Wednesday, 30 April 2014


(Bangalore property|apartments|flats|lands for sale in Bangalore)

Having no financial constraints, one may prefer to buy an independent house, in which case he will be the exclusive master of his  house, as opposed to the owner of a flat in  an apartment building since he has to share certain common areas and facilities along with other flat owners in the apartment building who have an equal right in respect of these common areas and facilities. Not only this, each of the flat owners is  totally stranger to the other with  different life-styles and language. Therefore, a flat owner has to basically understand that buying a flat is incomparable to the buying of an independent house.

Due to such diversity in living styles of buyers of flats in an apartment building and the rights, obligations and duties of each apartment owner to other owners and to avoid chaos, confusion and misunderstanding amongst them, the Government of Karnataka has enacted the 'Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972,' (K.A.O.Act, 1972) which forms the basis for formation of an Apartment Owners Society or Association. An apartment owner has to consider the following:

Choosing  the  Builder
The first and foremost aspect that an intending purchaser of an apartment/flat unit has to consider is to identify and select a reputed firm of builders.Since huge sums of money are invested in buying a flat choosing  a builder who by 'market reputation' is trustworthy could give  protection to the investment.  In this regard the following points may be considered:

a) Check up whether the builder has reputation of maintaining quality yardsticks in the construction of an apartment building.

b) Check up whether the  builder adheres to the time schedule? Delay in delivery of possession  by the builder may prove quite expensive for the buyer.

c) Find out from the previous buyers about the Builder's attitude, trustworthiness,  helpfulness etc.

d) Verify the title deeds regarding the ownership of land on which the apartment building is proposed to be constructed. In this connection, the 

Builder may be insisted upon to make available the following documents  for verification :-

i)Copies of all land documents for scrutiny starting  from the original site allocation to the buying party of the first sale and all subsequent sales thereafter, ii) Possession certificate, iii) Latest Tax paid receipt, iv) Khata certificate from the Municipality, v) Encumbrance certificate

e) Insist upon furnishing a  list of  buyers of other apartment units in the same building with details of sale consideration received from them for their apartments. Also find out whether any of the purchasers has been given any extra advantages in the apartment building;

The Builder will  have to inform the apartment unit holders about the need for formation of a Apartment Owners Association/Society under the K.A.O. Act, 1972,  to be formed after the 'completion certificate' is received.The above Act also forbids the builder to give possession to any buyer to occupy before the 'completion certificate' is obtained from the municipality. The Act referred to above also mentions about the advance payment amounts asked for by the builder.

Basement  parking  area
Logically builders cannot charge for the basement parking land, because the land price is already included in the cost of the apartment. Every apartment owner automatically owns a certain percentage of the plot on which the building is built when buying a flat. This proportion of land ownership is shown in the "Deed of Declaration,' which the builder has to execute and register for the Society to be formed. However, no apartment owner can claim exclusive ownership of any particular part of the basement area as their own, because these are known as 'Common Areas' in the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972.

Apartment  on  the  terrace  floor
Most apartments built on the terrace floor, are usually unauthorized since such constructions shall have no building plan sanction from the competent authority. Therefore, the flat purchaser should get this aspect cleared from the builder as to whether there would be any construction on the terrace. Similarly, the purchaser has to go through the building plan sanction order issued by the municipal authorities before he finalizes any deal with the property developer.

Maintenance  costs
Buyers for whom recurring costs are of no consequence may want more facilities on the large residential property. However, many buyers may look carefully at the monthly maintenance costs they are to incur for the facilities offered. Therefore, apartment buyers need to pay a close attention to the numerous facilities and attractions, the builder is offering in the project. This may include i) Uninterrupted water supply through bore wells in the layout;  ii)Large landscaped areas, iii) Club house, swimming pool, tennis court, children's play park, gym. iv) Multiple electric points for generator power, v) piped gas. vi) Mini market etc. All these facilities will have a bearing on capital costs and monthly maintenance costs for the buyer.

We shall examine these facilities  one by one.
i) Bore well:If not used judiciously, bore wells do dry up. Bore wells are all interconnected underground and so a great many bore wells go dry and hence cannot supplement the city's main water supply for long.

ii) Landscaping:In a large property landscaping is necessarily on an extensive scale which requires water in large quantities. Therefore the installation of a Sewage Treatment / Water Recycling plant, becomes a necessity, to generate usable water for landscaping, water closet lines, etc.

iii) Clubhouse:Club house and its facilities also  consume water in large quantities.Consider filling the swimming pool once and then connecting a water filtration plant operating continuously to keep the water clean for swimming.

Builders developing large acres of land would do the city a great service by installing Sewage Treatment & Water Recycling plants, on the properties they develop. There will be plenty of recycled water for large landscaped areas and will save significant quantities of municipal and bore well water. This would certainly add to monthly maintenance's expenses, but the extra purified non-potable, water can very easily be sold to recover some expenses. Builders will otherwise leave this water problem for the buyers to solve. Do not forget, water scarcity is an on going world-wide phenomenon.

iv) Multiple electrical points on generator:For any extra electrical load, a bigger generator is required, which means a higher capital cost and therefore a higher, A.M.C.(annual maintenance cost). When an added cost is not equally useful to those having to pay for it, then it is an unfair cost.Your apartment may be closed for months, but you end up paying the higher diesel consumption every month for use of extra light points on generator power for others.

v) Piped gas:Piped gas in a residential building of, say, 30 apartments, needs storage space for about 44 cylinders. i.e., one bank of 22 cylinders on tap and the other bank of 22 cylinders awaiting replacement. Gas banks have to be built as per specifications of the fire department with municipal permissions and licenses.Municipal inspectors carry out regular checking of the installation.

In hotels and hospitals where gas banks are commonly used, there are full fledged well trained engineering,maintenance and security departments looking after all operational problems of the facilities in place. Access to those areas are restricted and closely guarded.

In the case of apartment building, neither the builder, who offered the facility, nor the gas company that installed the gas lines in the building, will shoulder the responsibility after their work was certified by the Fire Brigade department and the municipality. So, given the Society's inadequately numbered and trained staff, the responsibility for any Building Society's management committee is huge, with so many lives in the building and the adjoining neighbors on all sides are at stake.

vi) Mini Market : Shopping facility created close by for daily consumables is a good idea. Check on the plans as to where it is to be located on the property? Check the ownership clause the shops have because the builder will have gone and the shop owners may not respect your need for cleanliness in the area.

Neither architects, nor builders, bother much about 'in-built' security for apartments in their designs.Very often, the architects and builders, are more concerned about the design of a building to make it attractive rather than how secure the apartments are in their design, to prevent easy access, from one apartment to another through  balconies or the windows.

Nor do Architects and builders look into the issues of noise filtration from one apartment into the other. Light switches on common walls, are placed 'back to back,' to reduce the construction costs. Noise at nights of the loud conversation, T.V. noise etc., passing through these openings in common walls with adjoining apartments would be quite disturbing.

Many builders, may lower their construction costs by various methods and the following are some of them:-

1) Reducing floor slab thicknesses than what is stipulated in the building laws.

2) Reducing ceiling heights of apartments.

3) Reducing room sizes to those as shown in the plans.

4) to prevent these cost saving methods by the developers physically inspect your apartment, including, kitchen and bathrooms and compare details as printed in the brochure given to you.

5) Peruse the orders of the National Consumer Commission & other Courts for fees charged for electricity & water connections.

6) Make sure that a clause delay in giving possession of your flat because you may need to extend your stay in the place where you may be presently staying, waiting for your new apartment to be ready.

7) Many builders may insist for declaration of 'No Claims' from buyers so as to absolve themselves of the penalty for their wrong doings or deficiencies in the apartment building. This is an unfair 'trade practice' and you can refuse to sign such a declaration.

8) Make sure that all action for maintain of Apartment Owners Association is taken by the builder in terms of Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972.

Be mentally prepared to be a 'joint' owner of certain common areas and facilities in the apartment building.Take the advice of, or engage a local lawyer for all legal matters when buying an apartment.List out all documents required for your records. Check out legality of financial outgoings and firm up the schedule for payments with the builder, that you have to make.

You should get involved more into the buying process of your apartment as mentioned above. Apartments which are ready for occupation, or are occupied could be inspected and checked from the angles as mentioned above. Go step by step and do not hurry up. After all it costs a lot of money and above all it is an, 'appreciating asset' for you.

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