Changes to maintenance fee law evoke mixed response, legal action
Payment of common area maintenance charges in several high-rise gated communities became a bone of contention among residents, builders and residents’ welfare associations.Updated: Jun 02, 2018 08:51 IST
The state government’s decision to cap maintenance charges of common areas and facilities on the basis of the size of residential societies has received mixed reactions from residents. A group of residents has challenged the order in the high court.
The state cabinet on Wednesday ordered amendments to the Haryana Registration and Regulations of Societies (HRRS) Rules, 2012 and decided to fix the charges on the basis of the size of the apartment. Also, in case of change of ownership of an apartment, the cabinet ordered capping the transfer fee at Rs 10,000.
The decision is likely to settle the confusion about payment of charges.
“This decision was pending for long, to clear the confusion on the criterion for fixing common area changes. Due to ambiguity in certain provisions of HRRS, many owners refused to pay maintenance and took RWAs to court,” Naveen Chaurasia, a resident of Vipul Belmonte, an upscale condominium on Golf Course Road in Sector 53, said.
Payment of common area maintenance charges in several high-rise gated communities became a bone of contention among residents, builders and residents’ welfare associations.
A number of housing societies and gated communities were collecting maintenance charges on the basis of the number of units, irrespective of the size of the residence, but there are many private high-rises where maintenance charges are collected on a per-square-foot basis.
In 2016, Rajiv Malhotra, a penthouse owner at Vipul Belmonte and some other residents, had filed a petition in a civil court, challenging the RWA’s decision to collect maintenance charges on the basis of the size of flats.
Vipul Belmonte has 10 towers that comprise 20 penthouses, 48 five-bedroom units, 104 four-bedroom units and 136 three-bedroom flats.
In August 2016, the RWA had cut electricity supply to those not paying the charges for more than four-and-a-half hours, leading to an altercation. The supply was restored upon police intervention. “We believe this does not make sense. As there is one vote per apartment and the right to use and access common areas is equal, why should charges for common area be based on the internal size of an apartment?” said Malhotra.
He said they have challenged the order in Punjab and Haryana high court through a writ.
The common area has been designed for equal population density per flat, i.e., five people per flat, as certified by the senior town planner, and the evidence has been placed before the high court, Malhotra said.
The cabinet decided all existing societies will modify their by-laws accordingly and get these approved by the district registrar. “At present, there is no provision under the rules pertaining to the transfer fee and maintenance charges,” a spokesperson for the state government said.