In recent developments in the real estate industry in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court in Merlin Tf Lake View & Ors vs Ruchir Jain & Ors on 26 August, 2015, held that:
“Once the apartments are constructed and registration is completed, we fail to understand how the maintenance charges could be borne by the developer. It has to be borne by the respective owners of apartments or the tenants depending upon the agreement between the owner of the flat and the tenant who occupies a particular flat.”
The Court also directed the Special Officer appointed by the Court to:
“collect the said money from the flat owners who are refusing or reluctant to pay at the rate of Rs.2 per sq.ft. towards the maintenance charges.”
It is pertinent to note that maintenance charges and maintenance of the apartments, after the building is constructed, the apartments ready and handed over, is upon the owners and residents of such apartments. Forming an apartment association is the best option to deal with apartment maintenance charges. However, if no association can be formed, then the majority of the owners should come together to initiate process of registering an association. It is an easy process and with the coming of the Amendment Act of 2015, all owners are not required to form the association.
It is the duty of the individual apartment owners to form an association or society as soon as the apartments are handed over to the residents by the promoter/builder. The owners should not rely on ad hoc associations as they do not hold legal validity and may cause severe problems later. To read about how apartment association is formed and the processes involved check out this Blog Post. To learn more about how HousingNinja can help form apartment associations or housing cooperative society, please check here.