Pearl Goswami, 58, a retired airline staffer, had to wait for 17 months before the managing committee of her housing society on Marine Drive registered the flat in her name after her mother passed away.
“It was nothing but harassment because I had all the documents that were required and they kept postponing the transfer of the flat,” said Goswami, who filed a complaint at the registrar’s office, which issued an order to the society last June to transfer the flat in her name.
“In spite of the order, the society did not transfer the flat to my name,” said Goswami. Finally, after she made several visits to the registrar’s office, an official from there came and forced the society to execute the transfer.
Goswami got the share certificate that shows that the flat has been transferred to her this June.
Goswami’s case is just one of the many instances of managing committees misusing their power to trouble flat owners. “Clients complain that selling a flat is a big hassle because the societies’ managing committees interfere unnecessarily and charge a lot in the name of transfer fee,” said advocate Nirmal Kothari, who deals in housing and property matters.
The transfer fee is the premium paid by the seller of the house and must not exceed Rs 25,000. “But there are many cases where managing committees have asked buyers and sellers to pay in lakhs. They take Rs 25,000 and register it under transfer fee and the rest is registered as donations, maintenance charges, etc.,” said Kothari.
“When I was selling my flat, I refused to pay Rs 5 lakh as transfer fee. The society then cut off my water supply,” said Hiren Pusalkar, 39, an engineer who owned a 1BHK flat in Sai Niketan building on Juhu-Versova Link Road. After seven months of heated discussions and fights with the managing committee, the water supply was restored and Pusalkar moved out.
The new flat owner, who shifted in a month ago, has yet to get the share certificate. “Because I refused to pay, I am sure that the society will harass him,” said Pusalkar. The new owner, requesting anonymity, said: “I am not going to pay Rs 5 lakh for the share certificate.”
Rajashree Rao, 51, a resident of Matunga, has been requesting her society’s secretary to issue a share certificate for the past two years.
In spite of writing to them and paying Rs 25,000 as transfer fee, the society sends her notices demanding exorbitant amounts for donation and maintenance. “They refuse to talk to me directly and explain why I haven’t got my certificate.”
The society’s secretary, Shailesh Abrol, refused to comment on the issue.
When the managing committee of Simin Bharucha’s society at the Dadar Parsi Colony asked her to pay Rs 2 lakh as transfer fee, she took the matter to the cooperative court.
“Firstly, they refused to let me keep a pet. After that, when I refused to pay more than Rs 25,000, they sent me a notice asking me to pay the money within seven days.” The court ruled in Bharucha’s favour.
However, many flat owners give in to the demands to get the share certificate and the no-objection certificate from the society, Kothari said.
Paresh Shah, 56
‘Society’s being unfair to my family’
For over three years, Paresh Shah, 56, has been trying to get his late father’s name deleted from the share certificate of his society in Prabhadevi. “My father was the second owner of the house, my mother is the first owner and I am their nominee. For her to make a will, my father’s name needs to be removed from the share certificate,” said the businessman. “The society is refusing to do this and keeps asking me to present irrelevant documents such as a probated copy of my father’s will.”
Shah said that in the last three years several other flat owners have got their share certificate procedures executed smoothly without probated copies of wills. “For no reason, they are being unfair to my family. This is horrible considering that my mother is a widow and that a bye-law states that the managing committee is supposed to look after widows.”
The society’s chairman, Laxman Shetty, said: “Our legal advisor has asked for a probated will in Shah’s case. In other cases, it was not required.”
Vinod Sampat, an advocate who deals with property matters, said: “There’s no need for even a will to transfer a flat in a nominee’s name.”