My society is 32 years old. Is it mandatory for the society to conduct a structural audit of the building every year?
Pratip Menon, Vikhroli
Structural audits are performed to know the strength and stability of a building. Bylaw 76 of 2014 provides that every society shall undertake a structural audit of its buildings as per its age. Any building between 15 and 30 years old is required to get the structural audit once every five years and any building above 30 years is required to get the audit done once every three years. Structural audit by societies within the limits of municipal corporations shall be conducted by engineers empaneled by the corporation. In the case of other societies structural audit shall be carried out by government-approved engineers/architects and maintain a record thereof. A copy of the said structural audit report is required to be submitted to the local municipal authority. Your society will have to comply with the recommendations given in the said audit report.
I am told that a society cannot charge more than Rs25,000 towards transfer charges per flat. But society is demanding Rs1 lakh towards ‘donation’ over and above the transfer charges. What is the remedy?
Vishwas Ghate, Thane
The Cooperation Department of the state government vide its order dated August 9, 2001, has specified the maximum premium that can be charged to the members along with the transfer fee. It provides that the rate of premium to be charged for the transfer of flat as well as rights and share in the capital and property of the cooperative society by a member in favour of another should be determined at the general meeting of the society. However, under no circumstance, the premium rates determined by the general meeting shall exceed Rs25,000 for the municipal corporation area. The rates are Rs20,000 for ‘A’ class municipality, Rs15,000 for ‘B’ class, Rs10,000 for ‘C’ class and Rs5,000 for village panchayat. In case the society has taken any additional sum from you, you may file a complaint with the cooperative court against the society to recover the amount so illegally collected.
What is the percentage of women required to be in the managing committee? What if no woman is willing to be on the committee?
Lokesh Rao, Mahalaxmi
Section 154B-21 of the Maharashtra Coop Societies’ Act provides that there shall be two seats reserved for women on the committee of each society, to represent women members. Any individual woman member of the society or any woman member of the committee of a member society, whether elected, co-opted or nominated, shall be eligible to contest election to such reserved seat. If the women in your society are not willing to be on the committee, or till such women are elected, nominated or co-opted by the society, such reserved seats shall not be counted for the strength of the managing committee for the composition of a quorum for conducting its meetings. However, it is advisable to have women on your managing committee to comply with the law.
(Dr Archana Sabnis is an expert on consumer laws who is practising at consumer disputes redressal fora at district, state and national levels since 2000. She is on the panel of conciliators of Maha RERA and is associated with the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.)