The maintenance charges are collected from residents for services like water, common area electricity, security and common area cleaning. The money also goes into general upkeep of the building and maintaining amenities in the apartment complex.
As per Bye-laws of the Association:
The non-payment of maintenance or development charges will show a pending amount against a flat. In case there is a amount pending against a flat, the penalties will be imposed.
Flat residents need to make sure that full dues against a flat are paid by due date. Otherwise monetary penalties and disconnection of utilities will be carried out.
The general body while framing regulations for maintenance of essential services including mandatory green area in the co-operative housing society shall have to take into account the common areas, common facilities and the services which are rendered to the members and the residents by the co-operative housing society. The regulations shall have to spell out the basis of fixing up of the charges for the maintenance of essential services specially in such complexes, where area of dwelling units and number of story of flats differ in sizes.
Unless it is provided in the bye-laws, you can not get any concession or exemption for the payment of maintenance charges even if the flat is unoccupied or vacant. But if your flat is lying vacant, you have to write to the society about such vacancy who in turns must inform the Municipal Corporation to claim vacancy benefit.
However you may discuss with a local lawyer and issue a legal notice stating that you were always ready for paying the maintenance amount but in the absence of the bill or notice, you were not able to remember this subject, however since you are ready to pay the arrears of maintenance, the society to accept the same without penalty imposed on it and also the penalty imposed is exorbitant hence illegal. You can add more such issues of maintenance in your notice to the association to make it more stronger.