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Subin   28 November 2023

Maintenance charges



Trust you are doing well!


We are in the process of registering our first apartment association now under KAOA 1972 act. In line with this, would like to briefly understand if this act suggests only per sq.ft. charges to be collected as part of society maintenance. It would be very helpful to understand this and take a decision.




 5 Replies

Sanskriti Tiwari   28 November 2023

Under the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act (KAOA) of 1972, the collection of maintenance charges for apartment societies does not strictly specify that charges should be solely based on per square foot. The Act provides a framework for managing and maintaining apartment complexes, including the formulation of bye-laws governing various aspects of the association, such as common areas, amenities, and financial matters.

Maintenance charges typically cover expenses for the upkeep of common areas, amenities, utilities, security, repairs, and administrative costs. The calculation of these charges might consider various factors like the size of the apartment, facilities provided, and the needs of the community. While charging based on square footage might be a common practice, it's not the only method stipulated by the Act.

The association, through its bye-laws, can determine the method for collecting maintenance charges, ensuring fairness and transparency among residents. Associations often establish a formula or structure that takes into account the costs incurred for shared facilities and services.

It's crucial to review the specific bye-laws drafted for your apartment association. These bye-laws would detail the method of calculating maintenance charges, outlining the responsibilities of residents, the committee's role, and the process for any revisions or amendments.

Before making decisions, it's advisable to consult with legal professionals or experts experienced in housing association laws within Karnataka. They can provide precise guidance tailored to your situation, ensuring compliance with the KAOA and safeguarding the interests of both the association and its members.

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Dr. J C Vashista (Advocate and Legal Consultant)     28 November 2023

Generally maintenance is fixed on the basis of floor area i.e., per square feet, however, it is the majority of the members decision and no thumb rule to fix maintenance in an apartment association.

Take a decision in General Body Meeting of the association.

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Subin   28 November 2023

Thank you so much for your responses..! Highly appreciated..!

P. Venu (Advocate)     28 November 2023

Yes, KAOA does not specify how the maintainance charges is to be collected, but provides as follows, vide Section 16 -

16. Bye-laws and their contents.- (1) The administration of every property shall be governed by bye-laws, a true copy of which shall be annexed to the Declaration . No modification of or amendment to the bye-law shall be valid, unless set forth in an amendment to the Declaration and such amendment is duly recorded and a copy thereof is duly filed with the competent authority.

(2) The bye-laws shall provide for the following matters, namely -------------------------------------------------------


(f) maintenance, repairs and replacement of the common areas and facilities and payments therefor;

(g) manner of collecting from the apartment owners their share of the common expenses;

(h) designation and removal of persons employed for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the common areas and facilities;

(i) the method of adopting and of amending administrative rules and regulations governing the details of the operation and use of the common areas and facilities;

(j) such restrictions on the requirements respecting the use and maintenance of the apartments and the use of the common areas and facilities not set forth in the Declaration, as are designed to prevent unreasonable interference with the use of their respective apartments and of the common areas and facilities by the several apartment owners; ---------------

The Bombay High Court has held in the case of  Sunanda Janardan Rangnekar vs Rahul Apartment No. 11 ... that it is arbitrary to levy maintainance charges based on the area of the flats -

"7. In the present case the society is recovering differential amounts by way of a property tax on the
basis of the area of the flats at the rate of 30.81 per sq. ft. per annum of the area. That has rightly not
been challenged by the petitioner, as the property tax payable to Municipal authority would
obviously vary according to the area of a flat. However, so far as the charges for the society services
or maintenance are concerned, no material was adduced before the Asstt. Registrar to show that any
additional services were provided to the petitioner or any additional maintainence was incurred by
the Society on account of petitioner being a holder of commercial premises. In the affidavit in reply
filed in this Court also, it is not even be alleged that any additional services are provided to the
petitioner by reason of her being the holder of commercial premises. In my view, the society was not
entitled to levy society charges/maintenance charges for commercial premises at twice the rate that
of a residential premises. I am in respectful agreement with the view expressed by this Court in
Venus Cooperative Housing Society v. J.Y. Detwani (supra) in this respect."

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     02 December 2023

If the proportion of collection of maintenance charges is to be decided by the General Body the question will arise whether voting right also will be proportional to the area of the flat. Suppose the voting right is proportional to the area of the flat it is possible that larger flat owners will carry the day and they will vote for equal sharing of the charges. If the voting right is one member one vote irrespective of the size of the flat, majority vote wil be for proportionate sharing of the costs. What kind of fallacy is this? The manner of sharing of costs should be decided by an external authority who has no stakes in the matter.

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