1.I live in an apartment constituted under the Apartment Ownership Act, 1963 What happens in case of destruction or damage to the common property?
If, within sixty days of the date of damage or destruction to all or part of the property, it is not determined by the Association of Apartments Owners to repair, reconstruct or rebuild, then and in that event,-
a) the property shall be deemed to be owned in common by the apartment owners;
b) the undivided interest in the property owned in common which shall appertain to each apartment owner shall be the percentage of the undivided interest previously owned by such owner in the common areas and facilities;
c) any encumbrances affecting any of the apartments shall be deemed to be transferred in accordance with the existing priority to the percentage of the undivided interest of the apartment owner in the property as provided therein;
d) the property shall be subject to an action for partition at the suit of any apartment owner, in which event the net proceeds of the sale together with the net proceeds of the insurance on the property, if any, shall be considered as one fund and shall be divided among all apartment owners in percentage equal to the percentage of undivided interest owned by each owner in the property after first paying out, all the respective shares of the apartment owners to the extent sufficient for the purpose and all charges on the undivided interest in the property owned by each apartment owner.
2.What particulars must 'Deeds of Apartments' under the Apartment Ownership Act contain ?
Deeds of Apartments must contain the following particulars, namely:
a) Description of the land as provided by Section 11 of the Act or the post office address of the property, including in either case the liber, page and date of executing the Declaration, the date and serial number of its registration under the Registration Act, 1908 and the date and other reference, if any of its filing with the competent authority.
b) The apartment number of the apartment in the Declaration and any other data necessary for its proper identification.
c) Statement of the use for which the apartment is intended and restrictions on its use, if any.
d) The percentage of undivided interest appertaining to the apartment in the common areas and facilities.
e) Any further details which the parties to the deed may deem desirable to set forth consistent with the Declaration and this Act.
A true copy of every Deed of Apartment shall be filed in the office of the competent authority.
3.A house is a house, by whatever name you call it. How is an apartment under the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act the any different from a flat under the Maharashtra ownership Flats Act, 1963?
Under The Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963, the land and the building including, flats/ premises or apartments are conveyed to and owned by a Co- operative Society or a Limited Company, both of which are persons or incorporated bodies in Law. An association of Apartment owners under the Act is an incorporated body. Further, under the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, the legal title to the land or building vests in the society or company as the case may be and the flat or premise holders have a right to occupy and use to use their respective flats/ premises as shareholders and members of the Society or company but no independent or exclusive ownership of any portion of the land or building. In case of an apartment under the Act, each Apartment owner is entitled to the exclusive ownership and possession of his Apartment and an undivided interest in the common areas and facilities in the percentage specified in the Declaration.
An apartment is a part of the property intended for any type of independent use, including one or more rooms or enclosed spaces located on one or more floors( or part or parts thereof) in a building,( intended to be used for residence, office, practice of any practice of any profession, or for carrying on any occupation, trade or business or for any type of independent use) and with a direct exit to a public street, road or highway or to a common area leading to such street, road or highway.
4.What is the purpose of collecting amounts towards Sinking Fund in Co-operative Housing Society? What should be the contribution from members towards Sinking Fund? When can the amount collected for Sinking Fund be spent by the society?
The purpose of collecting Sinking Fund is to accumulate and keep sufficient funds with the society so that the property of the Society i.e. building can be reconstructed in future. The contribution to Sinking Fund is a statutory obligation. Sinking Fund has to be contributed as decided by the General Body of the Society. It should be at least @1/4 per cent per annum on the cost of the each flat excluding the cost of the Land. On the resolution passed at the meeting of the General Body of the Society and with the prior permission of the Registering Authority, the Sinking Fund may be used by the Society for reconstruction of its building/s or for carrying out such structural additions or alterations to the building/s as in the opinion of the Society’s Architect is required for carrying out such heavy repairs as may be certified by the Architect. However permission is not usually granted by the Registrar to withdraw amounts from the sinking fund.
5.What is the object of the tax levied under Maharahstra Tax on Buildings (with Larger Residential Premises) (Re-enacted) Act 1979? Why was it re-enacted? When is such a tax payable?
The object of the Maharashtra Tax on Buildings (with Larger Residential Premises) Act 1979 is to levy a tax so that there is a check on extravagant use of available living space, particularly residential accommodation. This tax is a source of revenue for the State Government. Initially there was a separate Act i.e. Maharashtra Tax on Residential Premises Act, 1974. In a case filed in the Bombay High Court i.e. Miscellaneous Petition No. 214 of 1978 Rajab Mahal Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. v/s State of Maharashtra & Others it was held that the Maharashtra Tax on Residential Premises Act, 1974 providing uniform rate of tax for premises situated in any corporation area was in contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and therefore the said Act was null and void.
Therefore, a situation had arisen whereby the State Government would lose revenue of lakhs of rupees and substantial amounts earlier collected under 1974 Act might have had to be refunded. Therefore to maintain continuity and with a view to not refund the tax collected earlier, a new Act which was free from the defects pointed out by the Bombay High Court in the abovementioned Judgement was re-enacted. It may be emphasized that the new Act was specifically drafted in such a way that recovery would be made since 1st April, 1974 though the re-enacted Act came into existence from 1979. The tax is payable in Corporation areas of the State of Maharashtra excluding Greater Bombay @ 10% of the Rateable value of Residential Premises, if the rateable value exceeds Rs.1,500/- (Rupees One thousand five hundred only) and the floor area is of more than 150 sq.metres. If the property is in Greater Bombay the tax is payable @ 10% of the Rateable Value of Residential Premises if the rateable value of the premises exceeds Rs.1,500/- (Rupees One thousand five hundred only) and the floor area of the premises is of more than 125 sq.metres