Cooperative housing societies: Common issues and solutions
Vinod Sampat 18 November 2013

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.
 

Register for the Moneylife Foundation Event by Vinod Sampat over here:
 

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 WITH Regulation 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

 

 

 

Stay tuned for the 2nd part which will be published tomorrow in the run up to Vinod Sampat’s seminar.

 

NOTE:
Those seeking help or advice on CHS issues can contact Moneylife Foundation’s Legal Resource Centre (LRC) ( http://moneylife.in/lrc.html )

 

(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.)

Comments
pahwamayank
1 month ago
We want to go for a balcony enclosure. We are on the first floor and facing terrible issues of mosquitoes coming in. The society allows only one balcony to be covered, but the contractor played a fast one ordered the windows and hot them made, now we are a ready to install and cover the complete balcony area. Will this have repercussions? because they allow one to be covered .
vipul504d
2 months ago
Society made a fiber shed between my own terrace and society's common terrace to resolve water drainage problem of lower floors. Can society build fiber shed on my terrace wall and common wall
vijay1226games
2 months ago
Society had done renovation work for flat owners only including lift whereas, the shop owners don't get any renovation service as well as they are not using lift as the shop owners are not inside the society premise inspite of that the society wants the shop owners to pay renovation charges ...... How can shop owners avoid to pay the renovation charges to the society ..... Please suggest me the case laws or any legal way for it
nniyer2006
3 months ago
1st July 2021

My Housing Society is in Bhandup East. We passed necessary resolutions and initiated self-redevelopment process 1.5 years back and appointed a PMC for the job.

Due to Covid19 obstacles the progress was slow and at last we got our IOD two months back and we are in the verge of completing the formalities and obtain Commencement Certificate as land survey has been done 15 days back (the last requirement of IOD). However, the Report is yet to be received from MCGM.

At the Managing Committee Meeting held in the last week of May 2021 the Chairman categorically informed to a query of a Managing Committee Member that the Maintenance Charges will be charged at normal rates and the same will be revised at the SGM to be convened in which the date of vacation by members and PAA agreements will be finalised.

Accordingly, the Treasurer raised the Maintenance Charges Bill on 5th June 2021 for the first quarter viz, April to June 2021 and few members, including the Chairman remitted the amount.

However, at the SGM held on 16th May 2021, in which the draft PAA was discussed and no date was fixed for vacation, the same Committee Member raised the topic of reduction in Maintenance Charges and with the support of few more members reduced the Maintenance Charges from Rs.1500 per month to Rs.250 per month, that too with retrospective effect from April 2021. Since majority members desired, the Chairman too agreed to the proposal.

The query is – Is such resolution is valid in the wake of the Managing Committee’s decision NOT to reduce and based on which the Bills were also already raised??? Please clarify. Please note that based on the Bills few more members also paid the full maintenance (4 out of 12) charges and others, say 3 out of 12 the reduced charges. Others yet to pay i.e. 5 of 12.

Nagarajan Iyer
Mob: 80977 23196
rahul30m
4 months ago
Hi,

Can the society management committee members dectate that all members should not keep Plants in their balcony as it spoils the paint of the Building? Can they fine the member in case member does not agree to such restrictions?

Also if a particular member has been allotted more than one cover car park slots and the members is paying maintenance regularly, can the society's management committee charge extra/double the amount towards parking charges to that particular member as compared to other members who have been allotted just one car park and recover some money through his maintenance bills to cover other costs ?

What legal course one can follow in all the above situations? Is there a guarantee of quick justice?
mpsramani
Replied to rahul30m comment 3 months ago
You have asked too many questions. Each question has to be answered separately. Managing Committee has no powers except those specifically given to it as its duties under the bye-laws of the Society. Societies have to adopt the Model Byelaws. Managing Committee is bound to give you a copy of the bye-laws at the prescribed cost. If they don't give purchase a copy from Federation Office. It will give answer to all your questions.
You look at each of your issues and examine it. If it appears to good follow it. Otherwise fight it out.

Regarding plants in the balcony. MC says that it will spoil the paint. Do you feel it will spoil the plant? Has it spoiled the paint in your balcony or in the balcony of any other member? There is no byelaw that says that plants cannot be kept in the balcony. But byelaw says that members should keep their flats neat and tidy. It goes without saying that members should not do anything that will make surrounding outside of their respective flats unclean or cause damage.
Byelaws allow allotment of parking lots to members. Their charges are to be approved by the General Meeting. If additional parking lots are available after satisfying the needs of members they can be allotted to members having more than one car. It is up to the General Meeting to charge a higher rate for additional parking lot .
rahul30m
4 months ago
Hi,

Can the society management committee members dectate that all members should not keep Plants in their balcony as it spoils the paint of the Building? Can they fine the member in case member does not agree to such restrictions?

Also if a particular member has been allotted more than one cover car park slots and the members is paying maintenance regularly, can the society's management committee charge extra/double the amount towards parking charges to that particular member as compared to other members who have been allotted just one car park and recover some money through his maintenance bills to cover other costs ?

What legal course one can follow in all the above situations? Is there a guarantee of quick justice?
rahul30m
4 months ago
Hi, can the society management committee members dictate whether all members should take services from specific internet service providers only (Max 3 based on majority of members who have subscribed to leading internet service providers in that area) and if that rule is not followed they will either disallow any member from subscribing to any other internet service provider OR they will cut the cables in case the member does not agree to follow this rule laid down by society members?

Also can management committee disallow/block members from going to the terrace for taking morning or evening walk?

Also can management committee lock the main gate of the society to stop guests from parking their vehicles in building premise OR block specific members from parking their cars inside the open car park area since the open car park area us already taken up by few members on a first come first serve basis long ago?


What legal course one can follow in all the above situations? Is there a guarantee of quick justice?
anshrankayt
11 months ago
can the secretary of my building disallow kids from using society properties like the terrace and even put a ban on playing outdoor sports . tIaday in Mumbai due to a power cut me and my friends all 16-17 years old asked for the terrace keys and the secretary just denied to give the keys for no reason .
vevovivek
Replied to anshrankayt comment 5 months ago
No, they can't disallow to play. They can ask to make sure noise is not created ( as it will disturb others & noise disturbance is legally wrong too), not to trouble anyone like if playing cricket/ football it may break glass or hit anyone so this needs to be cared. Such common sense things can be restricted but not total restriction, you will have to talk to cops or take it to local city court.
pramod2284
1 year ago
Did your problem got addressed,what action have you taken,I have a similar sort of situation.
ankitnavedia
1 year ago
Hi - I have requested my society chairman for allwoing to do excerise and keep some of my Gym Equipments on Building terrace till lockdown and promised to remove all the equipments once the lockdown is over also given the same in written. Now in my society some people are asking me not to excercise on terrace and also taking my pictures in their cellphone (I dont know why). Chairman has approved my request. Now everyone in my society user terrace space to dry their clothes. As a member I think I am also allowed to use terrace space for my use as I am also paying maintainence. Is there any law to shut them up and inform them that if they dont let me use they also cant use? Please let me know soon. Thanks
vevovivek
Replied to ankitnavedia comment 5 months ago
You can use it too, they are being partial. You just need to make sure you don't create noise/ vibration which will disturb others. Also, make sure you don't occupy the space for whole day when not in use, it may cause annoyance to others as they will not be able to utilize it to it's fullest. You will have to talk to them or take it legally, in your city court.
manubsharma
2 years ago
my society not following order of Deputy Registrar regarding correcting wrongly charged interest and penalty to me i had paid my dues in advance since 2011 till 2020. dispute was for some period in 2011 i have paid my dues along with interest in Dec'2011 and later paid my dues in advance. a approached Deputy Registrar and Registrar order to remove excessive interest and penalty.
Pravin Bakshi
2 years ago
In my housing society, we have noticed terrace being used to assemble to drink, eat and litter in the evenings by young member family and friends..

Is there in bye laws or liquor control rule to restrict this activity ...Can MC introduce a law to this affect ..? Is CHS Premises defined as public place ?
Albert
2 years ago
I have external bldg leakage issue for past 3yrs. This leakage has damaged my bedroom ceiling. The leakage has caused damage to the electrical fitting short circuit and sparking. I have been approaching the soc secretary n the managing committee in writing and in person but till date nothing has been done to resolve the problem. This tower is 5yrs old.
Pls advise course of action.
Thank you
novasimpex
Replied to Albert comment 1 year ago
Complain to dy registrars office
Shalini kamath
2 years ago
We have parking issue in our building. There is no space for parking cycles due to which the cycles are parked in the entrance/corridor of the building. The issue is some cycles are rusted and inspite of repeated requests the owners are not taking any steps to dispose them or take away the cycles . Since the rusted cycles may cause injury to flat people passing by , please advise how the society management can take action against this.?
vevovivek
Replied to Shalini kamath comment 5 months ago
Write a letter to society management, if they don't resolve then you have to complain to municipal corporation (which will eventually not help too), you will have to take it legally, to city court.
Prashant Kamath
2 years ago
Hi Sir,

My father had purchased a flat back in year 1985. The land of the society is a collector land. We have purchased a car recently and asked society for stilt car park. Secretary refused to give so. Hence we had parked in a emergency parking for some time. Secretary issued a notice to move the car or it will be towed. But my father refused to take the notice. Hence secretary stuck the notice on my car which made the damage to my car.
Hence my father gave a letter over the same. Thus secretary tore that letter without acknowledgement. Now my father filed a case on the society regarding the same. But the secretary in revert put the legal charges on us, But that too without any bill or voucher. Hence my father is not paying the legal fees there on. This has caused the increase in interest.

Can anyone confirm if society has rights to put the bill on society members for legal charges. If yes then on whose name that bill should be. Is anything written in by laws then kindly confirm and share
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