For the past six months, Artem Kumar, 28, a businessman who lives in a rented studio apartment in Khar, has been fighting with the managing committee of his housing society for parking space.
The committee wants Kumar to pay Rs 700 every month to park his vehicle in the parking slot that belongs to his flat owner and landlord, even though the society collects parking charges from the owner every month. “The managing committee has made its own rule to make tenants pay for parking,” said Kumar. “Almost every second day, the committee members land up at my house and harass me.”
Like Kumar, there are many flat owners and tenants across Mumbai who are fighting it out for parking space in a cramped city where the number of flat owners and the number of vehicles in a society exceeds the number of parking slots available.
“The most common cause of disputes among society members is parking space,” said Wahid Ahmed, a real estate agent with Spaces Property Consultants in Juhu.
NP Nathani, 41, a chartered accountant, bought a 2BHK in Thakur Complex, Kandivli (east), in 2004 and paid the builder Rs 1 lakh for parking. But now, seven years later, the society has demanded that he surrender his parking space so that it can re-allot all parking spaces in the building. “The society says it’s illegal for builders to sell parking space, so I have no right over that slot,” said Nathani. “The committee needs to take into account flat owners like me who have spent money buying parking slots. I am being denied my right to something that I have paid for.”
Though it is illegal for builders to sell parking slots to homebuyers, the housing society bye-laws clearly state that if a resident has bought a parking space, then he or she is entitled to it.
This discrepancy in the state laws and the bye-laws under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act is the source of many disputes across the city.
Vivek Gupta, 47, a physician, is unwilling to pay the monthly parking charges because he has paid the builder Rs 2 lakh for a parking slot in his building on Peddar Road, where he owns a 2BHK. “The parking charge is not much, but I don’t see why I should be made to pay the society anything for parking,” he said.
Anand Divekar, the chairman from Gupta’s society, argues that as it is illegal for the builder to sell parking space, it is only fair that Gupta pays parking charges like other residents of the society.
Ahmed said in several housing societies, many flat owners are forced to park their cars outside the society compound, in some cases for as long as a decade. “Often, managing committee members allot extra parking spaces to themselves and their friends.”
With society members fighting for space, there’s no thought given to the need for slots where visitors can park temporarily. Diven Pednekar, 26, a model, complains that no parking space is reserved for visitors in his society in Four Bungalows.
“When guests come, they are told to park outside, on the road, because there isn’t adequate parking for society residents,” Pednekar said. This despite the fact that the Development Control Regulations state that 10% of the parking space in suburban societies and 25% of parking space in societies on the island city must be reserved for visitors.