• Maintenance and water connection charges in apartments

I own an apartment in Visakhapatnam City in a building having 6 three bedroom and 20 two bedroom apartments. In the past, the monthly maintenance charges were distributed and recovered equally from all the apartments. However, recently the office bearers of the Society resolved to recover monthly maintenance charges based on the plinth area of each apartment and not equally. Their excuse is that a majority of the apartment owners have agreed to this new arrangement. I have been protesting that this was incorrect as maintenance is done outside the flat and not to the area of the flat. Please guide me from the angle of law and equity whether the new practice is correct.
Asked 2 years ago in Property Law from Mumbai, Maharashtra
1. This decision has to be passed in general body meeting wherein majority of the attendees shall have to give consent for such charge in claiming differntial maintenance amounts,

2. If such a decision has been taken in that meeting it should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and the said meeting should have had 'Quorum',

3. It totally depends on the majority decision of the society and there are arguments both for and against the said theory of differential maintenance based on floor area occupancy,

4. Nobody has, to my knowledge, has gone to court against such differntial maintenance amounts so far to know about Court's view in this regard. .
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12104 Answers
230 Consultations
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1. The decision to hike the monthly maintenance fee on the basis of plinth area of the apartment has to be passed by the society in its general meeting or AGM having the requisite quorum. 

2. Maintenance charges levied by any society are for the purpose of maintenance, repairs and reconstruction of the common infrastructure of the society, like, society's premises, security arrangements, supply lines, sewer lines, lifts, staircases, etc. as these are commonly used by apartment owners. In such a scenario, to quantify maintenance charges on the basis of plinth area of the apartment is wholly illegal. As such, you may refuse to pay the differential charges and challenge the decision of the society in the court.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18088 Answers
448 Consultations
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Hello,
The society has the right to increase the maintenance or introduce differential maintenance if they pass it in a resolution in the AGM meeting. The concept is generally accepted as greater the area greater the consumption. In other words if it has been done legally and accepted by majority you don't unfortunately have a legal remedy.
S J Mathew
Advocate, Mumbai
1950 Answers
65 Consultations
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1) water charges depend upon number of inlets in the flat . obviously 3 bedroom flat will have more inlets than a 2 bedroom flat . 

2) as far as maintenance charges are concerned certain  charges like lift maintenance , security, electricity charges etc . would be equal among all members irrespective of area of the flat . property taxes, insurance charges etc would depend upon area of the flat . 

3) you have not mentioned whether any cooperative society has been formed of members of apartment . if so it would be governed by provisions of cooperative societies act of your state . 


4) in this regard please clarify whether issue was placed in the agenda of AGM . 

5) whether notice was issued to you regarding the change in maintenance charges to be recovered from members . 

6) whether there was sufficent quorum in AGM 

7) whether the resolution for change in maintenance charges to be recovered from members was passed with majority vote. 

8) you can address letter to Secretary of the society requesting for copy of said resolution passed in AGM . 

9) contact a local lawyer and move court for necessary reliefs if no  such resolution has been passed in AGM and is contrary to state laws in this regard
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23206 Answers
1218 Consultations
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You can issue a notice to them for doing the same and then file civil suit against the same or PIL against the same
Jeshma Mohandas KP
Advocate, Kozhikode
567 Answers
1 Consultations
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A. Every housing society decides on a method that it believes is a fair and reasonable way of calculating the amount for each member.

B. If the Society majority member Quorum has taken this decision before AGM for the purpose of the cleaning and maintenance of sound environment you cannot wonder about it.

C. . However, If the society has taken the decision by violating the bye laws, you can question order before the District Registrar Co operatives (DRCS).
B.T. Ravi
Advocate, Bangalore
736 Answers
29 Consultations
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