Housing Society Problems and Solutions: Rule Violations by Shop-owners in Residential Society
Shirish Shanbhag 30 May 2024
Occasionally, the ground floor of housing societies is demarcated as commercial area and shops or other businesses are allowed to offer their services to the public from therein. Such shop-owners are still considered to be members of the cooperative housing society (CHS/the Society) and are required to abide by the rules prescribed in the bye-laws. Therefore, the managing committee must address any violation of the rules appropriately when brought to its notice.
 
This week, I will address a problem where a shop-owner has installed an advertising board and an awning that inconveniences the members residing on the first floor. I will also provide a solution to another problem where a shop-owner has encroached on the common area of the Society.
 
Nuisance of Advertising Board from Shop in Housing Society
Question:  Are there any regulations on the size of the name boards and the shade awnings over them that the commercial shops can install for their shops located in a housing society, where typically the ground floor is for shops and the first floor onwards is residential?
 
The reason for the query is that I stay on the first floor and the ground floor shop-owner has installed a large shop name and a shade over the top that is at eye level to my window, resulting in water splashing, pigeon nuisance, as well as mosquito menace due to muck accumulated that gets mixed with AC drain water. 
 
Is there any municipal or fire department rule regarding the installation of safety grills for windows and balconies in residential towers?
 
Answer:  A shop cannot encroach on another member's area by putting a longboard stretching outside the area of their shop. In this respect, you should first complain to your Society under the bye-law no. 172, asking your Society to remove that board installed by the member shop-owner within 15 days of your complaint. 
 
If the board is not removed within 15 days of your complaint to the Society, then under bye-law no. 174(A)(xxii), you should file a complaint against the Society to the deputy registrar of cooperative societies. They will take necessary action and ask the Society to remove the board of the shop. 
 
You can also file a complaint with the local municipal ward office under bye-law no. 174(D)(i), who, through the assistant engineer of the building department, will take action to remove the board. In your complaint to the municipal ward office, you should mention that if the shopkeeper does not remove his board, his shop and establishment licence may be cancelled. 
 
Redevelopment of Two Adjoining Societies
Question: I am a member of CHS in Thane. Our Society is planning to go for redevelopment along with an adjoining society. I have discovered that our Society is not following compliance of 79A and has finalised a developer. Also, the conveyance of our Society is yet to be completed. The managing committee says that the conveyance of our Society will be done by the appointed developer. 
 
They have not maintained transparency in selecting the developer and have also refused to give documents related to redevelopment for over two months. I have registered two complaints with the deputy registrar and requested to disqualify the managing committee under section 79A(3) for not following section 79A and section 154b(23) for not disclosing documents for more than 45 days.
 
In reply to my complaint, the managing committee says that it is not mandatory to follow 79A if the majority have selected a developer. What should I do if the deputy registrar denies doing his duty and fails to disqualify the managing committee as per bye-laws.
 
Answer:  If your Society is going for redevelopment with an adjoining society, it certainly should not do so without completing the conveyance. This is only putting your Society at risk.
 
You should file a complaint against your Society to the deputy registrar (DR) in this regard, If the DR is not dissolving the managing committee, then you can escalate the matter further with a Lokshashi Din complaint to the district collector. 
 
Simultaneously, please file a complaint against the DR to the district deputy registrar, whose office is in the same building in Gavdevi Municipal Market, Thane West.
 
NOTE
We will not be answering queries posted in the comments. Only questions sent through the Moneylife Foundation's Legal Helpline will be answered. 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
 
Shop Encroaching Common Area in Housing Society
Question:  I am a member of a CHS, and I own an open parking space. A shop-owner has installed an outdoor unit on the border of the building which can damage my car when parked. He has not taken any permission for it from either the Society or me. After several complaints to Society, they have not taken any action. Please advise. 
 
Answer:   Under bye-law no 172, file a complaint to your Society to remove the illegal extension of the shop within 15 days of the complaint. Also mention that if the Society fails to take any action, you will escalate the matter and file a complaint against the Society with the deputy registrar of cooperative societies.
 
You may then file a complaint under bye-law no. 174(A)(xxii) with the deputy registrar, when there is no action from the Society. 
 
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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