Extortion from homeowners committee
Hello. The maintenance committee (unregistered) for my apartment is threatening to discontinue the elevator in the building to the floor I live in. This is because they are demanding more money, above and beyond the normal maintenace charges (which I regularly pay) with some made-up excuses. They have scared every other flatowner into paying this, because they're mostly old or lonely people who don't want any trouble. What can I do?
Asked 4 years ago in Property Law
Thank you all for such prompt answers. Here is the full order of events.
1.We got this apartment (top floor) near Thakurpukur, Kolkata ten years ago. It is a small residential with only 15 flats mostly full of seniors and/or women and children.
2.Since then, the maintenance committee has been handled by many people, but it never was lawfully registered.
They do not keep any proper paperwork. They never hold regular general meetings, only when something is needed. Then, a few friends sit down and make law, calling it "majority decision". Even if other people are present, this "majority" always wins since most people don't want trouble and play along.
In ten years they have NEVER shown a single audit of what they do with our money.
They use a personal joint bank account for the committee.
3.I moved to another location for work 2+ years ago. Since then they send me no notice of any meetings. Now I have to learn everything from the security guard!
4.Nearly at the same time, the management changed significantly and two sisters took up posts (secretary and joint-sec) in the committee, with a bosom friend as the treasurer.
They increase charges without my consent or notice.
The three women in the present management are extremely quarrelsome, so there is no civilized verbal communication possible with them.
5.I tried to sell the apartment after moving, but the committee members openly chased off my customers.
6.They built a new toilet on my roof (common space) for use of security people, without my knowledge. The existing toilet for security in ground floor was rented out for use of shop employees.
7.The elevator in question breaks down frequently. The last time it broke down, the lift mechanics gave a fair warning that if they did not do some major replacements there will be some accidents some day. I heard they presented a quote of Rs.90k to the committee. The committee ignored it.
8.Nearly two months ago, a fire took place in the lift machines. Thankfully no lives were in immediate danger, but the lift was burnt out of usefulness.
9.This time the lift technician presented a quote of 130k.
10.The committee said they have no money in fund, so everyone must give Rs. 5k extra.
11.I asked why is there no funds. Since I and a few more people do not live there, those maintenance charges (for two years 21k for me) must have been gone in savings, so I told them to use it. They said it was all used up, and refused to show me any proof.
12.I said okay, then I will pay it in installments with monthly charges. They wanted it now, or else they will stop lift to the top floor. They used same to force other flat owners to pressurize me.
13.On my refusal, they also threatened to block any prospective customers to visit my flat until my "dues" are cleared.
I'm a peaceful person and want no police trouble or court case. All I want is to sell the flat and forget everything.
Asked 4 years ago