Homes and gardens

Paying maintenance charges

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Your property-related legal queries answered by S.C. RAGHURAM, Partner, RANK Associates, a Chennai-based law firm

Our apartment association was registered recently. The project comprises a total of 32 units. Of these units, 20 have been occupied, a few have been sold but the owners haven’t moved in yet, and the remaining are unsold.

I’d like to know the procedure regarding collecting maintenance charges.

Do we collect it only from the occupied homes? Do the other home owners also need to pay for charges towards maintenance?

Sivakumar. P

Chennai

The maintenance charges have to be paid by all the owners, whether the apartments are occupied or not. The maintenance charges for unsold flats should be borne by the builder till they are sold, and thereafter by the purchasers.

The general body may, if found necessary, take a decision on reduced or concessional maintenance charges on unoccupied or unsold flats and implement the same.

We live in a high rise complex with over 900 tenements. In his advertisement, the builder mentioned allocating 70% open space for greenery.

But now he has started selling the open space/stilt area as car parking. Is this legal? When a builder sells the open space as parking, is it not selling the land area twice? The builder has not allocated space for two-wheeler parking as well.

P R Srinivasan

Chennai

The Supreme Court of India passed an order in the year 2010 stating that builders have no right to sell any portion of the building that is not a ‘flat’. The judgement has also clearly stated that stilt parking places are neither ‘flat’ nor ‘appurtenant or attachment to a flat’. The Tamilnadu Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Rules recognises allocation of exclusive right of usage of reserved car park by the builder and further states that such right shall form an indivisible part of the apartment and shall be transferable along with the apartment. In view of the above, each purchaser of an apartment will be entitled to use of the car parking slot specified in the construction agreement. The usage of remaining open space appurtenant to the building may be decided by the association of flat owners including allocation of space for two wheelers or for any other common purpose.

We live on the second floor of an apartment complex. The building has a total of six flats. When the Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) for the lift has to be renewed, home owners occupying units on the ground and first floor are not willing to pay for their share as they claim the elevator is not being used by them. Due to this, the total maintenance of the apartment has been stalled for the last two years. Please guide us about the rules regarding paying for common amenities and how we can go about sorting the issue.

Uma Bala

Chennai

Any amenity or facility provided in the building has to be treated as common to all. It is advisable that you form an association and its bye-laws. These aspects can thereafter be dealt with in accordance with the said bye-laws and decisions taken in the general body meetings can be enforced.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:16:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/legal-queries-answered/article29529439.ece

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