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MLF Seminar on CHS Issues: Dealing with Housing Society Issues

Vinod Sampat gave the audience invaluable practical tips to deal with CHS and legal issues

 

Leading expert on cooperative housing societies (CHS), advocate Vinod Sampat, offers a bunch of unusual, pragmatic and practical solutions to ordinary people to resolve a plethora of issues related to their home as well as transmission and inheritance of property. Addressing Moneylife Foundation members, Mr Sampat explained to a packed hall the complex and, often, badly drafted rules that govern CHS, allowing for multiple interpretations.

 

Most people are unfamiliar with the rules governing CHS and, since the managing committee also works on a voluntary basis, the interpretation of civic and legal compliances and powers vested in a small group of people leads to disputes and bitterness that can turn one’s hard-earned, dream home into a nightmare. How to handle it? The core of Mr Sampat’s talk was about being practical. On several common issues such as parking, use of terraces, conveyance and repair of common areas or dealing with leakage from another flat, he suggested discussion and friendly compromise. Only if this did not resolve the issue, did he advocate the next step—of filing a complaint with appropriate authorities or approaching a consumer or cooperative court for redress. In many cases, he suggested the use of Right to Information (RTI) to get data from the municipal corporation and, in the rare case, going to the police.

 

“In several cases regarding cooperative housing society issues, consumer courts have given most effective decisions,” provided the case is properly presented, he said. On the vexed issue of deemed conveyance, Mr Sampat again had practical tips. He asked people to start collecting the documents first. Use RTI to get society plans if they were not available; take steps to get a property card and ensure that it was in the name of the housing society and then work at other documents required for deemed conveyance, was his advice.

 

As per the provisions of Section 11 of the Maharashtra Ownerships Flats Act (MOFA), the promoter is duty-bound to give a clear title and convey it to the organisation of persons who had bought the flat (i.e., CHS, home-buyer, apartment owner, etc). It is also the duty of the promoter to file a copy of the conveyance with the flat purchasers and the competent authority under Section 11(2).

 

Talking about oppression of certain members by the management committee, usually those who ask uncomfortable questions or object to the misuse of powers, advocate Sampat’s suggestion was to use technology to create irrefutable evidence. He said, “Use video recording to document each meeting.” These days, most smart phones have good video recording facilities that are simple to use.

 

A large number of queries at the seminar pertained to nomination and transmission. While Mr Sampat explained the rules, he said, it is best to make a Will so that there is no ambiguity about how a person wants his assets transmitted after his demise. In many tricky family disputes on how to share an asset, Mr Sampat said that it is best to work at an amicable solution and compromise, since the alternative was to be stuck with long and expensive court cases.

 

Advocate Sampat further spoke on conveyance and re-development. “Unfortunately, the real estate sector is unregulated, and few people have knowledge about its various laws. And even fewer can stand up to the powerful builders’ lobby,” he added.

 

The Campa Cola episode shows that cooperative housing societies must exercise due caution, when it comes to maintaining and ensuring that their buildings comply with the law.

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