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Maintenance charges as per flat area under apartment ownership act

Maintenance charges are applicable according to the area of a flat under the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act but not to one registered under the Cooperative Societies Act.

The state department of cooperation’s recent order related to a society in south Pune had caused confusion among cooperative housing societies with members seeking a clarification from the department.

Buildings are governed by the Apartments Act 1970 or the Cooperative Societies Act 1960.

Digvijay Rathod, deputy registrar of cooperative societies, Pune city zone, had passed the order for Treasure Park apartment at Aranyeshwar.

The order is expected to benefit over 10,000 buildings under the Apartment Act in the city and close to 50,000 in the state. But it is not applicable to the 1.2 lakh cooperative housing societies in the state, Suhas Patwardhan, chairman of the Pune District Cooperative Housing Societies and Apartment Federation, told TOI.

The residents of Treasure Park had approached the district deputy registrar after the state government allowed housing societies to seek redressal instead of going to court.

The society has 356 flats, of which 180 are 2BHKS, 24 are 4 BHKs and the remaining 3 BHKs. The order passed in their favour says maintenance has to be taken as per the area of each flat.

“From 2015, all owners were charged the same maintenance. We approached the department many times and finally registered a complaint on December 7, 2020. The hearing was completed on June 22 this year and the order was issued on July 8. The central committee of Treasure Park has to implement the order with immediate effect,” said committee member Nilam Bhaskar Patil.

Under the Apartment Act, one has to pay maintenance as per the percentage of ownership in proportion to the common areas and pay as per square feet. In cooperative housing societies, the land and building are owned by the society, not by individuals, and most of the maintenance charges are divided equally, irrespective of the area. These charges include sinking fund, repairs and maintenance fund as per cost. It is as per the model bye-laws of cooperative housing societies, Patwardhan said.

However, some citizens covered under the Apartment Act have sought a revision. Consumer rights activist Ravindra Sinha said clause 10 of the Act covers equal expenses and profits as per area of the flat, but clause 3, under the definition of expenses, mentions expenses as agreed upon by the association.

“The association can independently frame byelaws and decide which expenses are service charges to be shared equally and which other expenses like sinking fund, repairs and maintenance fund and water charges can be charged on the area of the flat. Cooperative housing societies use this calculation which can be emulated by apartments owners too,” Sinha said.

The recent order will create more discontent for apartment owners. There is already a growing demand to amend clause 10 of the Apartment Act and make it similar to the cooperative housing society rules, he said.

Hari Sundaresh, an apartment owner from Pashan, said they have 351 units and have decided to continue charging equal amount per unit especially for maintenance of the common area facilities and amenities.

They will create a repairs and maintenance fund which is calculated in proportion to the area of the flat. “Our members are comfortable with the equal distribution of charges,” a former chairman of the society said.

Yuvraj Pawar, chairman of Dear Society Welfare Association, said there were constant issues among the owners. Their society would file a PIL to make amendments in the Apartment Act related to provisions on election, audit, maintenance rules, appointment of administrator and nomination.

Under the Apartment Act, residents paying more maintenance will seek more benefits, said Rajendra Chuttar, resident of Padmavilas Apartments.


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