Flat owners in a fix in Mumbai’s co-op housing societies

In land-starved Mumbai, managing committees of cooperative housing societies tango with builders to beat the law and browbeat flat owners by opting to redevelop buildings

According to legal and realty experts, while the laws are generally good, society MCs take advantage of sundry shortcomings to connive with builders at the time of executing redevelopment contracts. As a result, tens of redevelopment cases end up in courts. While cases between housing societies and their members land in cooperative courts, a feud among a society, its members and a third party goes to the high court.

At the ward/department level, there are lakhs of cases of such disputes.

The government’s taciturn approach does not help either – legal experts say the departments concerned turn a blind eye to the “dictatorial manner” in which MCs function by flouting laws and disregarding rules.

 

Many experts are of the view that the Redevelopment Directives of January 2009 U/S 79 are broad guidelines, and are one-sided – they are meant only for members to follow and lack any provision for penalty or punishment for the errant builders. Despite many projects being delayed, no builder has so far been put behind bars, prompting Dilip Shah, senior counsel, redevelopment, to quip, “This is a major lacuna. And builders know that a common man cannot afford to get into a long-drawn legal battle.”

 

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