The Haryana state registrar of societies has ruled that common area maintenance charges are to be levied as per size of an apartment. He clarified that common area maintenance charges should not be the same for apartments of varying sizes.
Some residents of upscale condominium Vipul Belmonte on Golf Course road had approached the district registrar in May challenging the per square feet system and demanded that charges be levied per residential unit, irrespective of the size.
Common area maintenance charges are levied for usage of facilities such as roads, common area electricity and parks in a residential colony.
In the order in the first week of October, state registrar Wazir Singh ruled that large size apartments have more living space for more people in comparison to small apartments. He contended that larger apartments fetch more rent than smaller apartments and put more pressure on common infrastructure. “Therefore, the maintenance charges are required to be paid in accordance with the size of the apartment,” the registrar ruled.
A few owners of penthouses and five-bedroom apartments, led by resident Rajiv Malhotra, challenged the system at the district registrar office. They invoked model by-laws for Residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) under section 42 (2) of Haryana Regulation and Registration of Societies (HRRS) Act, 2012, that says all maintenance expenses have to be uniformly divided among members. The residents also referred to orders of the Bombay high court and the Gujarat high court.
Singh, however, ruled that the court decision pertained to cooperative housing societies that were registered under the respective state cooperative Acts and had different provision with respect to maintenance charges.
“The same are not relevant in the case of RWA of apartment owners registered under the HRRS Act wherein necessary provisions made under Haryana Apartment Ownership Act (HAOA), 1983, have been protected,” the order said.
The provisions of HAOA says common area maintenance should be charged on the basis of size of apartments.
Singh ruled that provisions of the HAOA are not contradictory to the HRRS Act with respect to maintenance charges as no provision has been defined under the HRRS Act or rules. He clarified that provisions made under section 42 (2) of model by-laws are not part of the HRRS rules but only for guidance purposes.
Malhotra, however, said the state registrar’s order is contradictory on many points. He said if maintenance was not carried out as per HRSS Act, then there was no purpose for societies to be registered under the Act. “We are filing an appeal with the registrar general and also approaching many other condominiums for a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court,” he said.
Anil Sud, president of Vipul Belmonte apartment residents’ association (VBARA) said the maintenance services are suffering in the condominium. He said if some of the residents want to approach the court, they should pay ad hoc charges till the case is settled so that maintenance work could be executed.