Mumbai Housing Society Queries: 'Pets Are Considered A Part Of The Family,' Says Expert

Mumbai Housing Society Queries: 'Pets Are Considered A Part Of The Family,' Says Expert

The questions are answered by Sharmila Ranade, a legal expert associated with Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 08:43 AM IST
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Mumbai Housing Society Queries: 'Pets Are Considered A Part Of The Family,' Says Expert | Pexels

What are the legal right and responsibilities of pet owners and the management and bye laws of residential associations in gated communities regarding defecating in basement areas?

Sangeetha G, Mumbai

Section 3(11) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, states that it is illegal for housing societies to pass a resolution disallowing pets. Pet owners shall assist the society to draft its pet policy in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Animal Welfare Board.

Your society can identify areas for pets to stroll, play, eat and defecate, etc. There shall also be a provision to feed stray animals in the premises. Pet areas should be away from the children’s play area and from senior citizen zones.

Pet owners should keep the area clean in case their pets defecate in the society premises the basement in your case. Pets are considered a part of the family and they can use the society premises, including the lifts. Generally, it is better to leash the pets to prevent any harm to members. In case of complaints, the society should deal with them through the complaint committee constituted for the purpose.

When our society went in for redevelopment, one of the members purchased the flat adjoining the one allotted to him. This flat was in the name of his wife. The earlier municipal plan provided a wall between the two flats, which was subsequently removed by the builder. The BMC is charging property tax for one flat as there is no wall dividing the two flats. Now the member is asking the society to levy the maintenance charge for just one flat and refund the charges paid for the past two years. Please advice.

Madhavi Ranade, Chembur

The additional flat is purchased in the name of the member's wife, thus making her a member of the society. Both the husband and wife being members will be holding two different share certificates. Both are entitled to the rights and abide by the obligations of members of the society in their individual capacity. Bye Law 67 provides the sharing of the society’s charges by the members. The property tax is fixed by the local authority and charged accordingly. Water charges are charged on the basis of the total number and the size of the inlets. Expenses on repairs and maintenance of lifts / its running, and service charges are equally divided by the number of members in the society. Insurance charges are billed to members on the basis of the built-up area of each flat. Parking charges, interest on delayed payments, and non-occupancy charges are fixed in accordance with the various provisions of the bye-laws. Thus it is evident that the maintenance charges are required to be shared by each member as per the criteria mentioned in the bye laws or as decided by the general body. Since both the husband and wife are members they will have to be billed individually for the two flats owned by them.

Our watchman is old. He was recruited from the adjoining SRA building. He tried to commit suicide by drinking the phenyl purchased from the shop in the society while he was on duty. Can we terminate his service in such a delicate situation?

MY Patel, Santacruz

It is sad that your watchman tried to end his life. The hospital will report the matter to the police and they may make enquiries with the secretary as the incident took place in the society premises. There is no reason for the society to worry. The secretary or chairman may be asked to give a statement. The society can terminate the services of the watchman subject to the terms and conditions of his appointment. However, an empathetic approach should be taken. He may be sent on leave for a few days to recover both physically and mentally. The society may also consider arranging a counselling session with a psychologist. The secretary may speak with his family to understand the issue and the managing committee may take a decision accordingly.

The questions are answered by Sharmila Ranade, a legal expert associated with Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

Questions, in brief, may be sent to fpjchs@gmail.com

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