A rudimentary primer on how apartment owners are cheated
“The promoter of our apartments had earmarked about 5,000 sq ft on one side as open play area. Two years after he handed over the building and other facilities to our apartment owners’ association (AOA), authorities told us this land was part of a disputed private land,” describes AOA member R. Suresh, who lives in a multi-storeyed apartment building near J.P. Nagar.
When the association verified the plan, it found that the promoter had not showed the litigious piece land in the plan that was actually approved by the authorities. And the one shown to the owners at the time of agreement was a different one.
Amar Kumar M. (name changed) cites the example of a prominent builder who had built a high-end apartments complex and signed a long-term agreement with a housekeeping firm for the maintenance of common areas and facilities. There was a small problem though: the firm belonged to his relatives. This he managed to do, said Mr. Kumar, as the initial office-bearers were those close to him who had bought a few flats. The agreement was skewed to benefit the housekeeping firm, he said, and the association, to this day, is struggling with the financial burden.
In another horror story, the fight to control the Rs. 80-crore corpus fund of a luxury apartment complex on Bannerghatta Road has reached the court. In this case, an unregistered association, which was formed by the promoter himself and was controlling the fund, challenged the formation of another comprising flat owners who discovered that funds were being siphoned off.
Owners of apartments, built by a leading property developer near Yelahanka, found too late that the plan was not approved by the Bangalore Development Authority, which was the competent authority.
What the developer had done was to secure approval from the erstwhile city municipal council, which was not empowered to sanction such plan. “I find no reason why this developer, having huge investment capacity, to adopt shortcut approach and con people,” says Abhishek Arora, AOA member.
Promising the sky
Many AOA representatives said developers had assured lifestyle facilities like tennis court, gym and so as part of common area while entering into the agreement, only to deny them free access to these after occupation.
As Vishak M. said: “The promoter [of our apartment] brought these facilities under the clause of limited common area and facilities at the time of registration without informing us.” He pointed out that it is difficult to establish that the developer had unilaterally changed the agreement and stressed the need for a stringent law to control the real estate business.