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Guide to Apartment Owners Association: Formation and Functioning

Today apartment owners association is vital part of a community living. Apartment owners association is association where all owners of the apartment are members and association maintains facilities or amenities available in apartment. Apartment owners association works for welfare of residents in apartment, conduct events or awareness program and protects the right of apartment owners. Apartment owners association may or may not be registered but registered association can sue or defend any legal action and enjoy legal benefits.

Apartment Flat Owners Legal powers of Home Owners Association

An apartment owners association not only has right to maintain facilities available in apartment but also legal powers to protect its members and defend legal action raised against association.

Apartment Owners Association as Arbitrator

Arbitration is a technique of resolution of disputes among members of association or residents in apartment. There may be internal matters in apartment or apartment owners association which may end in dispute or approaching court. In this case, apartment owners association can act as arbitrator between members or residents in apartment and association can help to solve disputes outside the court. Approaching court is not always recommended as it may take months or even years for resolution of dispute. Association can either hire a legal advisor or appoint an advocate for affairs of association.

Power to Recover the Maintenance Fee

Provisions are made in the by-laws of the association for collecting the maintenance charges. The builders allow the apartment owners to form their own association and fix the charges. The cost of maintaining the amenities needs to be shared by the apartment owners and residents in apartment. There exists a convenient misconception among residents that the price they pay for the apartment is all-inclusive. Maintenance is a fee charged for services and maintenance of equipment.

In most association meetings, the issue of maintenance charges is often debated in overstretched sessions. The maintenance charges are calculated either on the basis of provisions made in the bye-laws of the association or on the basis of method agreed by majority of members of apartment owners association. Acceptance of maintenance charges can at least help maintain peace and harmony. In the event of default by any member, the apartment owners association has right to charge interest and penalty from the defaulter and the power to recover this amount. The apartment owners association has right to sue defaulting members but the apartment owners association cannot cut or terminate any facility enjoyed by the owner. The apartment owners association can only initiate legal proceedings for recovery of the outstanding and can seek other relief as may be permissible under the law.

Legal action against members guilty of offense

Apartment owners association consist general body consisting of all the members of association who are owners of apartment complex. General body elects members by and from general body as Management committee. Management committee represents association before all official and non-official bodies concerning building and other member’s rights and interests. Any members in apartment owners association, who steal, forge or make any loss to association shall be liable to be punished and association has right to take legal action against the members guilty of offence.

File case against Builder

Today demand for residential property is increasing and number of builders who come up with attractive price also increasing. There are number of property buyers who often complaints that their builder has cheated by offering low quality work, not responding for property buyers query and fails to keep their promise. Apartment owners association can file case against builder for compensation of losses, lodge police case and even file criminal case against builder.

  • Notice to builder: It is always recommended to issue notice to builder before approaching the court or taking any legal action. Apartment owners association can issue notice to builder for delay in project, compensation of losses and in case of poor quality construction. Send the notice by registered post or Under Postal certificate. Retain the proof of sending.
  • Lodge Police case: If builder fails to respond the notice, apartment owners association can lodge police complaint against builder. The police authorities to begin with call upon the parties to remain physically present at the Police Station. The Police authorities invoke Section 107 (Security for keeping the peace in other cases) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Proceedings under this section may be taken before any executive magistrate.
  • Consumer Case: It is observed that that the builders do not comply with their statutory obligations. In such circumstances the options available to the flat purchasers / society include filing a complaint in the Consumer Court. Apartment owners association can file single case against builder on behalf of all its members as consumers having the same problem. Write your complaint with preferably date-wise facts. Refer to the page numbers of the attached documents where ever required (like bill, agreement, service report, etc). Mention what relief you are looking for against your complaint. You can either file your case in direct or send registered post.
  • Criminal case: A builder can be sued for cheating, breach of contract, not responding the grievance and delivery of poor quality construction. While drafting the criminal complaint, the Society should high-light specifically the violation of the various provisions. The Society should also emphasize that violation of the provisions is criminal in nature. Attention of the criminal court should be drawn to offenses of various sections of Indian Penal Code – Sections 406, 407 read with sections 415 and 420.
  • Section 406 Punishment for criminal breach of trust
  • Section 407 Criminal breach of trust by carrier, etc
  • Section 415 Cheating
  • Section 420 Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property

The complainant should also bring out irregularities committed by the builders while executing the constructions of the building. Once a complaint is lodged, the matter is kept for verification wherein the statement of the Complainant is taken. On the basis of the evidences either of the both the parties Honorable Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court office passes proper order. Builder has to prefer an appeal in the Sessions Court. In the event the accused is aggrieved by the order as passed by Sessions Court then in that circumstances either of the parties can approach High Court.

Apartment owners association can be sued by members or parties if association fails to meet its statutory obligation. A well-drafted bye-law should enable any flat owner to raise issues and mandatory require the managing (or executive) committee to address these issues in one form or the other. The common problems complained of by many flat owners pertain to the association to be unresponsive to their concerns. Some find that the association is actively working against their interests. The member of apartment owners association has right to raise the issue and demand the meeting for the same. If the association still fails to take action, then, member can, as a last resort, approach the courts for relief. If an association persistently commits default in fulfilling its statutory obligations or if there are huge disputes over the management of the association the member can consider complaining to the concerned Registrar of Societies in this behalf. The registrar has right to cancel registration of the apartment owners association which fails to meet statutory obligation and there are huge disputes over the management of the association.

References:

How to register Apartment Owners Association
Methods to Calculate Maintenance in Apartments

 

113 Responses to “Guide to Apartment Owners Association: Formation and Functioning”

  1. Raghu says:

    I have a 3 years apartment which is to be sold and one of the walls has cracks from outside which is leading to leakage of water in the rainy season. Is it the responsibility of the association to repair this as i have already started repairing it from inside the apartment or can i go ahead an repair it myself and then claim this from the association? Please advice

    • N.Praveen says:

      I have a flat in I floor. It is 10 years old building having GL + FF. Now i have noticed some dampness in the roof of my flat. Who will bear the repairing cost. My self or the Association. Pl clarify.

  2. Raghu says:

    I have a 3 years apartment which is to be sold and one of the walls has cracks from outside which is leading to leakage of water in the rainy season. Is it the responsibility of the association to repair this as i have already started repairing it from inside the apartment or can i go ahead an repair it myself and then claim this from the association? Please advice

  3. Brunelli says:

    Fantastic blog thanks so much for the information :)

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  5. Thanks for the great article. Look forward to reading more of them.

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  8. Hallum says:

    Magnificent website. Lots of useful information here!

  9. Arvind says:

    Sir, I had leased my apartment to a family since 2009, which was vacated by them by mid Jan-12 after providing one month notice. The tenant has left country with the keys (they changed the main door lock without informing me), stating that i had not paid the balance from security deposit (they left on 19 Jan). Now am not able to open the apartment, please advise what is my legal rights.

  10. Rayees ur Rahman Khan says:

    dear sir,
    I have a 1RK flat in a CIDCO apartment owners association at nerul new mumbai, which is rented out. Managing Committee is charging Rs 2500/- as non occupancy charge per annum which has been passed in the AGM. But this amount is very higher against the order of Govt of Maharashtra and the Bombay High Court order. The order says that non occupancy charges can not be more than the 10% of monthly maintenance. The monthly maintenance is only Rs 75/- Managing committee is not ready to accept the above order and denying to do the same. I have already given notice to the president of the association, but their response is nil.
    Kindly advise me to what action can be taken and where i can approach for my greivances.
    My Mail Id: raishasratkhan@yahoo.in

  11. Samir says:

    I agree consumer courts are proper authority. We should file a case at nearest Consumer Forum, see this latest judgment @chsguru.com
    chsguru.com/2012/02/lokhandwala-construction-company.html

  12. prabhu says:

    hi all,

    i need a small help regarding the tenant rights to live in appartment. I recently moved to a new appartment in Hyderabad, India. after two months of stay the association is formed and are now asking me for the personal details of me and my family. They want me to fill a form where they are asking me for my personal details like,
    my name, a photo, occupation, previous address of where i lived, car registration number, my phone number, details of the people who live in my family, their photos, their occupations, age, sex, date of birth etc.

    I want to know, being a tenant to a house owned by someone else, should i give all these details to the association? my house owner never told me anything like that to give. but these association people are asking all the tenants to give these details,

    Please let me know if i can give or not or it is a right for the owners assiciation to ask me all these details.

    a reply is much appreciated.

    • Mohan says:

      Hallo dear if you are entering to the Appartments you need give the information to the Assiciation. Then only if any problem in future Assiciation know about you otherwise if any problem or any police case they will ask Associaltion President only.

      So better you can give your information.

      Mohan

      • Mithun says:

        Is it require to provided my grand father to my grand children name & details. In my family we have 150 Members, all are they coming & going to my home.

        Association should ask necessary details only who owned / hired that apartments, that’s enoguh There is no association does not have any rights to ask my entire family tree details/more personal details.

        Association can interfere other personal to certain level.

        the suggested stupid may be in association head/secratery. Association is not a supreme court. It’s just association / just a team.

    • pankaj says:

      It is not required to give your details to the Association. If they harrass you, get a lawyer and file a case against them for harrassing you. If the police or court question you about not giving your details to the association, you can always say that you did not trust the Association with your private details since the Association members may use this information against you and harrass you in future by making different rights for owners and different rights for tenants with regard to the common property and facilities. However, mention that your dealings and agreement are only with the owner of the flat and if the association wants your details, they may contact the owner of the flat for them.
      Check this advice with an advocate. Then, Give Them Hell.

  13. Kates says:

    Hi! Extremely interesting read and well designed blog !
    Will definitely return, thanks!

  14. Ramesh kumar says:

    Hi ,

    I have 2 doubts.
    1. I own a 3 bed room flats which means i have more square feet than 2 bedrooomers. Here in this useless association , they charge 1.75 rupees /sq feet. so i should pay more. I understand i should pay maintanence but why is that people who have big flats should pay high maintanence ?. Singe bed roomers, double bedroomers and triple bedroomers enjoy the same common area. nothing more or less, then why should we pay more ?.

    2. Now the drainage, recyling plant needs a repair. Now they are asking for Rs.3 /sq.feet .

    Will this work the same way in all associations ? . Why should i pay more than others for repairing the drainage – if one bedroomers pay 2500 . I should pay 5000.
    Why is this happening ?. Is this the law . How can i go about this. Help me

  15. Judith Obbink says:

    Thanks for the update on Guide to Apartment Owners Association

  16. P Kishore Kumar says:

    We are living in a four 2BHK ( G+1 ) flats housed in a compound and I am the owner of two of the ground floor flats. My tenants staying in the first floor. The first floor flats have lot of problems like water leakage and other issues which affects my flat in the down and spoilt the appearanc of the flat. The top flat owners not in the mood to undertake any repairs or resolve the issue. I would like to know how to resolve the issue legally and what the are the forum to address this kind of things where the flat owners are 2 to 4.

  17. pankaj kumar says:

    i have a flat in dhanbad but not ragisterd asocition we have water problem how can i solve

  18. pankaj kumar says:

    i have a flat in dhanbad here is not ragisterd association but here is water problem lots of owner take direct connectio from water tank thats why i am facin water problem how can i solve please reply.

  19. nisar shaikh says:

    I am thinking of buying an apartment in association of apartment. My query is whether it is possible to change the use of apartment from residential to commercial. if the D. C. rules of the local body so permit. What sanctions/NOCs are to be obtained from the association. thank you.

  20. Sakthi kumar says:

    Hello Sir,

    Can you please help me to register my apartment owners association formally with the registrar office. Any one help us on this. please mail me your details at sakthikumar.subramanian@gmail.com

  21. Sakthi kumar says:

    Hello Sir,

    Can you please help me to register my apartment owners association formally with the registrar office. ( its in Navalur, Chennai) Any one help us on this. please mail me your details at sakthikumar.subramanian@gmail.com

  22. Seema Prasant says:

    I would like to know whether any resident can stop paying maintenance charges of his flat if he has any grievance with the association. In such cases what action should the association take? If the grievance is against the previous committee and beyond rectification, can the resident stop paying maintenance and still enjoy all facilities?

    • Vijay says:

      Hi Seema, what do you think should be the case? If what you ask for is possible, then every body will file a grievance of one sort or other without giving any maintainance and still enjoying all facilities. And this can go on for years.
      I am in no way an authority upon this but I am sure this cannot be done. Paying monthly maintainance and solving issues are two different things and should be kept seperate. I maintained this rule very strictly when I was managing the association.
      Of course the association here should also be willing to solve the issues a resident is complaining of. Even if wrong doings have been done by a previous association, the new one has assumed all liabilities from it. There’s no way they can say we are not responsible for solving this.

  23. haranadh says:

    We own a flat in an apartment. Here the maintenance is so worst and not transparent. But, we never questioned anything except paying maintenance. Recently the person who is taking care of maintenance took the decision to put the flat numbers on the wall and also did the same even without asking anybody. Now it looks like I am staying in some hotel room or govt quarters. When I went to ask him about the same he is so rude and lost his temper. His entire family is against me just to prove I made a mistake by questioning him. It is my premises and I have every right to ask if somebody spoils it even it is maintenance. How can I take it further? Please suggest me the proper solution because even though this issue is small, in future I do not want to face same situation but issues is bigger.

  24. Rajendran says:

    Other than flat owner (flat owner’s father) can he contest for apartment office bearer election?

  25. Jerry Joseph says:

    Hi

    what is the procedure to be followed to cancel our apartment registration which was registered under apartment owners act of karnataka

  26. Arun Kumar says:

    Crime to be a Bachelor
    Staying in a Flat for three years… We raised questions against Association on some security issues.
    Now, The Association members don’t want us to raise any issues against them and they started troubling us by issuing a notice that we are creating nuisance and disturbing other to make our mouth shut. Is there is any way to handle them. Can we raise a harassment case and issue a legal notice

    • Wellwisher says:

      Hi,
      You are absolutely rite at your point. as most of the societies are now a days creating problem for bachelors staying in society flats. if they are harassing you, you can approach the local police and can take legal advise as well… as they cannot approach you directly, they have to approach you through your landlord only…….also if you are not creating any violence in the society then they cannot raise fingers on you…regards…

  27. Petretti says:

    My brother suggested I may like this website. He was once entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  28. venkata chary says:

    Hello sir,

    I have purchased a flat in (2011) Medchal (hyderabad-AP) but construction was very poor.
    At the time selling the Flats Vendor and builders had told that total car parking are only 5 . But Later it has increased to 8 No.s.
    And builder told outer walls builded 9″ (nine inches walls) but bathroom side builder constructed 4.5″ walls so in Rainy season wall was leakegs and cement plastering was damage. water leakegs from upper flat to my flat.This problums told to builder but he was not given any answer and till date builder not handover to apartment flat owners.

  29. Sunil Jith says:

    Hi,

    There are 10 houses (5 ground floor and 5 first floor) in my apartment. One of the house owners (Person A) has been parking his two wheeler in a particular spot. this spot incidently falls close to the other house. For many years the tenants living there did not have vehicle and so there was no problem. Now the new tenants have a vehicle and they are not allowing Person A to park his vehicle whereas Person A does not want to move his vehicle from that spot as he has been parking there for years. This has become a big problem. Can any one advice how to resolve it?

  30. Sunil Jith says:

    There are 10 houses (5 ground floor and 5 first floor) in my apartment. One of the house owners (Person A) has been parking his two wheeler in a particular spot. this spot incidently falls close to the other house. For many years the tenants living there did not have vehicle and so there was no problem. Now the new tenants have a vehicle and they are not allowing Person A to park his vehicle whereas Person A does not want to move his vehicle from that spot as he has been parking there for years. This has become a big problem. Can any one advice ho to resolve it?

  31. gurumurrthi says:

    Respected Sir, Our Association registered under Tamil Nadu societys act in 1988. Name Owners welfare Association. Now the Office bearers in the key post are not the Owners and their Wife and married daughter are the owners. As legallythey are not the Owners as per byelaw. Notice issued by a Member through a Advocate. As on date they are not owners and so whether they immediately quite the office. pl. clarify

  32. sudarshen says:

    i had purchased a flat in 2005 at that time builder had not mentioned that he is going to retain on flat out of 12 flats . now he is treating us like he rented apartment to us . please guide me what can i do for relief

  33. sudarshen says:

    i had purchased a flat in 2005 at that time builder had not mentioned that he is going to retain one flat out of 12 flats . now he is treating us like he rented apartment to us . please guide me what can i do for relief

  34. Kannan says:

    Hi

    I am residing in chennai in an apartment round floor. just above my house, first floor house is having problem in their balcany.they acid washed their titles and it was broken completely. water is leaking from their house to my house bed room, wardrode and outside wall. almost my wooden wardrobe gets spoiled. daily i am pulling out water in my bedroom.i requested my first floor house owner to fix that issue. then my association leader approached to fix issue as it will spoil my house ceiling.

    Then my bulders came and conformed us that leakage is from first floor house balacay and need to fix as soon as possible. now the first floor owner is not willing to bear any expense.
    He is expecting me to bear the whole cost ? how is it possible ? If so, what is the use of going for Apartments. I really fedup with this flat system concept.

    It is really annoying us. my mom is too old to do cleaning works and worried very much that she might fall down in the wet floor.

    Anybody with broad mind suggest me how to resolve this issue.

    Thanks in advance.
    Kannan

  35. Kannan says:

    Hi

    I am residing in chennai in an apartment round floor. just above my house, first floor house is having problem in their balcany.they acid washed their titles and it was broken completely. water is leaking from their house to my house bed room, wardrode and outside wall. almost my wooden wardrobe gets spoiled. daily i am pulling out water in my bedroom.i requested my first floor house owner to fix that issue. then my association leader approached to fix issue as it will spoil my house ceiling.

    Then my bulders came and conformed us that leakage is from first floor house balacay and need to fix as soon as possible. now the first floor owner is not willing to bear any expense.
    He is expecting me to bear the whole cost ? how is it possible ? If so, what is the use of going for Apartments. I really fedup with this flat system concept.

    It is really annoying us. my mom is too old to do cleaning works and worried very much that she might fall down in the wet floor.

    Anybody with broad mind suggest me how to resolve this issue.

    Thanks in advance.
    Kannan

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  37. vswami says:

    Broadly speaking, the grievances / grouse of purchasers /residents of apartments’ association are of two kinds, – one against the seller, the other against the people elected for the managing committee and / or anyone or more of the offce bearers.

    What is the way out or solution to satisfactrily have resolved a serious problem, if it is of the second type? Prima facie, the general impression is, that a ready or easy solution can only be far to seek. In particular, so, in those cases , which is very commonly observed in cities like Bangalore, where there is no duly formed / constituted and registered owners’ association.

    Suggest, it is worthwhile to look for and find leads/ clues from reported court cases.

    One such case has been recently reported at theb website of Taxguru.

    Link > Secretary of Society is Public Servant & can be booked for Corruption – HC

    Commented thereon (reproduced for ready reading):

    Not simply a good judgment; but is a very helpful one, to those living in misery for long, as owners or residents of buildings comprising multiunit.

    To dilate:

    Here is an interesting and eye-opening verdict from the Madras HC.

    This case is, no doubt, confined to an instance in which ‘secretary’ of a housing society has been faced with a criminal charge under the anti corruption law. But, what ought not to be missed but requires to be specially noted is this: – it carries an important message of general utility to the people at large, who own or live in ‘units’ of a building (namely, ‘flats’ or apartments’), governed respectively by special enactments of States. To be precise, it might come to the rescue of such owners or residents of ‘units’ in a building property, if confronted with like problems in the hands of a person acting as ‘secretary’ or in any other representative capacity of the common body, be it a ‘society’ or an ‘owners’ association .

    Under the law, each owner or resident is endowed with the status of a co-tenant or co-owner (including his private tenant). As such, each one of them is legally bound and socially obliged, to live strictly within the parameters of own individual rights and interests; that is, without encroaching upon those, similar and identical in nature, of the others, in any manner.

    Anyone , – even granting that the person (who must necessarily be a co-owner- for this purpose, the builder/seller is not one in respect of any unsold unit(s)) acting as secretary is one duly elected/ appointed by the general body (society or association), as lawfully constituted in accordance with the terms of the law,- has no more rights or other interests, that is in excess, in comparison to the others. On the contrary, by virtue of anyone being a co-owner , hence, having qualified and been nominated, and elected / appointed, either as a member of so-called ‘managing committee’ in general, or as an ‘office bearer’ ( i.e. president, secretary, treasurer, or whatever) , he is vested with an additional responsibility/duty of an onerous nature. That he is obligated to dutifully discharge in relation the others. His strict position, albeit an unenviable one, in the eyes of law, is no better or worse than that of a ‘trustee’ in its profound legal sense. In other words, any action or inaction on his part in disregard or violation of any duty or responsibility expected of him , in a fiduciary capacity, is, in one’s longstanding conviction, clearly tantamount to a ‘breach of trust’(within its legal meaning), and accordingly liable to be meted out with no less severe consequence than “corruption’ as in the Madras case.

  38. Yackley says:

    Good site! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written.

  39. Animesh says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for this clear information.
    Although the blogs talks about the legal or non-legal action that can be taken against the association members once the association is formed.
    Please post another blog which will clarify the details on election process of association. Authorities or legal bodies to be sought after if there are malpractices involved in association election process.

    Also what is the role of the election committee and what actions can be taken to dissolve the same.

  40. Bharat says:

    Recently, our apartment association started putting car locks on the cars, even for minor parking violations. They do not give any notice & we discover only when we or our guests need to go somewhere to use the car. They don’t respond immediately & open the locks only after a fine (whatever they say) is paid.
    Is this legal?

  41. ahsan says:

    can any halp me
    Can any one send me the sample notice letter to flats for

    1-water timing has been changed
    2- construct washroom for watchmen in parking area
    I`m very thankful to you plz rply me

  42. Srividya samala says:

    I have purchased a flat in Hyderabad last year. There is no association registered, but it is maintained by a single person who is not elected by anyone. He cares less about maintaining apartment. He got hold of watch , and that watchman listens only to him.

    srividyasamala@gmail.com

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  45. In Space says:

    You’re so cool! I don’t think I have read through anything like this before.
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  46. navisa says:

    usefull informations

  47. ptikamdas says:

    V.useful and necessary guidance but people across have narrated their problems/horror but very few indeed negligible number of people have been responded with some response. Ignorant, harassed people need be responded. System should help empower helpless to stand up and cry halt.

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