- Structuring out the composition of a housing society.
- Knowing about the various laws governing such societies.
- Analysing their problems, rights and duties as a member of the housing society.
A cooperative housing society or simple a housing society can be called as "an alternative form of ownership of property and homes, where ownership lies with an entity or an organisation, and then sold as shares to other residents". Nowadays, it has become a common form of living, even those who are capable of building their houses by themselves, prefer to live in a housing society for the ease of their comfort and convenience. However, this living cannot be made possible if such a society is not managed properly. Therefore, the members of the housing society are provided with certain rights and duties, non-compliance of which may result in losing of property ownership from the society.
HOUSING SOCIETY MEMBERS
In general terms, a housing society means "a registered society whose primary aim is to provide housing units for occupancy by its members as nearly as possible at cost". In other words, we can say that it is a legally established body or entity owned by its members or residents for common needs. The ownership of the lies with an entity but the job of development of society is with the members of housing society. In India this idea was introduced by the Britishers who also founded the first Co-Operative Societies Act in 1904. This society however, cannot run smoothly if the members of the housing society do not take their responsibilities seriously. Therefore, the Managing Committee members are also called the trustees of the society as people of the society have to trust them completely while handling them their welfare.
The members of the Managing Committee are elected by other members of the society. They should be knowledgeable, trustworthy, sensible and must abide by various provisions of the bye-laws governing such society. The composition of this managing committee is:-
- The Chairman
- The Secretary
- The treasurer
VARIOUS LEGISLATIONS GOVERNING A HOUSING SOCIETY
Generally, every state has its own laws and bye-laws which a person needs to follow as a member of the housing society. However, there are also certain legislations and policies which deals with the housing societies in every state in common:-
- Co-Operative Societies Act (1912, 1950) was enacted for national level legislation and policies.
- The Multi-State Co-Operative Act, 2002 is for the National Federation and Multi-State Co-Operative Societies.
- National Building Code includes compliance for making buildings earthquake resistant.
- Societies Registration Acts differs from state to state. But however, each society falls under the purview of the registrar of the respective society who is appointed by the state government.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE MEMBERS OF HOUSING SOCIETY
Some of the common problems faced by the members of every housing society include:-
- High maintenance charges.
- Parking issues.
- Corrupt committee members.
- Unfair or irregular elections.
- Encroaching of space and illegal construction.
- Safety neglect.
- Builder not performing his work properly.
- Fraudulent or incomplete audits.
- Nuisance caused by residents.
- Water shortage.
RIGHTS OF THE MEMBERS OF HOUSING SOCIETY
The model bye-laws have provided certain rights to the active members of the society. They are the people who have made the required payment and have also acquired a share capital in the society. Granting them these rights allows them to access to an immersive role in the workings of society while ensuring that their common interests are taken care of:-
- Right to receive a copy of model bye-laws.
- Right to nominate associate and nominal members who could hold the right, title and interest in the property.
- Right to occupation and possession of the property purchased.
- Right to inspect records such as books, registers, documents, annual profit-loss statements etc. free of cost to examine financial transactions of the society.
- Right to attend the annual general meeting.
- Right to vote in the society's election.
- Right to transfer shares, exchange and subtle apartments/housing units with a prior notice of 15 days to the managing committee.
- Right to resign from membership of the society after giving three months prior notice to the secretary.
THEIR DUTIES AS MEMBERS OF THE HOUSING SOCIETY
1. The Hon'ble Chairman
- The Chairman is the head of the Managing Committee and possesses the power of overall superintendence and control in managing the affairs of the society. He is the watchdog of the society and in case of an emergency, he has the power to exercise any power of the managing committee. His decision is considered to be the final decision and without his approval, decisions concerning society affairs cannot be finalised.
- He presides over all the meetings of the Managing Committee and General Body. He also has the power to guide the secretary regarding the agendas of the meeting. Moreover, he can also disallow any matter to be taken up for the meeting is he thinks that discussing it could create a disorder in the meeting.
- He also has power to call and prepare agendas for a General Meeting, if the secretary fails to do so. His signatures are also essential for the minutes of meeting.
- He is also vested with the power to sign any contract with a third party after verifying its authenticity.
- He is also one of the signatories along with the other members of the society for the operation of the bank account of the society.
The Hon'ble Secretary
- The secretary is the most important office bearer of the society as he possess a vast range of responsibilities. He has to be an all-rounder as his job is to plan and execute the various activities of the society. He must be efficient enough to manage the affairs of the society internally as well as externally. A joint-secretary can also be appointed for sharing the responsibilities along with the secretary.
- He is also responsible for the verification of the membership of the new members and to ensure that all the essential documents are attached along with the application.
- Dealing with the resignation of the members and to maintaining the record of the same.
- Issuing of a share certificate in the prescribed period within a specific period.
- Dealing with the complaints of the society members.
- Drafting of agendas for meetings of General Body and Managing Committee as well as to preserve the minutes of meeting.
- Maintenance of accounts, account books, registers and other essential records of the society.
- It is the duty of the secretary to produce the records before the higher authority, if required, with the consent of the chairman.
- Inspecting and repairing of the property of society.
- Appointing people for management of society like security personnel, sweepers etc.
- A secretary has to abide by all his responsibilities as prescribed under the MCS Act, 1960 and Rules 1961 as well as to the bye-laws of the society. He is also required to fulfil his duties as directed to him by the managing committee and general body.
The Hon'ble Treasurer
- Bifurcation of the maintenance of the charges among the society members as per the budget planned by the society with the approval of the managing committee and general body.
- Management of bank accounts, statutory registers and other records of the society, if secretary fails to do so.
- To prepare, sign and issue cheques to laborers, contractors and service providers as well as to maintain cash and cheque payment vouchers date wise and duly signed.
It is a common responsibility of all members of the managing committee to attend all the organised meetings and in case of any unforeseen circumstances, due to which they are not able to attend the meeting, then they can provide an application in writing for acknowledgement of the authorised members.
Sometimes, some uncertain or unwanted situations occur in life, which forces certain changes in our schedules and plans. Knowing our basic rights with respect to our living situation makes us well prepared for such times. Therefore, it makes a complete sense to know our rights first and foremost as a part of a housing society.
A single entity can never be blamed for any conflict which arises in a society as a housing society is a collective endeavour which requires participation from both sides. It is the duty of the members to elect the right representative for themselves who is could resolve the problems effectively for the sake of all the members. The committee members in turn should also perform their duties properly without any expectation of some material privileges. Peaceful dialog should be the first and foremost choice of both the parties involved. Approaching the authorities remains to be the final and inevitable option.