Housing Society Problems and Solutions: Allotment and Charges for Parking Space
Shirish Shanbhag 27 June 2024
In cooperative housing societies (CHS/Societies), car parking is designated within the Society's premises, where residents can park their vehicles. Naturally, such parking provides a safe and secure place for residents to park their vehicles. It also helps reduce congestion on the roads as residents do not have to park their cars on the street.
Society's bye-laws make it mandatory to provide adequate parking facilities for all residents. There are also guidelines for builders on the construction of parking areas based on dimensions, distance between vehicles, and other safety requirements. With the limited space in crowded cities, parking can take many forms—open, covered, stilt, basement or multi-level stack parking. 
As per bye-laws, any member who owns a vehicle is eligible for a parking spot, but due to the limitation of space, each member can be restricted to just one slot. Allotment of parking spots is to be done as per the bye-laws and neither the Society nor the builder can legally sell a parking spot separately to any resident member. Parking charges should be levied equally and fairly, based on the usage of such space.
This week, I am addressing parking issues, the problem of additional repairs and painting work in a gated community and a curious case of an owner being refused membership in a Society. 
Allotment of Parking and Charges by the Society
Question: Builder had allotted stilt parking to a few tenants in 1989. Please advise whether this is legal or if every member should have the right to use stilt parking using a draw system on a yearly basis. Our Society charges for parking but not to members who claim to own stilt parking.
Answer: Society's parking slots are allotted under the bye-law nos. 78 to 84. A builder cannot sell the parking slots to anyone. Even if someone buys a parking slot, it is illegal, and by a cooperative court order, the Society can cancel the sale of such a parking slot. All those who have four-wheelers can get a parking slot allotted to them to park their vehicles. Anyone who is allotted a parking slot or even seems to be under the impression of having purchased the parking slot should pay appropriate charges of the Society.
Penalising Members Who Refuse To Contribute for Repairs
Question: In our gated community in Chennai, most members decided to do some repair and painting work of their respective flats. They further went on to charge all members for such repairs, even when it was objected to by some who felt that repairs were to be done by the builder for faulty construction.
The Society has curtailed essential services like garbage clearance, standby electricity supply and other facilities and has not allowed tenants in such houses. They say that such a decision was made during a general body meeting, even though protesting members continue to pay maintenance charges. What action can be taken by these protesting members who disagree with the actions taken by the Society for repairs and for suspension of basic services?
Answer: Based on the facts that you have shared, I advise you to take up this matter in a consumer court for a deficiency in services. You may file a case against the gated community (managing committee of your building, I presume) and against the builder as well. Although not necessary, you may want to hire the services of a good lawyer to present the case in the consumer court and to argue the same when it comes up for hearing. 
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Society Refusing To Consider Membership
Question: I have owned and resided in a flat in a housing society since 2005. The share certificate bears my name, but the management committee continues to deny my participation in elections and annual general meetings (AGMs). The managing committee members have gone to the extent of saying that I am not the rightful owner of the flat, despite having a stamp duty paid and a registered sale agreement.
The share certificate mentions the term 'minor' as the flat was purchased when I was a minor. But it has now been nine years since I attained adulthood, and I have been following up with the managing committee since then. I have submitted all necessary documents to prove my identity, age and proof of ownership, but the committee refuses to budge. Even the maintenance bill is often misspelt and mentions the term 'minor', which is incorrect. 
Answer: For not allowing you to act as a major owner of your flat, kindly make a complaint against the managing committee of your Society to the deputy registrar of cooperative societies, under bye-law no. 174(A)(xxii). The deputy registrar will ask your Society to accept you as a member, and a copy of that letter will also be sent to you so that you may follow up with the committee separately.
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.)
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