Payment of maintenance charges for common areas in highrise gated communities has become a bone of contention among residents, builders, and residents’ welfare associations in Gurgaon.
A number of housing societies and gated communities have been collecting maintenance charges per residential unit irrespective of size of the residence. But there are a large number of privately developed highrises where maintenance charges are being collected on a per square foot (PSF) basis.
Non-payment of charges on a PSF basis often leads to snapping of electricity connection to households and scuffles with RWA executive members or maintenance agencies hired by developers.
Those charging maintenance charges on a PSF basis take the support of Haryana Apartment Ownership Act,1983, while residents opposing it quote Haryana Regulation and Registration of Societies (HRRS) Act, 2012.
Kendriya Vihar in Sector 56, the largest gated society with 1,975 flats, has been taking maintenance charges on the basis of per residence and the 12-block society is maintained up to the mark.
“Charges are equal for all residents, irrespective of area of residence. There are no issues in this pattern,” said Sanjeev Srivastava, executive member of Kendriya Vihar RWA.
Likewise, Jal Vayu Vihar in sectors 31 and 56, Sispal Vihar in Sector 49 and most societies in Sector 56 charge equal maintenance dues.
“As per the societies registration rules, charges should be equal for all residences irrespective of the area. Common facilities are used by all residents equally, so there should be no disparity in payment of maintenance dues,” said Rajiv Malhotra, a penthouse owner in Vipul Belmonte, Sector 53.
Malhotra and other residents of Vipul Belmonte on Golf Course Road have filed a petition in a civil court challenging the RWA collecting maintenance dues on the basis of PSF.
He said most societies charge on a PSF basis even though most have flats of similar sizes. “Problem arises when sizes of flats vary a lot. It is not justified that a resident of a three-bedroom flat pays less maintenance charges as compared to a resident of a five-bedroom flat,” Malhotra said.
The model bylaws for RWAs under section 42 (2) of HRRS Act state that all maintenance expenses have to be uniformly divided among members.
Residents of Wembley Estate in DLF Phase-4 also pay on the basis of PSF but consider it against norms. “System in Gurgaon is to charge as per area of residence. Ideally, charges should be on the basis of per residence,” said Pankaj Dhar, former president of Wembley Estate RWA. Wembley Estate has two, three and four-bedroom flats.
“HRRS Act mandates that bylaws laid down by a society are followed. The Act specifically does not deal with the issue of maintenance charges and just ensures implementation of bylaws,” said SN Singh, district registrar, firms and societies.