When can a builder start charging maintenance for an apartment?
My apartment complex is in Whitefield, Bangalore and has a total of 140 apartments in 2 blocks. The builder has handed over 70% of the flats and 30% of the flats have been occupied by now. The complex has electricity supply from BESCOM, water, lifts, security and common area cleaning provided as of now. But, the following are yet to be completed by the builder: (a) All amenities are pending - Swimming Pool, Party Hall, Gym, Children's play area (b) Required NOCs not received (c) OC & CC not received (d) Final coat of paining in all common areas pending
The builder had promised a delivery date of October 2015 with a grace period of 3 months, which ended in January 2016. Electricity was made available in April, 2016 after which owners started moving in due to practical necessity and the builder claiming that the complex is ready for occupation.
Now, the builder is asking the owners to start paying maintenance fee from May to cover day to day expenses like security, housekeeping staff, electricity in common areas, diesel etc. There is no clause of the builders maintaining the apartment for the first "x" months in the sale or construction agreement.
My question is whether the builder can demand maintenance fee for the items I have mentioned above, while the complex is not fully completed (mainly amenities remaining) and without OC/NOC being obtained.
I understand that we should not have occupied without getting an NOC, but there are practical issues like rent vs. load, notice given in existing apartment etc. that forced people to move in.
Appreciate your help with this.
Asked in Property Law from Bangalore, Karnataka
1) builder can deliver possession of flat to flat owners only after OC is received from BBMP
2) once you have taken possession of flat builder will charge maintenance
3) you should dispute your liability to pay maintenance as no OC is issued and common amenities promised have not been provided for
builder cannot compel you to pay day to day expenses until completion certificate has issued and society has formed. builder has already received society fee which is to be transferred in the favour of society after its formation. there is legal lacunae and builder has to bear all the expenses till the issuance of CC and formation of society. you can file a case before the consumer forum for delay in completion of all amenities and compensation.
Proceeding with registration when builders do not provide occupancy certificate is a risk that might make your property a B-khata property. Think before going ahead with registration.
Once you make the final payment, then on, you are responsible for payments related to the flat which at this stage would be the electricity bill and monthly maintenance charges. You want to shift into your new home quickly because paying both the EMI on this house’s loan and the rent for your current home is really a waste of money.
What has been described is often the regimen followed by builders in handing over “completed” apartments to buyers. In all of this, one very important factor has been forgotten. It is called the Occupancy Certificate. What is Occupancy Certificate? The Occupancy Certificate (OC) is a document issued by a statutory authority (such as BBMP and BDA in Bangalore) and it gives the applicant (builder) permission to “occupy” the property.
No Occupancy Certificate means that the building has not been given a “Pass Certificate”. This means that it does not have all the mandatory infrastructure/ clearances that make the building inhabitable.
Builders, without fulfilling the mandatory terms of sanction and/or promises to the buyers are eager to hand over and move on to the next project. By getting people to live in the flats, they create a shield for themselves. They also escape from the delay penalty clauses that are in the agreement. - Buyers are eager to take possession of their homes. Many are not even aware of OC and what it means. - Water, sanitary and electrical connections are being given on a permanent basis even without OC. - There are tenants waiting to rent the property. - The law is not being enforced by the government authorities. Finally, it is the buyer who pays the price.
In your case you can either wait or make the payments with objection by which you can take the builder into legal task or drag him to consumer forum for deficiency of service to not provide you the OC.