Housing Society Problems and Solutions: Tackling Poor Management by Committee Members
Shirish Shanbhag 24 May 2024
Cooperative housing societies (CHS/Society) are often ridden with so many problems that it becomes difficult for the common member to know how to tackle a situation. Many continue to reside in societies full of administrative ailments, as not every member knows the applicable rules and regulations and their rights as resident members of a CHS.
 
Sometimes, even the duly elected managing committee is ignorant or disregardful of the regulations governing them and the Society. In a few cases, the Societies are deliberately mismanaged to favour certain members or for the convenience of such members. Managing a CHS is a responsible task, and committee members who try to derive a personal benefit from their position should swiftly be dealt with a complaint to the deputy registrar. 
 
This week, I will address one such problem: the managing committee members failed to carry out their duties and continued to manage their Society in a very casual manner. I shall also provide solutions to an encroachment problem and explain the process of executing a gift deed for a plot in a housing society.
 
Poor Management of Society by Elected Members
Question: Our housing society building has 35 flats, where the election was conducted after prior notice was given only a day before the date. Also, every meeting is announced only a day before the date with a simple WhatsApp message. Maintenance amount receipts are not being given. Nomination forms and share certificates, nothing is being completed on time by the managing committee. They are managing and handling all issues very casually. Please advise. 
 
Answer:  There are multiple faults by the managing committee of your Society, for which you will have to make individual complaints, as under, to the deputy registrar (DR) of cooperative societies of your area.
 
(1) The managing committee (MC) is selected without appointing an election officer. 
 
(2) Annual general body meeting (GBM) notice requires 14 days, and special general body meeting (SGBM) needs seven days for the notice, with the agenda of the notice, place, time and date of the notice in hard copy or by a WhatsApp message. Make a second separate complaint in this regard.
 
(3) Make a third complaint for notice of the Society's dues not being sent and maintenance receipts not being delivered.
 
(4) A fourth complaint should be made for the share register not being maintained, I-form and J-form register not being prepared (for share certificates) and share certificates not being issued.
 
(5) Another separate complaint should be made for the nomination register not being maintained.
 
Make such separate complaints against the managing committee of your Society to the DR. You should also do the follow-up with a right to information (RTI) letter to the public information officer (PIO) of DR for each complaint. 
 
Encroachment by Secretary and Chairman in Common Lobby
Question: The secretary and chairman have encroached the common passage area and added it in their respective flats by putting up another external main door. We complained to the municipal corporation, but they bribed them and no action was taken. Also, we doubt that if we complain to the deputy registrar, they will bribe them and no action would be taken.
 
Answer:  Make a complaint for encroachment by the Society's members to assistant municipal commissioner (AMC) of your municipal ward office, in writing, along with photos of the encroached area of the Society. Immediately after making your complaint to AMC, you should file an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to the PIO of AMC, asking to give you information on the action taken by AMC on your letter to AMC. PIO should respond to you within 30 days of your letter. 
 
If you do not get a response either from AMC or PIO within 30 days, then you should file a first appeal and simultaneously a Lokshahi Din complaint to the zonal deputy municipal commissioner (ZDMC) who is one step above AMC. ZDMC holds his Lokshahi Din complaint enquiry in his office, and will order the AMC to demolish the encroachment in Society's common area.
 
In case AMC is not acting on Lokshahi Din complaint order by ZDMC, then you make your Lokshahi Din complaint to municipal commissioner, with a copy of your Lokshahi Din complaint to ZDMC, and his reply for your complaint. Follow the above steps and find how encroachment will be removed by the municipality, without any delay and bribe.
 
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
 
Transferring Plot in a CHS through Gift Deed
Question:  My father bought a plot from a society 20 years ago. The plot has been transferred from the Society in my father's name and has not been registered. I am a girl child. I wanted to understand whether this property can be directly registered in my name through a gift deed approved by my parents. Would the same be taxable? Please advise whether it should be registered in my father's name first, and only then would I be able to benefit from a gift deed.
 
Answer:   I would advise you to first get the plot registered in the name of your father. After this, your father should acquire a share certificate as a plot-owner at the CHS. Subsequently, through a gift deed, your father can transfer that plot in your name, and the Society will transfer your father's share certificate in your name, making you a member of your plot in 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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