Housing Society Problems & Solutions: Elected Committee Member Does Not Reside in the Society and De-registering a CHS
Shirish Shanbhag 25 January 2024
The managing committee of a cooperative housing society (CHS/Society) is essentially its nerve centre, handling member grievances and also overseeing financial management, among other day-to-day managerial activities within the Society. The committee members have to be elected in an election overseen by an election officer appointed by the deputy registrar of cooperative societies.
 
Typically, all elected members have to be residents of the housing society who regularly attend committee meetings and are involved in the affairs of the Society. Any elected member who does not reside within the Society or resides at a distance more than 2km away from the Society cannot be allowed to continue in her/his position as a member or official of the managing committee. 
 
This week, I will clarify one such case, where the chairman of a Society does not reside at the premises but continues to park his two vehicles there. I will also explain the minimum number of members required to form a managing committee. Finally, I will also explain why de-registering a housing society may not be a good idea in favour of creating a condominium. 
 
Managing Committee Member Does Not Reside in Society 
 
Question: Elections were held in our Society in February and a new managing committee was formed. The elected chairman does not reside in the Society and has rented his flat to someone else. Further, he has been parking his two cars in our Society after paying a fee of Rs500 for each vehicle. Please clarify, if he does not reside in the Society, can he park his cars here?
 
Answer: If your chairman resides within 2km of your Society and attends all managing committee meetings, then he is a valid candidate for becoming a chairman of your Society. 
 
If he resides at a further distance and does not regularly attend managing committee meetings, then against such a chairman, you can make a complaint under the bye-law no. 174(A)(xxii) to the deputy registrar of cooperative societies. The deputy registrar will then take proper action against the  chairman of your CHS.
 
Parking on Society's premises is governed by bye-law no. 78 to 84. If other residents are not inconvenienced by the chairman parking his cars in the Society, he may continue to do so, as he is paying additional parking charges. 
 
Otherwise, under bye-law no. 174(B)(iv) make a complaint against your Society and the chairman in the cooperative court.
 
NOTE
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Number of Committee Members Allowed in a Housing Society 
 
Question: Our Society is conducting elections for the managing committee members. We were initially seven members, but that has now been changed to eight by the secretary of the old committee without any discussion or intimation. It made sense to have seven members and it was well established from a voting point of view. What should be the role of the election officer? Should he not insist on staying with the original seven members/positions and conduct the election accordingly?
 
Answer: The total number of members in the managing committee of your CHS entirely depends on the number of members (flats and shops) in your Society. 
 
For example, a minimum of 11 members should be there for a CHS having up to 100 members, including, 
 
General category - 6 members
Women - 3 members
Scheduled caste (SC) / scheduled tribe (ST) - 1 member
Other backward class (OBC) - 1 member
Vimukta jati (VJ) / nomadic tribes (NT) / special backward class (SBC) - 1 member
 
In most societies, a reserved category of members may not be available, so only eight possible members are part of the managing committee. In some societies, female members may not be available. In this case, male members should make their female family members associate members and allow them to contest the managing committee elections as part of the women's category. 
 
Consider and plan for your Society's elections of the new managing committee accordingly.
 
De-Registering Housing Society for A Condominium 
 
Question: All members of our Society have mutually agreed to de-register our cooperative housing society to form a condominium. Kindly advise on the procedure involved in the willful de-registration of the Society and formation of a condominium of flat owners under the Maharashtra Ownership of Act (MOFA).
 
Answer: I would rather suggest that you not allow them to de-register the housing society to transform it into a condominium. Doing so will only ensure that there is no central rule for complaint or grievance redressal. Hence, for any complaints, you will have to go directly to a civil court. 
 
On the other hand, if you are part of a housing society, your complaints can be redressed by the deputy registrar of cooperative societies, and very few complaints go to a cooperative court. 
 
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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