Housing societies cannot always be the trouble-free utopias that we imagine them to be, as they do have their own share of woes and problems. Some problems can be resolved by a discussion with the managing committee; but, for more complicated issues, one may have to approach the appropriate authorities such as the municipal corporation, deputy registrar for cooperative societies, consumer or even the police.
The list of problems faced by residents, either owners or tenants, is perhaps endless. But, in each case there is a failsafe solution, provided that one acts with foresight and approaches the correct authorities for a timely solution. This week, we are looking at a case where a housing society is illegally charging more than the prescribed amount for transfer of flat, another where the owner is unclear on the applicability of non-occupancy charges and a case where the municipal corporation is trying to recover non-agricultural taxes from a shop owner.
Each week, we will look at queries sent by our readers, to Moneylife Foundation’s Legal Helpline
. These will be answered by Shirish Shanbhag, an expert on such matters, who has regularly provided counselling and guidance to members of Moneylife Foundation.
Illegal Charges by Society for Transfer of Flat
Question: My Society is charging Rs75,000 for issuing a no objection certificate (NOC) and for the transfer of ownership to new owner, in the case of selling a flat. I believe that the Government of Maharashtra has capped this charge at Rs25,000 as per some law. When I questioned the managing committee, I was told that the increased amount was approved in an Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) some 9-10 yrs ago and has been applicable since then. Please advise.
Answer: Society cannot change more than the transfer premium of Rs25,000 which has been fixed by the Government. Even if it is decided in the general body meeting of the society, it is against the law to charge more than the prescribed amount.
You should pay Rs25,000 as fixed by the Government to the society. If society insists on paying additional amount, then under Bye-law No. 174(A)(vi) make a complaint to Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Housing Societies against the society.
Gift Deed of a Jointly Owned Flat to Spouse
Question: My sister is married to a US citizen and both are living in the US for more than 25 years. They have a flat in Thiruvananthapuram, where both are joint owners. Now the husband wants to gift this flat to his wife. I wanted to understand the procedure and documents needed.
Answer: As I understand it, this flat is jointly owned by your sister and her husband, and now he wants to gift it to his wife. Since that flat is jointly owned by your sister and her husband, she is a 50% owner of the flat. Her husband will give her his 50% ownership, and make her the 100% owner of their jointly owned flat. For this he has to make a Gift Deed of his 50% share in their jointly-owned flat.
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. Here is the link: https://www.moneylife.in/lrc.
For this Gift Deed, both of them, with two witnesses, should be present at Sub-Registrar of Assurances Office where this flat is located. If they cannot come to India for this work, then they issue a Power of Attorney to any one person who is a resident of the place where their flat is located.
Non-agricultural Tax Recovery Demand for Shop in Thane
Question: I am a shop owner with registered sale deed (around 380sqft—square feet—carpet area) in Thane. The landowner still has the conveyance of the land and conveyance has not been done in my name. The property card is still in the name of landowner.
Tahsildar karyalay has issued final demand notice for recovery of non-agricultural (NA) tax for last 10 years, which runs into lakhs of rupees for my small shop. Even the basis for calculating the NA tax has not been mentioned in the notice. I wanted to know, whether the tax recovery is legally valid and whether I can dispute the same.
Answer: Write a letter to Tahsildar Thane, with a copy of your NA Tax bill, asking them to explain the mode of calculation of NA Tax on your shop.
If you do not receive any reply, then with the copy of your complaint to Tahsildar, make a Lokshahi Din Complaint to Thane District Collector. You have not mentioned whether your Shop is in a private building or in a cooperative housing society.
If your shop is in your name in a private building, then your name should come in the property card of landlord. Make an application to Talathi Office with copy of your Shop's Sale Deed and copy of NA Tax bill, to put your name in the 7/12 extract of the land and make mutation entry in Form-6.
With these documents you apply at City Survey Office to enter your name in Property Card of the land.
Application of Non-occupancy Charges
Question: I have a flat in Pune in a cooperative housing society. I understand that as per bye laws, the housing society can charge up to 10% of service charges as non-occupancy charges to flat owner for an unoccupied or rented flat. Can this non-occupancy charge be challenged in court or can a complaint be raised within registrar’s office, if there is absolutely no reason for the society to charge it and they are just charging it to save maintenance charges to residential owners? Please advice.
Answer: A cooperative Housing Society can charge 10% as non-occupancy charges, if the flat is given on rent. This non-occupancy charges is 10% of society's maintenance for that flat, excluding the applicable municipal taxes.
If the flat is given on rent to near relatives as defined under Bye-law No. 3(xxv) under the definition of family, or flat is kept vacant (no one resides in the flat), then non-occupancy charges are not to be levied on that flat.
If there is any breach of law, then under Bye-law No 174(A)(v) flat owner can make a complaint to deputy registrar of cooperative societies of that particular area.
(Shirish Shanbhag has an MSc in Organic Chemistry, Diploma in Higher Education, and a Diploma in French and has completed his LL.B. in first class in 2021. Before his retirement, he was a junior college teacher at Patkar College from July 1980 to May 2012, where he taught theoretical and practical chemistry. Post-retirement in 2012, he started providing guidance and counselling to people on several issues, with a specific focus on cooperative housing society-related matters. He has over 30 years of hands-on experience in all matters pertaining to housing societies and can provide out-of-box solutions for any practical issue.)