We’ve all come across that obnoxious neighbor who bangs his door shut loudly to jumpscare people three floors down, dumps banana peels straight from his balcony on to the ground, plays loud music when the world is slumbering peacefully, lets his unleashed pet out in the open to bark and claw at unsuspecting passers-by, and, worst of all, the repeat offender who blatantly flouts every rule just to be a rebel without a cause. In all fairness, we all have committed some form of misdemeanor much to the inconvenience of our neighbors, albeit not always intentionally. This article covers the fundamental duties of a housing society resident in order to keep our occasional gaffes under check and help us understand the basics of acceptable behavior. Let’s take a look.
- Maintenance of residence: Members and residents are required to keep their flats/homes and nearby premises clean and habitable.The residents should also maintain proper cleanliness etiquette while using common areas, parking lot, etc. and not throw litter from their balconies and windows.
- Permissible structural changes: If any alterations or additions are in order, the residents should first submit an application to the Secretary of the society, providing him with the specific details of the process and plan.
- Payment of dues: Members must regularly pay the maintenance charges and all other dues necessitated by the society.
- Attend meetings: Bye-laws mandate members to attend at least one general meeting in five consequent years. But ideally, the residents should regularly check the notice boards for meetings and attend them for their own benefit. Members should also participate in the annual and special general body meetings to stay updated with the affairs of the society.
- Follow bye-laws: Residents should be well-aware of society’s rules and obey the provisions of the bye-laws.It is highly recommended that members obtain a copy of the model bye-laws from the Secretary of the society.
- Allow inspections: The Secretary, after prior intimation to the member, inspects the flat/home to inspect its conditions and to ascertain if any repairs are needed. Members have to allow for such inspections at a mutually convenient time.
- Carry out repairs: If the Secretary recommends any repairs, renovations based on his inspection, the residents should carry them out at their own expense with the help of society-appointed architect. If they fail to do so, the society carries them out after giving a notice to the member and recovers the dues from him.
- Storage of dangerous/unauthorized products: Residents should not, without prior permission of the society, stock any toxic or combustible goods which requires a permit from a competent authority.
- Not conduct unlawful/criminal activities: Residents must not use their homes or society premises/property to engage in criminal and illegal activities of any kind. Serious legal action/penalty could be imposed if the members are found guilty.
- Respect neighbor’s privacy: Residents should not be found intervening in the private matters of their neighbors unless solicited for their counsel. Behavior such as snooping through their mail, spreading rumors and creating disharmonious scenarios is unacceptable.
- Build good rapport: Residents should maintain good relationships among one another to prosper as a society collectively.This includes being neighborly, cooperative and helpful when situations demand.
- Report wrongdoings: If however, as a resident of a society, you suspect any suspicious behavior, criminal leanings, misuse of residence, financial malfeasance or any other incident of misconduct that is in breach of society bye-laws, you should immediately bring it to the notice of the managing committee.
- Not create nuisance: Residents should not hold loud parties at odd hours so that others are not inconvenienced. While using the playground, residents should follow the time schedule for usage so that loud noises do not disturb other members.
- Pet etiquette: Members should not keep pets, including but not limited to birds, dogs, cats, reptiles, etc. without obtaining prior permission from the managing committee. The society, on the other hand, should make clear guidelines regarding keeping and maintaining pets as per provisions adopted in the model bye-laws or making a resolution in any general body meeting. Members are required to train their pets so that they do not cause harm or nuisance to other residents and also wash their pets regularly so that no foul smell emanates around common areas during play time or daily strolls.
- Maintain records and documents: Residents are required to maintain and safeguard all documents, agreements, share certificate, and other paperwork that is executed between him and the society.
- Using residence for personal business: If a resident intends to use his flat or home for the purpose of business such as a yoga/meditation class, dispensary, coaching class, baby nursery, beauty parlour, or any other venture, they could do so as per society bye-laws. However, any code of conduct made during general body meeting should be followed and members should ensure no other resident is subjected to nuisance or trouble by their profession.
- Parking responsibilities: Parking areas allotted by the society are the member’s rightful slots outside of which they should not park their vehicles. Other vehicles such as bicycles, children’s scooters should also not be haphazardly parked within society premises or placed in common areas without prior permission.
- Provide accurate information: At the time of application to co-operative housing society and at the time of registration, members are mandated to submit correct and verifiable information regarding themselves with legitimate documents. Fraud in identity, omission of vital information and misrepresentation of facts are not allowed.
There is always that small percentage of people who need to be explicitly told these commonplace rules that arise from common sense. Most of our good behavior instinctively stems from an empathic, understanding human nature, which is why we would not intend to do that unto others which we would not have done unto us. At the end, we must not only be familiar with our duties as a member of a society, but also abide by them for an ideal co-habitation in a gated community.