One of the members on the ground floor has made structural changes to their flat by breaking the outer wall enabling his entry/exit through the common area of the society and also encroached upon a small area by putting a safety door. The society is not taking any action on my complaint. Please advise.
Arti Raisinghani, Worli
Members are required to obtain permission from the municipal authority before making any structural changes. On this basis the society can allow them to carry out changes as per approved plan. The common area of the society cannot be usurped for individual purposes. Moreover, carrying out structural changes without prior permission endangers the entire structure of the building and also puts the life and property of the residents at risk. The society should take immediate action and ask the member concerned to remove the encroachment. You may take up this issue at the general body meeting and if the member still does not listen, you can complain to the BMC.
The developer has appointed a facilities management company to handle the day-to-day affairs of our society as per the sale agreement and has taken society maintenance charges for two years in advance. The society is now formed and the members are unhappy with the company facilities. How can we change the service provider?
Mitesh Kumar Ghela, Goregaon
The developer is responsible for construction of flats and convey the property in favour of the society within three months of receiving occupation certificate as per MahaRERA Rules. He cannot collect society maintenance charges as it is the society’s prerogative. Members have to elect the managing committee of the society in the first place and ask the developer to hand over the un-utilised amounts with ledgers and invoices to the society along with other original documents. The details of amount collected and the expenses incurred by your developer on account of society maintenance till the date of the handover has to be submitted to the society and the balance has to be remitted to the society’s bank account at the time of handover. If the facilities management company is not performing, the managing committee should forthwith take charge of the management of its day-to-day affairs and ask the developer to terminate the agreement with the company.
My society gives a consolidated bill for service charges without any the details. Can you please help me with the details as to what charges are included in the service charges?
Micheal D’sa, Vashi
Society maintenance bills are required to include the heads specified in Byelaw 65 and service charge is one of the components that can be collected by the society towards outgoings. Byelaw 66 provides for the break-up of service charges a society can collect from its members. It includes: salaries of the office staff, liftmen, watchmen, maids, gardeners and other employees of the society; property taxes, electricity charges and water charges if the society has its independent office; expenses for printing, stationery and postage, travelling allowance and conveyance charges to the staff and the members of the committee of the society; entrance fee for affiliation to the housing federation; audit fees for internal, statutory and re-audit, if any; expenses incurred at the general body meetings, committee meetings and subcommittee meetings, if any; retainer fees, legal charges, statutory fees, common electricity charges and any other charges approved by the general body not in conflict with the MCS Act, or rules made thereunder.
The aforesaid byelaws provide for the various heads under which the charges can be levied but are silent on whether the bill should provide for the break-up of service charges. Your general body can decide the format of the bill and give directions to the managing committee in this regard.
The questions are answered by Sharmila Ranade, a legal expert associated with Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
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