Living in a housing society is akin to being in a committed relationship, except it gets murkier when things go awry as they sometimes do. We’ve all been in catch 22 situations where if a problem persists, we are damned if we try to solve it and damned if we don’t. After all, it is better to resolve a conflict or dispute peacefully in a way that is acceptable to both parties. If however, the society has been functioning to the detriment of its members, causing unbearable inconvenience, they have the power to right the wrong. Luckily, there are laws that guard you against real and present danger (and even inconvenience) posed to you by incompetent, ruthless or negligent committee members. This post covers the different problems that may arise for members in a housing society and various ways for redressal.
Complaints that can be raised in General Body Meeting:
- Issues related to maintenance of the property
- Not displaying society’s name board
- Not allowing members access to common spaces
- Charging excessive fines, maintenance, other dues
- Failure to insure the property
How to submit a complaint to the Managing Committee?
The member should submit a written complaint explaining the dispute/complaint in full detail to any office-bearer of the society.
In the next committee (after the complaint is received), the Managing Committee reviews the complaint, takes a decision and communicates it to the member within 15 days.
If the members do not receive any communication from the Committee within 15 days, they can approach any competent authorities for redressal of their complaints. A copy of the original complaint letter should also be attached to the escalation complaint.
In cases that are not so cut and dried and require extensive study of legal loopholes and workarounds, members should think about hiring an experienced lawyer (preferably specialising in real estate laws) who can bear the load and present a winning case. As such, housing societies have their own legal advisor/consultant or lawyer who does a good enough job of defending it if trouble befalls. Members who want to present a solid case with all legal intricacies and technicalities covered in a complex situation, should be better off with legal counsel.
Below is a classification of complaints and the competent authority for members to approach.
Administrative and financial mismanagement complaints and disputes that fall under the purview of the Registrar:-
- Non-issuance of share certificates
- Refusal of membership
- Exorbitant premium demand
- Refusal to produce account books and registers for inspection/ tampering or destruction of records
- Incomplete or falsified maintenance records
- Failure to prepare audit reports/ audit rectification reports/ annual reports
- Corruption and misappropriation of funds
- Investing funds without prior approval of members
- Inappropriate/false non-occupancy charges
- Failure to conduct election on time
- Appointing defaulting members on committee
- Rejection of nomination
- Failure to conduct annual, special or general body meetings wilfully
- Failure to file returns, statements or mismanagement of bank records/documents
Disputes pertaining to repair, construction and amenities should be appealed to Co-operative Court/Municipal Corporation or Local Authority:-
- Major and minor repairs, leakages
- Parking issues, disputes with allotment of residence
- Managing Committee resolutions
- Disputes with election of managing committee (except nomination refusal)
- High construction cost, disputes with appointment of architect or redeveloper
- Water supply issues and high maintenance/recovery
If you are facing harassment from the committee members, including but not limited to rude/impolite behavior on a consistent basis, verbal or physical threats or assaults, you must immediately approach the local police station and file an FIR. After receiving a police NC (non-cognizable), you can approach the Civil Court for further redressal.