In Maharashtra, general body (GB) meetings of all cooperative housing societies (CHS) are supposed to be recorded through video or audio means. However, many Societies and managing committees fail to do so, as they remain unaware of the guidelines. As a result, most meetings go unrecorded and only minutes of the meeting are maintained and circulated in a textual format.
A recording can be helpful in cases of complaints where a resident member challenges or points out discrepancies in the circulated minutes. Recordings can also help to avoid manipulation of details by the managing committee and to avoid misinterpretation of the minutes. When a complaint is raised with the deputy registrar regarding a GB meeting, the video or audio recording is consulted to verify the facts of the case.
All members of a housing society have the right to ask for a video recording of the meeting from the managing committee in addition to the minutes of the meeting. This week, I will address on such a problem while looking at other issues of parking charges for tenants and redevelopment of a registered association of flats.
Access to CCTV Footage of Managing Committee Meetings
Question: A few resolutions were passed in an annual general meeting (AGM) of our Society where some non-members were present. When I wrote a letter to the Society seeking CCTV records, the managing committee denied my request. Also, can they levy advocate fees on the member if such member approaches the deputy registrar to resolve such queries?
Answer: You can certainly get the CCTV footage of your AGM from your managing committee (MC). A copy of the footage is also sent to the deputy registrar (DR) of cooperative societies by the MC. On receiving your complaint, the DR will direct MC to give you the CCTV recording on a CD or pen drive, the cost of which has to be borne by you.
If the MC wants to appoint an advocate for any matter concerning the Society, then it should give a notice to all members stating the reasons which explain the need for such an appointment. The advocate's fee is to be equally shared by all members and not just by the member against whom the advocate has been appointed.
Discrepancy in Parking Charges for Tenants
Question: I own a two-bedroom-hall-kitchen (2BHK) flat in Thane and have given it on rent. My flat has stilt parking, and I was being charged Rs100 per month for this stilt parking, along with non-occupancy charges. Other Society members who do not own a stilt parking were also paying Rs100 per month for open parking. Recently, the Society has increased stilt parking charges for tenants to Rs1,000 per month. While other members with open parking are still paying Rs100 only. Also, owners who reside in the Society and have stilt parking continue to pay Rs100. Please advise how I should address this discrimination against tenants.
Answer: Under bye-law no. 174(B)(iv), kindly take up the matter of charging 10 times the parking charges for stilt parking by making a complaint against the managing committee of the Society to a cooperative court.
Here, you will have to hire the services of a good advocate who has experience in handling cases of parking disputes in a Cooperative Court.
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Gifting Two Garages to Daughters with One Share Certificate
Question: I have two garages in a housing society. However, I have been issued just one share certificate for them. The garages are located at two corners of Society. I received only one property tax bill from the municipal corporation for both garages. But power meters are separate, and I receive separate bills for both garages.
Now, I want to gift these garages to my two daughters. Will the Society write both the daughters' names on the share certificate? If I gift both garages to one daughter and after a year or so that daughter gifts one garage to her other sister, will Society write both daughters' name in the share certificate? Please advise.
Answer: As you have two garages in a Society, the Society should give you separate share certificates for both.
Ask your Society to issue two different share certificates to both garages so that you can give away each by a Gift Deed to your daughters. If the Society is not ready to give separate share certificates, then Under Bye-law No. 174(A)(ii) make a complaint to deputy registrar of cooperative societies of your area.
Redevelopment of a Building in a Registered Association of Flats
Question: I have a flat in a 40-year-old building that is a non-registered residential association. Members have decided to opt for redevelopment after seeking permission and approval from all flat owners. I wanted to understand whether we will need a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the old builder for entitlements regarding the new floor space index (FSI) or for an open terrace. Further, will an NOC be required from all partners of the old builder? We need clarity on this, as the old builder dissolved their firm some time ago after the completion of the building.
Answer: A simple registered association of flats of an old building cannot opt for redevelopment of their old building. First, as a priority, all flat-owners should register your building as a cooperative housing society (CHS), with your area's deputy registrar of cooperative societies.
Four months after registration of CHS of your old building, you have to apply for deemed conveyance of the building and its land and then transfer the land records at the city survey office and talathi office, in your CHS name.
Only then can you proceed with the redevelopment of your old building. You will not require an NOC from the old builder at this stage.
Disclaimer: The guidance provided in these columns and on our Legal Helpline is on the sole basis of the facts provided by the reader/questioner and does not amount to formal legal advice in any form whatsoever.
(Shirish Shanbhag has an MSc in Organic Chemistry, a 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, teaching theoretical and practical chemistry. Post-retirement in 2012, he started providing guidance and counselling to people on several issues, specifically focusing on cooperative housing society-related matters. He has over 30 years of hands-on experience in all matters about housing societies and can provide out-of-box solutions for any practical issue.)