Legal Eagle Q & A

Calculating maintenance costs

I have recently bought a 1BHK flat in a 3-block apartment that comprises 32 flats in each block with G+4 floors. I have not occupied the flat yet as there is a lot of pending work. Without any intimation, they have formed an Association and have fixed a maintenance cost of Rs. 2000 per flat, based on the facilities, irrespective of the plinth area of each flat. We have facilities in our premises such as a lift, STP, park, bore well, power backup for the common areas, kids play area, and gym.

I was not aware of this cost earlier and there was no discussion/meeting held.

As per the TN Apartment Ownership Act, maintenance costs should be calculated based on the plinth area of each flat where as here it is fixed as flat rate. Is this correct? It will take another five months for me to shift to the new flat so is it mandatory to pay the maintenance cost during this period? Are they trying to charge me for the unsold flats in the complex?



Chennai

Considering the rampant growth in multi-storeyed apartment complexes in and around the city, it is important that one should understand the reasons and method of levying maintenance charges for such buildings.

The actual cost of maintenance of the entire building along with the amenities and facilities provided therein has to be borne by the occupants. As per the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act, the maintenance charges have to be levied based on the undivided share of land allotted to the owners of each apartment.

It should be borne in mind that irrespective of whether the individual apartments are occupied or vacant, the association or the maintenance company has to incur certain constant expenses such as payments to security personnel, common lighting, cleaning of common areas and staircases, etc. The annual maintenance charges payable towards lifts, STP, generators, and other fixtures in the complex will also be constant. Normally, maintenance charges relating to unsold flats will be paid by the developer. The respective owners have to pay the maintenance charges relating to their apartment (irrespective of whether the same is occupied or not) once possession is handed over to them.

It appears that in your case, an adhoc or interim arrangement has been made to maintain the building. At the time of hand over of the completed building, the Association will have a fair idea of the overall cost of maintenance and will fix the same in its first annual general body meeting. Thereafter, the bye-laws of the Association and resolutions approved in the general body will govern the common area maintenance.

The association is a voluntary body comprising of members who have taken up the responsibility of managing the building on an honorary basis. It is very important that all the apartment owners co-operate with the association and help in bringing together a cordial, friendly and vibrant community so that the residents can enjoy staying in the complex.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:29:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/q-and-a/calculating-maintenance-costs/article8257363.ece

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