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Apartment maintenance as per law

(Querist) 02 March 2020 This query is : Resolved 
Dear Sir,
I am residing in an apartment in Chennai, my apartment comprises of 6 flats, out of which 3 flats are 2BHK and 3 flats are 1BHK. I own a 1BHK flat, so far the maintenance has been collected as per Sq. Ft but now owners of 2BHK flats joined together and asking 1BHK flat owners to pay equal maintenance amount which we find it unfair. 1BHK Sq. Ft comes around 500 - 600 Sq. Ft whereas 2BHK flat area comes around 900 - 1100 Sq. Ft. Can you please guide us how we should collect maintenance as per law? We are having difficult time living here as we are constantly being nagged by 2BHK owners.
Raj Kumar Makkad (Expert) 02 March 2020
If 2 bhk flat owners, who are in equal number than you, can unite then why not you also unite and create equal pressure upon them to behave reasonably in the mentioned matter?

The most commonly used and popular method to calculate the apartment maintenance fee is paying according to the area. A rate is fixed for one square feet and then multiplied by the total square feet area of your flat in this method. This means that if you have a larger home, you will end up paying more.
Raj Kumar Makkad (Expert) 02 March 2020
In order to be fair on the large apartment owners, a hybrid method is implemented by some residents’ societies. The method involves splitting the charges into two with the first part including all the common expenses incurred on lifts, security staff salary, stationary, property taxes, conveyance, audit fees, meeting charges, common electricity etc. The second part includes the area based charges that are specific to the apartments such as water charge and electricity usage.

There is also a non-refundable sinking fund which is charged by the society for major repairs. Every member is supposed to contribute to the sinking fund, which grows over the years. It is conventional to collect at least 0.25% of the construction cost of the apartment excluding the cost of land as sinking fund charges. This also depends on the size of the apartment and the amount stays with the society until repairs are undertaken.

Though it aims to be fair on all parties, there is still a difference in opinion on which items should be charged as per apartment size.
Jegadeeshwaran (Querist) 02 March 2020
Thank you so much for your valuable time and response Sir. We will let them know that we cannot be charged equally and advise to adopt a reasonable solution that you provided.
Raj Kumar Makkad (Expert) 02 March 2020
You are always welcome Mr. jagdeeshwaran.
Rajendra K Goyal (Expert) 16 March 2020
Your joint effort can fetch result.

If the matter is not resolved, move to Registrar. Collect example of nearby societies which are adopting the method of Sq. Ft. based.
T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Expert) 21 March 2020
Buying an apartment comes with a slew of charges apart from stamp duty and registration fee. One of them is maintenance charge which is paid monthly or annually by the apartment owners to the society complex or resident welfare association for upkeep of the common area. But home buyers often miss out the significant facts about such expenses and end up paying miscellaneous amount, distressing themselves later.
Since maintenance charges are applicable from the time a flat is occupied, its basic motive is to fund operations related to upkeep, maintenance, and upgrade of areas which are not directly under any individual's ownership
It can be decided as follows:
For Expenses on repair and maintenance of the building : 0.75% per annum of the construction cost of each flat;

for Service charges (housekeeping, security, electricity for common areas, equipment): Equally divided among the flats

Expenses on repair and maintenance of elevators: Equally divided among the flats

Sinking fund: Minimum of 0.25% per annum of the construction cost of each flat


Non-occupancy charges: For flats which are rented, calculated at 10% of service charges


Parking charges: By number of parking slots of each member

Property tax and water charges Actual consumption of each flat, or number of water inlets
T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Expert) 21 March 2020
The most commonly used and popular method to calculate the apartment maintenance fee is paying according to the area. A rate is fixed for one square feet and then multiplied by the total square feet area of your flat in this method. This means that if you have a larger home, you will end up paying more.
The monthly fees are used to pay for the common area of the building, landscaping, elevator service, custodial services, security, insurance, pool maintenance, recreational amenities, management, water, trash pickup service, and sometimes other utilities, etc
T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Expert) 21 March 2020
A. Per Square Feet Charge:
This happens to be the method which is most used for calculating maintenance charges for housing societies. As a part of this method, a fixed rate is charged per square feet of area of an apartment.

Say, the per square feet maintenance charge for an apartment complex is Rs. 3.0 per sq feet per month. Therefore, if one owns an apartment of 1000 sq. ft, then the maintenance charge is Rs 3000 per month. And by the same calculation, a person owning an apartment of 2000 sq. ft would pay a maintenance charge of Rs. 6000 per month.

Pros: This method is easy to calculate and maintain
Cons: This method is seen as unfair to owners of larger apartments or villas, as there are many facilities which are used by all residents irrespective of the size of the apartment they live in like Clubhouses, Lifts, Gardens, etc.

B. Equal Maintenance Fee:
This is a favoured method where the size of apartments are almost the same. The total maintenance charge which is to be collected per month is arrived at and then it is divided the number of apartments. The resultant amount is charged per apartment every month as maintenance charge.
Pros: Easy to calculate and implement in societies with same-sized apartments.
Cons: For housing societies where apartments are of various different sizes, this is seen as unfair and are usually not accepted by the members.

C. Hybrid Method
In this method, a part of the maintenance charge is charged equally among all apartment owners. The second part includes the area based charges.

The combination of bills into different heads is usually as follows:

a) SqFt Based charges: Items 1 & 4 of Society Bill Heads mentioned in Step 1 of this article. Expenses on Repairs and Maintenance of the Building(s) AND Sinking Fund.

b) Equal Charges: Items 2 & 3 of Society Bill Heads. Service Charges AND Expenses on Repairs and Maintenance of the Lift.

Pros: It is seen as a fair method of calculating maintenance charges
Cons: It is relatively complicated to calculate and there are usually a lot of differences in opinion on how to divide expenses in common expense category and area based expense category

Now you can decide the mode of maintenance after discussing with your own category members of the apartment
Rajendra K Goyal (Expert) 22 March 2020
Well advised by the expert Advocate T. Kalaiselvan.

Since the flat owner of 1 BHK and 2 BHK are equal, any one sided decision can not be taken if 1 BHK person are united.

Try to have some amicable solution.
Raj Kumar Makkad (Expert) 22 March 2020
T. Kalaiselvan expert has put much light on the subject and thus nothing more remains to be added.


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