Mumbai Housing Society Queries: 'Society Space Cannot Be Occupied For Personal Use,' Says Expert

Mumbai Housing Society Queries: 'Society Space Cannot Be Occupied For Personal Use,' Says Expert

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

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, April 08, 2024, 09:06 AM IST
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Residents of our building are constructing wooden shoe racks in the corridor space leading from their front door to the lift area. This obstructs the passage. Can the managing committee prevent them from doing this?

HS Bhatti, Sanpada

Corridor space is a common area that members cannot occupy for their personal use. Bye Law 169 provides that a society shall not allow the use of any open space under the staircase, terraces, open ground to any person, for any purpose whatsoever. It further provides that all open areas meant for the use of members cannot be occupied by one member for their own use. Any member found violating the aforesaid condition by encroachment shall have to vacate the encroachment. Further s/he shall pay an amount equal to five times the monthly maintenance charges per month for a period for which s/he has encroached such spaces.

Our society is replacing six 17-year-old lifts with new ones. Can the sinking fund be utilised for this expenditure?

Meeta HB, Navi Mumbai

It is the responsibility of the managing committee to keep the society building/s in good repair and condition. As per Bye Law 14(C), the sinking fund may be used by the society for reconstruction of its building/s or for carrying out such structural additions or alterations to the building/s as in the opinion of the architect.

The average life expectancy of a lift is anywhere from 15 to 25 years. If your society is replacing 17- year-old lifts, at a stretch the expenditure will be substantial. The sinking fund may be utilised with the approval of the general body for the purpose. It would be better to keep the opinion of an expert on record for replacement of all the lifts for the purpose of audit and record.

In case the sinking fund is not sufficient to bear the expenses, the general body can consider collecting equal contribution towards the purchase and installation of new lifts from all members irrespective of the fact as to whether or not they use it. (Bye Law 67.)

Is the apartment association required to issue shares to members of the condominium? Where can I complain in case of any dispute with the association?

Sumant Singh, Powai

There is a difference between a condominium and a housing society. Condominium is governed by the provisions of the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970 (MAOA) whereas a cooperative housing society is governed by the provision of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, and the rules made thereunder.

Apartment Owners Association means all apartment owners acting as a group in accordance with the bye laws and declaration. Unlike a cooperative housing society, such an association is not required to register with any authority. Apartment owners not only own their apartment but also the undivided interest in the common area and facilities in the percentage specified and established in the deed of declaration. Since there is no separate entity established under MAOA, there is no question of issuing shares to the apartment owners. Shares are issued by a cooperative housing society to its members. Apartment association is required to frame bye laws as per the provisions of the MAOA, which should provide for the management of the association.

Under Section 12A of MAOA, apartment owners can file a complaint with the registrar of cooperative societies as designated under the MCS Act. Registrar has to dispose of the complaint within 30 days of the date of receipt. Further, in accordance with section 16A, the complainant can file an appeal before the cooperative court within 60 days of the receiving registrar's decision.

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

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

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