Open terraces: Common property or private space?
Residents of a Matunga building are at loggerheads with their developer demanding that they should be given access to all common terraces in the building.mumbai Updated: Oct 09, 2011 01:40 IST
Residents of a Matunga building are at loggerheads with their developer demanding that they should be given access to all common terraces in the building.
Seven members of Pragati Paradise building in Matunga say that since 2004 they have been protesting against their developer Pradeep Furia, who gave exclusive rights to the flat owners on the fifth and seventh floor to use the terrace on the respective floors. Furia himself owns the seventh-floor flat.
The members said they complained to civic authorities about the open terraces, which have a common entrance from the staircase lobby, being locked by the flat owners on the two floors.
“As per Development Control (DC) Rules and Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act (MOFA), all the members should have access to open terraces,” said Ramesh Thakker, resident and owner of flat no 101.
However, Furia said: “The building has a terrace on the eight floor that can be accessed by all members. Those on the fifth and seventh floor are pocket terraces and as is the general practice in the city, the developer gives the respective flat owners the right to use them.”
“All terraces with common entrance irrespective of which floor it belongs to, can be used by all members of the society. Builders give it to individual owners as it increases the flat value,” said Vasant kumar, marketing manager of Mahim-based Mansi Developers. “A terrace is private only if the entrance is from an individual flat, but normally such a plan is not approved.”
Structural engineer and licence surveyor Abhay Godbole said: “A space free of floor space index (FSI) like an open terrace must have common access, otherwise it is not approved by the civic authorities. The practice of selling such an area to individual owners is illegal.”
“As per the DCR, it should be open for all members. The members can complain to the ward office,” said a senior BMC official from building and proposal department.
JB Patel, an Andheri-based co-operative housing society (CHS) activist said, “Blocking members’ access to common property like terrace is illegal and they can complain to the BMC ward office, fire brigade, police station or deputy registrar of co-operative societies of the concerned ward.”
When contacted, assistant municipal commissioner Sanjay Kurhade (F-North ward) said: “The complaint must have come to me but I can’t recall it off hand.”