Housing Society Problems and Solutions: Applicability of Non-occupancy Charges
Shirish Shanbhag 06 June 2024
Home-owners often purchase and lease a property to others, as it might be a good way to earn additional income. However, if the property under the lease is located within a cooperative housing society (CHS/Society), then the owner may be liable to pay non-occupancy charges to that Society. 
 
Non-occupancy charges are levied when the concerned flat remains unoccupied after the Society has transferred ownership to the new owner. However, these charges only apply when the flat is leased and not when immediate family members occupy it. This week, I will address one such concern about the applicability of non-occupancy charges.
 
I will also provide the step-by-step process for transferring the Society's essential documents, such as a property card, water bill, and property tax bill in their own name, after completion of conveyance formalities, and address some concerns regarding the redevelopment process. 
 
Non-occupancy Charges for Relatives
Question: A person owns two flats in our Society, first in the sole name of the owner and the second jointly with his brother. The solely owned flat is occupied by the owner's son, while the jointly owned flat is occupied by both brothers. What are the non-occupancy charges applicable to the solely owned flat where the son is residing? 
 
Answer:  Non-occupancy charges do not apply to near relatives as defined under bye-law no. 3(xxv), wherein the relatives you have mentioned have been included. So, the Society will not charge non-occupancy charges, even if the son has been given a flat on a rental basis. 
 
Transfer of Name of Society's Documents after Conveyance 
Question: Our builder has done the conveyance deed and had it registered in 2008. The index 2 and other original registered documents are with the Society. However, the Society has not taken this further to get the name changed on the municipal property tax, water bills and non-agricultural tax that they are paying. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) challans are still in the seller's name and have all expired. 
 
The new managing committee now wants to complete the task of transferring the name on the property card. We would appreciate your guidance on this matter. 
 
Answer: With the sub-registrar of assurances certified copy of your conveyance deed and its index-2, you should apply at talathi's office to transfer your Society's 7/12 extract and its mutation entry in form-6, both in the Society's name. The application forms to be filled and submitted and the supporting documents required would be explained to you by the Talathi office.
After you submit your application, a hearing will be taken by the talathi with the secretary or chairman of your Society, and the documents transferred in your Society's name will be given to your Society's office bearer after 15 days of the hearing. 
 
Then, with the sub-registrar of assurances' certified copy of your conveyance deed and its index-2, you will apply to the city survey office with an application form and necessary documents as per their instructions. Here again, another hearing would take place, and within 15 days, you should get the property card transferred in your Society's name. With a copy of this property card, you can then apply at the city survey office to complete a survey of the Society's land and to acquire a land map marking out the outline of the Society's building. 
 
Once the Society has the land's 7/12 extract, mutation entry, property card, and property map, it should apply to the property tax department in the municipal ward office to transfer the property tax bill in the Society's name. Once this transfer is done, you can apply to the water supply department at the municipal ward office to transfer the water bill in the Society's name. 
 
These are all the steps that the Society should do to transfer various documents of the Society in their name. If you find any difficulties in following these steps, then you may take an appointment and come to Moneylife Foundation's office with a copy of the registered conveyance deed for free guidance. Please call Moneylife Foundation on either it's mobile no 7045156415 or it's landline numbers (022) 35131664 or 35036925 to book your appointment.
 
NOTE
If you want to seek guidance or ask questions to Mr Shanbhag, kindly send it through Moneylife Foundation's Free Legal Helpline. Here is the link: https://www.moneylife.in/lrc.html#ask-question
 
Concerns on Redevelopment
Question: I am a resident of a society in Nerul. Our building is just 30 years old, standing tall and solid without any issues. There are 12 apartments in the Society in total, where my neighbour and I own 2 BHK flats on the top floor with equal-sized open terraces. 
 
Few society members are very keen on the redevelopment of the Society by a builder who is related to some society members. They have convinced few other members as well, but there are few who do not favour redevelopment. The Society has not sought any other proposals for this work. 
 
We do not favour the redevelopment as the building has no issues; there has been no structural inspection either. What rights do I have as a resident member to object to redevelopment or ensure that it undergoes in a legal manner? 
 
Answer: Under bye-law no. 76, your Society's building, which has completed 30 years, should do a structural audit from a municipality-approved structural engineer once every three years. Whether the building needs to undergo repairs, be demolished, or be redeveloped will be decided on the basis of the structural audit. 
Even if the structural audit determines that the building has to undergo redevelopment, please get the conveyance of the building and the property card in the Society's name before proceeding with redevelopment. 
 
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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