developments with a guard post at the entry, exit points and possibly fencing surrounding the neighbourhood. This is subject to approval by local authorities where conditions must be met.
The STA does not apply to residential properties held under private land titles. As a result, they are not authorized by law to establish gated and guarded communities. Despite this, a secured neighborhood is an example of a similar approach. A guarded neighborhood scheme is a neighborhood that has security services. It may not erect physical barriers on public roadways and may not impose any access and exit restrictions on residents or the general public. Section 46(1)(a) and (b) of the Street, Drainage, and Building Act of 1974 state that:
“(1) Any individual who—
(a) constructs, erects, installs, or maintains, or permits the construction, erection, installation, or maintenance of any wall, fence, rail, post, or aggregation of any material, or other impediment in any public space;
(b) covers up or hinders any open drain* or waterway along the side of any roadway without the previous written authorization of the local authority…”
In contrast to a gated community consisting of stratified property, communities consisting of properties with individual titles are not free to limit the entry of any people into the said neighbourhood in the absence of any special statute providing for a gated residential area.
Which is Better? Gated or Guarded Community?
In general, a gated community is preferable to a guarded community. Residents benefit from an additional layer of security that is mandated by law. Furthermore, the Strata Management Act empowers the Joint Management Body to collect management fees, which aids in maintaining security.
A guarded community that does not have DMC is not governed by law. This also means that the protective measures can be eliminated at any time if they are deemed to be impeding public access.
What are the Benefits of a Gated and Guarded Community?
Stratified gated communities are becoming increasingly popular in the Klang Valley. Many brand-new landed developments with gated security are being introduced in Bukit Jalil. You should not make any purchase decisions as buyers until you understand the benefits and drawbacks of a stratified gated community.
Here are 5 Major Advantages of a Gated & Guarded Community:
Enhanced privacy and security
As it goes without saying, gated communities provide privacy and security. In a high-crime area, having an extra layer of security can provide added peace of mind, knowing that you and your family are well protected.
With the guardhouse in place and restricted access to the gated community, the housing area should see less traffic. As a result of reduced congestion and noise, residents can sleep well at night.
Developers understand the significance of building a community that is more than just a place to live, but also a sanctuary where one can live a well-rounded lifestyle. Nowadays, most gated communities have a kids’ zone or swimming pool, as well as small parks and playgrounds. In some cases, there is even a commercial center with mini-groceries, laundry, eateries, and other businesses.
Increased property value
If you buy a home with the aim of selling it later for investment purposes, you will have an easier time finding a buyer, especially if you choose a gated community with a reputable builder. Furthermore, when a gated community is conveniently located in a development zone, the value perception of the home rises, allowing you to sell it for a substantial profit.
Sense of belonging
You tend to run into the same people on a daily basis. As a result, it’s difficult not to establish some way of interaction with them. This is especially true if you relocate into a gated community designed for a specific social group, such as young couples, new parents, or foreign retirees. When you find common ground with your neighbour, you are more likely to develop a bond with them.
Disadvantages of Gated and Guarded Communities
Is it worthwhile to live in a gated community? Although living in a gated community can be beneficial for many people, others are enticed by the dream only to discover that the reality is a letdown. That is why, if you are considering moving to a secured or gated neighbourhood, you must consider both the advantages and disadvantages.
Here are 5 drawbacks of living in a gated community:
When compared to non-gated equivalents, purchase and rental prices for residences within gated communities are significantly higher. HOA (house owner association) fees can also be quite high because you are paying extra for gate maintenance and general security.
The majority of gated communities are built in remote areas with few facilities nearby. Because there isn’t much public transportation nearby, you’ll most likely need to drive some distance to enjoy the points of interest of downtown areas, such as restaurants, stores, parks, sporting events, concerts, and arts events.
This also implies that even mundane tasks such as a trip to the store or driving your children to school can be exhausting. Medical, dental, and educational facilities in the area may also be limited. If there are facilities nearby that cater specifically to your private community, they are likely to be more expensive than comparable facilities elsewhere if the majority of their traffic comes from nearby.
It may appear attractive to have gates and guards to restrict access because they may deter unwanted visitors. However, having to pass through those gates every day can be frustrating. Depending on how often you enter and leave, you may have to wait in line just to get in or out.
Service restrictions and fees
Many gated communities restrict the hours that contractors can come to residents’ homes to work. As a result, projects that would take a week in a regular home may take much longer in a gated community. This could definitely be a drawback where residents are forced to wait longer for things to be completed.
Because interaction with life in the vicinity is limited, gated communities tend to function like islands. Of course, this is part of the point, but it can lead to feelings of isolation. Some gated communities have a real sense of belonging that can more than offset any negatives, but this cannot be relied on.
Are there any Fees Charged to Residents of Gated and Guarded Communities?
Residents must pay maintenance fees and sinking funds for GCs under strata. The fees charged to Gated Communities are determined by the size of the land parcel. Residents who live in a larger size land parcel are charged more than those who live in a smaller size land parcel. These fees are required by the Strata Title for the upkeep of the Gated Community’s common facilities.
While there are now regulations and oversight in place for developers and residents’ organisations to gather and sustain gated/guarded communities, it is still largely unregulated, particularly for guarded communities. The comfort and perks of a gated community are largely personal for buyers and investors alike, and should be chosen based on personal priorities.
In Malaysia, the development of gated and guarded community systems appears to be a feature of the housing industry. Most of these schemes will undoubtedly be of the high-cost residential variety, which will be appealing to developers due to higher returns and increased market demand.
All buyers of houses in a gated and guarded community will have to pay significantly higher maintenance, sinking fund, security fees, electricity and water, and other services because the cost of all facilities within the gated and guarded community will have to be taken into account by them in addition to the regular quit rent and assessment rates imposed by the authorities.