Leakage in Co operative Housing Societies.

It is common knowledge that many disputes in Co operative Housing Societies originate on account of Leakage. Prima facie leakages are of two types internal leakage and external leakage.

We all know that water percolates from top to bottom. It reduces the life span of the building. The neighbour from whose flat leakage originates is  hardly bothered as leakage does not affect him.

The poor member residing on the lower floor pleads, appeals, screams but hardly does it affect the member residing above his flat.

His submission that his furniture is getting spoilt.  False ceiling is likely to fall, the paint is peeling, walls have become wet, There is a probability of electrical shocks due to water percolating into wall are just ignored by the member residing above.  The submissions being made by the society in such matters almost falls on deaf ears.

Forget about repairing the flat and stopping the leakage, Member residing on the above floor literally does not allow the society representatives or the representative of the members residing below to even allow the contractor to enter his flat.

Some societies have passed resolution that the expense on leakage of flat specifically internal leakage will be shared equally by all the three parties namely, one share by the member from whose flat leakage is originating,  one share by the member residing below that is the sufferer ( dukhi atma ) and one share by the society. Idea of sharing by the society is to ensure an element of support to the sufferer besides an element of fear on the member who is resisting carrying out leakage.

As regards external leakage or leakage from the terrace the same is the exclusive responsibility of the society.

Here,  I would like to add that the members are short-sighted at times due to vested interest they oppose sharing of expenses. Let’s take an example

We know that leakage will result in contribution of expenses by the members residing on the lower floors. Say the society collects Rs. 1,000/- per member per month for  repair and maintenance. The members on the top floor also pays Rs. 1,000 for repairs. Terrace repair contribution for  resolving the leakage problem would be say Rs. 5,00,000/-. Why should  the hefty expenses be incurred by all when more benefit is likely to accrue on a selected few? This is the logic of members residing on lower floors.

The aggrieved member much against his desire has to approach lawyer for such matters. Obviously his  lawyer will think in terms of the welfare of his clients and will take the fight to a different level. He will advise his client to approach Bombay Municipal Corporation and write to the Bombay Municipal Corporation  to issue notice to the society as well as a member residing above his flat. He may also advise his client to draw the attention of the Bombay Municipal Corporation to the irregularities and illegalities in the cooperative society. We have been given to understand that the Bombay Municipal Corporation itself is not following laws framed by the Bombay Municipal Corporation then how are Cooperative Societies supposed to follow the said laws100%? Nitch area, drying space area are merged and misused by many members of a cooperative  society which is an open secret.

Terrace repairs is the responsibility of the society.  But in reality members residing on top floors have to contribute extra is the unwritten rule for repairs of terrace. Alternatively  suffer in iisolation. Members in general body meeting will say just put tar by spending a few thousand rupees rather than repair the terrace.

In one matter of internal leakage Bombay High Court has also advise all the parties to resolve the issue amicably. That too after telling the cooperative society that the court would be forced to appoint an administrator to sort out the issue of leakage.

We are herewith annexing  a few newspaper articles and judgements on leakage related matters.

Compiled and Shared by

Sampat’s Law Firm

Advocate Vinod Sampat

Proprietor

 

Advocate Heena Vinod Sampat Advocate Dharmin Vinod Sampat Advocate Mithil Vinod Sampat

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Email vinod@vinodsampat.com

 

Newspaper Article regarding Leakage in Flat (1)

1188 WATERPROOFING CASEPKB VS RNA ORDER DATED 03 12 2014 leakage

378 HUMBLE HOME CHS LTD VS SHAM BALANI final.doc

994 LEAKAGES COURT JUDGMENTS.docx

Leakage in Co operative Housing Societies (1)

 

 

 

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Flat buyer can claim refund if he doesn’t get possession in time

Subsequently, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was issued on May 22, 2012, promising possession within 36 months. Sharma paid Rs 58,65,000 more as demanded.

The Authority failed to deliver possession within the promised period. So Sharma sent a letter on July 1, 2016 seeking a refund of the entire amount paid by him, but his request was ignored.

Instead, a letter backdated June 30, 2016, was sent on July 4, 2016, offering possession of the apartment, but Sharma did not take possession. After a few months, the Authority sent a letter agreeing to refund the money without interest, subject to a deduction of

10% of the total price paid.

Sharma then filed a complaint before the Punjab State Commission, which was contested by the Authority.

The Commission overruled the objection raised by the Authority that the dispute should be referred to arbitration or a civil court, and held the consumer fora were competent to adjudicate the dispute. It concluded a consumer who is not given possession in time has a right to seek a refund. Accordingly, it directed the Authority to refund the entire amount along with 8% compound interest. In addition, Rs 50,000 was awarded as compensation and Rs 21,000 as litigation costs.

The Authority appealed against this order. The National Commission scrutinized the postal receipts and the envelopes and found the letter sent by the Authority had been despatched on July 4, 2016, but had been backdated to June 30, 2016, to make it appear it was sent a day prior to Sharma’s letter dated July 1, 2016.

Accordingly, by its order of January 2, 2019, delivered by the bench of Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Shreesha, the National Commission dismissed the Authority’s appeal.

Conclusion: A flat purchaser can seek a refund along with interest and compensation if possession is delayed. Such a demand could be made at any time prior to the issuance of letter offering possession.

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt.of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in )

Jehangir B Gai

ePaper, The Times of India, Bombay, Monday, January 07, 2019, Page 4:

An Ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act of 1960

An Ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act of 1960, dated 30th October 2018 with immediate effect

Salient features of New Housing Chapter in MCS Act 1960.
1. Elections to the housing societies fir less than 200 members to be conducted internally by the society .

2. Concept of new members like Joint and provisional members introduced

3. Concept of Coop Hsg Association introduced to facilitate the formation of association of less than 5 societies for conveyance or Deemed conveyance matters .

4. Penaltyof Rs.25000 on Management committee introduced for not allowing inspections of documents u/s 32.

5.Scope of Sec.32 in inspection of documents widened .

6.Role of Housing federations widened .

7. HUF is specially included as person in the definition which was not included earlier .

8. Defaulter is specifically defined now in the Act itself.

CA Shilpa Shinagare
Member of Hsg Chapter Committee of Ministry of Coop .MH

Cooperative housing societies: Common issues and solutions

Common issues in any cooperative housing societies or CHS can be resolved by discussion. If this does not solve the issue, the complainant may have to raise it to appropriate authorities, like municipal corporation, deputy registrar for cooperatives, consumer court and police

The recent Campa Cola episode shows that co-operative housing societies (CHS) must exercise due caution, when it comes to maintaining and ensuring that their buildings comply with the law. Sometimes, there are infractions between housing societies and individual apartment owners, as well as outsiders. However, many individual apartment owners are at a loss as far as grievance is concerned and do not know how to proceed with their complaint. There are several issues in a CHS, like car parking, leakages, fraudulent auditing, unauthorised construction (ala Campa Cola), and many other issues. Home owners need to know the right recourse to take action to ensure that their rights are maintained and upheld. Advocate Vinod Sampat who is the speaker at a seminar being hosted by Moneylife Foundation has given a brief of what you should do when you encounter various problems.

Some of the common problems related to co-operative societies and the solution to the same are produced as under:

Problem Suggestion Solution
A AGAINST BUILDERS (ACT FAST BEFORE NEW ACT IS INTRODUCED!)
1 Sale of open parking space by builder, sale of pocket terrace by builder, not executing the conveyance, not giving statement of accounts, not obtaining occupation certificate, not obtaining building completion certificate, not handing over original documents of title of the property, not transferring the property card in favour of the legal entity
a) Approach Consumer Court for deficiency of service;

 

b) Approach the criminal court for cheating, criminal breach of trust, mischief, violations of the provisions of Sec. 11 & 13 of MOF Act;

 

c) Lodge  complaint  with  ULC  Department  as undertakings are given that conveyance will be executed within a stipulated period of time at the time of release of the plot from ULC;

 

d) Lodge complaint with ISO authorities if the builder has got an ISO certificate;

 

e) Lodge complaint with SEBI if the builder is going for a public issue and has not made the disclosures in the prospectus;

 

f)  Lodge complaint with BMC to black list the builder;

 

g) Lodge complaint with police seeking permission to take out morcha by peaceful means to protest against the acts of the builder.

2 Builder  not  sharing  the  amounts received from allotment of hoardings, installation of mobile tower on the societies terrace a) Approach the consumer courts for deficiency of service;

 

b) Request police authorities to file an FIR;

 

c) Approach city civil court;

 

d) Approach High Court.

3 Builders developing adjacent plot and apprehension  is  there  that  the FSI/TDR of the society is being used a) Write letters to BMC objecting to the same;

 

b) File a suit in High Court/ city civil court/ consumer courts praying for an injunction restraining the builder from utilizing the FSI/TDR of the plot of land for which the society has already been formed.

B CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY
1 Society not allowing visitors to park their vehicles in the building premises
a) Approach the police authorities stating that there is violation of the provisions of Table 15 READ WITHRegulation 36 of the Development Control Rules, read with Regulation 36 which stipulates that 10% (now 25%) of the parking space has to be kept vacant for the visitors;

 

b) Lodge a complaint with Bombay Municipal Corporation requesting the Corporation to cancel the occupation certificate as the terms and conditions pertaining to IOD have been violated.

2
Society not allotting car parking space to members
a) Draw the attention to the provisions of Table 15 Regulation 36 of Development Control Rules of Greater Mumbai;

 

b) Approach Consumer Forum for deficiency of service;

 

c) Approach Co-operative Court;

 

d) Approach Registrar’s office;

 

e) Note if you have other like minded members who are deprived of parking one each can approach different authorities;

 

f)  It will not make difference if the builder has sold car parking space to some other flat purchasers.

3 Co-operative Housing Society collecting exorbitant amounts at the time of transfer of flat, collecting exorbitant amount towards non occupancy charges a) Approach consumer court for deficiency in service;

 

b) Approach police station for extortion, mischief against all the members of the managing committee with a specific request to lodge a First Information Report (FIR);

 

c) Approach metropolitan magistrates court;

 

d) Lodge complaint against auditor for professional misconduct.

4 a) Managing committee members not  issuing share certificate to members;

 

b) Co-operative Housing Society not taking action against the members of the managing committee who have misused the funds of the society;

 

c) Co-operative Housing Society not taking action against defaulters who are managing committee members

a) Approach Consumer Forum against society;

 

b) Approach Co-operative Court;

 

c) Approach the office of the registrar to remove the managing committee members;

 

d) If more complainants are there they can approach different authorities.

5 Co-operative Housing Society and its members employing minors a) Lodge complaint for violations of Juvenile Workers Act, 1986, Bye law No 161(C), stipulates a punishment up to one year imprisonment and/or fine up to Rs20,000

 

b) Lodge complaint with labour & police authorities

C CRITICS CORNER
1 Office bearers behaving as dictators.

Some members are having parties and disturbing the peace in the building

To lodge complaints with the registrar of co-operative societies, approach co-operative court or consumer forum;

 

For certain matters contact police authorities

2 Co-operative Housing Society not taking action against unauthorised construction Lodge complaint with Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) for unauthorised construction
3 Co-operative Housing Society not responding to queries as regards payment of service tax Do the correspondence with service tax department
4 Co-operative Housing Society not maintaining fire fighting equipments As per section 3(1) Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006 read with rule 4(2) Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures

Rules every society having a building of ground plus four floors and above have to submit / arrange to submit every half yearly a certificate to the fire authorities. I would like to have a copy of the same at my cost for the last three years. Take up such matters with fire authorities.

5 Co-operative Housing Society not showing records related to

various expenses being incurred by the society

Draw the attention of office bearers to the circular dated 10/3/1995 issued by co operative department.
6 Complaint  against  chartered accountant who has audited the accounts of the society Write to Institute of Chartered Accountants of India highlighting provisions of act, rules and bye laws; Example: Exorbitant amount collected as donation, security not given by persons handling cash. Rule 107-B.

 

Money collected for car parking deposit, amounts of some members waived off, legal expenses recovered from only some members + action at consumer forum.

7 Complaint against auditor on the panel of registrar Request the authorities to take disciplinary action against the auditor;

 

Request the authorities to remove the name of the auditor from the panel of auditors;

 

If it is a case of negligence approach the consumer forum for the losses caused with a prayer to recover the same from the auditor;

 

File criminal case. In our view permission to file criminal case from government authorities is required only if the person is appointed by the government;

 

If the employee is appointed by the head of the state then permission is not required.

8 Complaint against government officers for not giving the proper information

 

Always keep camera spy pen with you. It is not known when it can come handy

Approach the higher authorities;

 

Ask for the actions initiated against him in his earlier postings;

 

Ask the pending departmental proceedings going against him as of date;

 

Here RTI Act can be of help to you.

D COURT MATTERS
1 Government officer not passing the order after the matter is kept closed for order.

 

 

Politely state that the judgment in the case has been reserved since a long time. Order XX Rule 1 of Code of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 fixes a model Time Limit of 30 for pronouncement of Judgment. Therefore please pronounce the judgment at an early date and do the real justice since ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ (You may also ask for all orders being passed by the said quasi judicial authority)
2 No track record as to the court case Insist on roznamas of all the dates of the hearing
3 Reply received from advocates that

court is not sitting

Tell the advocate to take up the matter with the judge; who has got additional charge of the said court.
4 How to speed up court case

 

 

If you are a senior citizen you have a right to request the court to take up the matter for expeditious hearings in the light of the high court circular dated 3/08/2009. If a long date is given insist for a shorter date;

 

You can approach the higher court for directions to expedite the court case if there is urgency in the matter. File miscellaneous applications to get the necessary information.

5 How to protect ones interest in matters where there is possibility of litigation.

 

ALWAYS  CARRY  LATEST GADGETS AND RECORD

Use modern technologies like Google search and ask for help;

 

Tell your advocate to pray for ad interim injunction;

 

Tell the court for the appointment of court commissioner.

E Right to Information -RTI
1 Despite writing no action is being initiated by government officers Make an application under the Right to Information Act (RTI) to the public information officer.
2 Evasive replies are given by the public information officer. 4578 illegal cell towers in Mumbai. Action taken big zero. If a common man breaks the law will the BMC be lenient. What was our sleeping giant doing when such towers were installed? Why are criminal cases not being filed by BMC suo moto? File an appeal. You may also file another application with the public information officer asking for information which may include copies of all the registers being maintained by the office, when the said registers are being updated, details of the registers which are incomplete, number of files in the office which are misplaced, not traceable, number of letters received per month by the office, details of the number of matters disposed of within one week, inspection of the files with specific reference to the files of the matters disposed of within one week. If you have asked for documents like certified true copy you can also approach the consumer forum as you are a consumer;

 

To put pressure you can tell your relative at say Gujarat to file a complaint from Gujarat in Gujarati. Section 11(c ) of the Consumer Protection Act, which stipulates that a case can be registered where the cause of action wholly or in part arises. (Samajnewale ko ishara kafi hai);

 

Ask for inspection and reply given to RTI queries in the last six months.

3 Society not getting copy of building plan Write to the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities asking for the necessary information using  the Right to Information (RTI) act;

 

Also approach consumer forum for deficiency of services.

F Police-related matters
Police not taking steps to lodge an FIR in case of a cognisable offence Approach the magistrate u/s 154 of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to direct the police officers to register an FIR.
G How to draft complaint letters
Letter to Co-operative Society/ Government authorities.

 

 

Address to society, managing committee members and various government authorities;

 

Follow up with email to various government authorities;

 

Take up the matter on Lokshahi Din;

 

Just do not stick to one subject. Highlight all the wrong things done in the society;

 

Dramatise the facts; For eg: Say that the collective value of the property is approx Rs50 crore. If it is government department like BMS say that the yearly budget is Rs2,800 crore and the same is not properly utilised. Ask for information which will result in time being spent by the opposite party which information may not be very important for you;

 

Highlight instances of corruption, inefficiency pointed out by government authorities eg. Anti corruption bureau, comptroller and auditor general;

 

Request the government authorities to download the orders as is stipulated in Right to Information act. It is common knowledge that authorities do not do all their jobs as per provisions of all in all cases, follow up with Right to Information application if the matter pertains to government department.

 

LASTLY reserve your right to take action as per due process of law.

H Action against auditors

 

(Adv Vinod Sampat is a practising lawyer since past 28 years. He has authored several articles on property-related matters and written 46 books on cooperative societies, transfer of flats, recovery of dues, registration and stamp duty matters. He has been an Hon. Patron member of the Estate Agents Association of India. He is also the Hon. Advisor of the Federation of Accommodation Industry of India and is an advisor to the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry as well as the Federation of Accommodation Industry in India, apart from being part of many committees and winning several honours.)

Forced donations sought by housing societies illegal: HC

In a setback to housing societies who get members to make a ‘voluntary donation’ at the time of sale of flat, the Bombay high court has ruled such payments are illegal. A housing society cannot recover excessive transfer fee from a member under the guise of ‘voluntary donation’, the court has ruled.

“A cooperative housing society…is not expected to indulge in profiteering from members and, if such amount is earned, then it is taxable under the law. There is no bar on any member to pay a donation to the society, but it should be voluntary,” said Justice Bhatkar.

The judge remarked housing societies were known to charge extra from members. “Different ways are invented to earn more than legally permissible charges,” the judge said. The HC directed the society to refund Rs 4.75 lakh along with 8% interest from 2005.

In the present case, a former member had accused Alankar Sahkari Cooperative Housing Society of forcing him to make a donation. The member claimed he was facing financial distress and hence had decided to sell the bungalow plot in the housing society. The committee, he claimed, sought a donation of Rs 5 lakh for their approval.

The member paid the amount in April 2005 and, once the sale was through, filed a dispute before the cooperative court in December 2005, seeking a refund of the amount paid under duress. The cooperative courts ordered the refund, which was challenged by the society in the high court.

The society referred to a communication by the member that he was donating the amount voluntarily. The high court refused to accept this admission. “A person facing financial crises will not donate Rs 5 lakh. There is a ceiling of Rs 25,000 for transfer fees,” the judge said. “From this conduct of taking immediate steps… and challenging the transaction, it can be safely concluded the amount was not a donation.”

Shibu.Thomas@timesgroup.com

Times Of India – 030918