A married daughter, her husband and their children fall within the definition of family, so housing societies cannot demand that a flat owner pay higher guest parking charges for their vehicle, a city consumer forum ruled last week.
With this ruling, the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed Dasvani housing society in Andheri (West) to recover parking charges from one of its members, MSN Pillai, at rates specified for additional vehicles owned by its members, and not for guests.
The dispute began after Pillai’s daughter parked her four-wheeler in the society when she came there for delivery in April 2007, and stayed there till October 2007.
Pillai had submitted a formal application to the society, seeking permission to allow her to park her car in the society compound.
The society’s parking charges for members is Rs 50 a month and Rs 100 a month for a second vehicle.
However, after seven months the housing society issued seven bills and demanded that Pillai pay a total of Rs 13,354 towards parking charges, along with interest thereon, for parking his daughter’s car in the society compound from April to October 2007.
Taking exception to this demand, Pillai moved the consumer forum in April 2008 seeking cancellation of these bills and compensation of Rs 50,000. He argued that he had applied for permission and pointed to a sub-rule for housing societies and a ruling of the Bombay High Court, which has included a married daughter, her husband and children in the definition of family (of the society members).
The forum accepted Pillai’s contention and also stated that the society should not have demanded charges at the rate applicable for guests’ vehicles without informing Pillai about it earlier.
The bench has directed the housing society to recover parking charges from Pillai at rates specified for members’ additional vehicles.
It refused to award compensation to Pillai, considering the facts of the case and that the complainant was himself a member of the society.