Residents want the rules framed under the Apartment Ownership Act to take their interests into account

Norms for the recently-notified Act are expected to be formulated within a month; housing experts have stressed the need for a proper mechanism to redress grievances of senior citizens and differently abled persons

Updated - February 06, 2023 07:44 am IST

Published - January 30, 2023 07:00 pm IST - CHENNAI

A section of residents also demanded remedial measures, protecting the interests of individual homeowners.

A section of residents also demanded remedial measures, protecting the interests of individual homeowners. | Photo Credit: S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

As the rules pertaining to the Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act 2022, which was notified recently, are expected to be formulated within a month, some residents’ associations want the rules to protect the interest of the every resident in an apartment complex.

Some associations have demanded that the redevelopment should be carried out only with the support of three-fourth of the apartment owners, instead of the two-third majority required under the Act. T. Nagar resident V.S. Jayaraman said a draft of the rules being framed under the new Act should be circulated to ascertain the views of apartment owners.

“While the competent authority can come out with draft bylaws and the methodology of collecting the maintenance charges, the adoption of the bylaws and the type of collection should be best left to the discretion of the associations. The registration charges should be kept at an affordable level and procedures should be simplified so that residents can do it by themselves, without the involvement of others,” he said.

Housing experts stressed the need for a proper mechanism to redress grievances of senior citizens and differently abled persons. “A project report detailing all the aspects of redevelopment, including alternative accommodation, is to be prepared and approved by the associations. In the event of specific requirement of old age or differently abled persons, appropriate alternative accommodations could be insisted by incorporating the same in project requirements. This may be explicitly brought up in the rules,” an expert said.

R. Vishnu, a resident, said the rules should be framed to prevent politician-builder nexus. Residents such as him demanded remedial measures, protecting the interests of individual homeowners.

“Builders can get in connivance with the apartment owners by offering them hidden incentives. Most of the construction in the city happened in middle-income neighbourhoods 30 to 40 years ago. Over time, these areas have become dilapidated, and their owners are now senior citizens, a vulnerable category. The areas they invested in have become prime localities over the past few decades. The pervading fear is that apartment owners’ associations, in collusion with builders, could force senior citizens to accept a deal that benefits the builder more,” he said.

Saroja S., executive director, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG), said while it was necessary to ensure the safety of people living in old buildings, going by a two-third majority on this might not be good. “Some may not have the money to pay rent and meet other expenses. There could be senior citizens who may be sentimental about the place, wanting to spend the rest of their life in the same house and not wanting to move. There are several such reasons. Since this is a major decision, the voices of every owner should be given due consideration,” she said.

Disaster management expert and former Chennai Corporation Engineer N. Mathavan said: “Not only redevelopment, the periodic maintenance of the building, like painting and replacement of elevators or other common facilities are not fully supported by the residents. This Act has put an end to this and also helps the association to ensure smooth functioning. Many associations are managed by residents themselves, not by professionals. So, this Act will help them function more effectively. Till date, the residents’ associations had been governed by the Society’s Act, and the bylaws were changed on the whims and fancies of a few individuals, but the new Act can be used to effectively safeguard the interests of all residents,” he said.

The Housing Department officials said the rules would allay residents’ fears about apartment ownership and redevelopment.

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