Saturday, 18 July 2015

SOME COMMON LAPSES IN APARTMENT OWNERS' SOCIETY / ASSOCIATION




The Apartment Owners' Associations / Societies basically are formed to look after the common interest of their members and their common assets and work as a non-commercial / non-profit making body. Though it is registered as non-commercial body, attempts are made to convert the Welfare Society / Association into a commercial and profit making body by undertaking or allowing commercial activities. 

Further, though only the apartment owners are eligible to become members of Apartment Owners' Society / Association, but in reality, in certain associations, persons other than the apartment owners also become members of such association or society and also become office bearers of Board of Management. The non-owner office bearers may not have commitment for the common welfare and for the development of the association and thereby lapses do occur in the management of these welfare associations.

The following are some of the lapses generally noticed in the Apartment Owners Welfare Association/Society:

LAPSES IN GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

01. No basic records are available with Society / Association. Even the Register of Members is not kept updated and copies of Sale Deeds of Apartment in favour of members are not available with Society / Association.

02. There exists no office room for the Society / Association. As such even the routine work of the Society / Association cannot be performed in a scientific and orderly manner. This would affect the preparation of the documents for the periodical meetings and the general body meeting.

03. No Attendance Register is maintained for paid staff of the Society / Association. No paid care-taker is engaged by Society / Association to work on full time basis. No duty list and timing is specified in his appointment order. No Security Deposit is taken from the care-taker.

04. Subscription and maintenance charges bills are not issued every month regularly, and even if issued, these bills may not contain the penalty amount for the belated payment of association fees. 

05. Defaulter list containing flat No., name of Defaulter and Amount due from him is not exhibited on Notice Board.

06. Outside public are permitted to use toilets in the apartment building in cellar portion.
07. Passenger lifts are used for carrying heavy and bulky items.

08. Visitors' Book is not maintained properly at the entrance of Apartment Building.

09. Sales persons are freely allowed to contact flat occupants for sale of their products.

10. Apartment building is not insured against fire, earthquake and other similar natural calamities.

11. Heavy amounts are spent without proper sanction of the general body of the society/association

12. 'SPECIAL PURPOSE DEPOSITS' are utilized for routine maintenance of the apartment building

13. Auditing of accounts is either avoided or delayed.

14. Maintenance charges are charged for shops on par with maintenance charges for residential flats. Maintenance charges for four roomed, three roomed, two roomed and one roomed residential flats are charged uniformly. Sharing of maintenance charges on pro-rata basis depending on the value of an apartment is welcome.

15. Commercial activity like Beauty Parlor, Creche, Toddler, School, Shops are permitted in residential flats.

16. Mobile phone communication towers are permitted to be erected on the terrace of Apartment building.

17. Legal obligations of Society / Association such as (i) Submission of Annual Return of elected member of Board of Management (ii) Submission of Annual Audited Financial Statement to Competent Authority (iii) Submission of any amendment to Registered bye-laws of Society / Association for approval and filing in records of the Competent Authority are not complied with.

18. Unauthorized construction in common area and inside the flats are permitted by Society / Association with tacit approval.

19. Society / Association allows additional floors to be constructed on existing building without Municipal Sanction.

20. Society / Association starts to function when only a part of the building is constructed without obtaining Occupancy Certificate from Municipal Authorities.

21. No. surprise checks are made during night times to see whether watchmen are vigilant while on duty.

22. No surprise checks are made for unauthorized vehicle parking in the parking area.

23. No tripartile Agreement is executed between Society / Association, owner member and the tenant / lessee.

24. No copy of Registered bye laws with amendments are given to new entrants as members.

LAPSES IN SAFETY, SECURITY AND MAINTENANCE

(a) Safety

1. Inadequate fire fighting systems are provided in the Apartments buildings.

2. The building is not insured against loss due to natural calamities like fire, earthquake, heavy rains, floods and lightening etc.

3. There is no provision for lightening arrestor for tall buildings.

( b ) Security

1. No proper security arrangement to check intruders entering into the Apartments building.

2. Bodily weak, Semi-blind and semi-deaf security guards are posted in building for watch and ward duty.

3. No visitors' book is maintained at entrance of the building and it is not carefully examined. Sales men have free access to each flat to sell their products.

4. Two entries and two exits in an apartments building could pose serious problem from security point of view.

5. Lack of compound wall all around and / or barbed wire fencing on top of it could again pose problem from security point of view.

6. Absence of credential records of regular visitors to the apartment building such as Maid Servants, Dhobi, Newspaper vendors, milkmen etc. could also pose problem from security point of view.

7. Watch-men are not given list of flat Nos. and their vehicle numbers (cars, scooters, motor bikes etc.). These lists would be useful to watchmen to keep a watchful eye on unauthorized vehicle using vehicle parking area.

( c ) Maintenance

01. There is no schedule of regular / periodical inspection of Apartments building to identify prevailing defects and to rectify them in time.

02. Appropriate steps are not taken to solve the insufficient Municipal water supply, defective in the water supply net-work, un-uniformed water supply in different floors of the apartment building and to each flat of the same floor.

03. Cob-webs and wild plants are allowed to grow and spread all over building and damage the building by creating cracks.

04. Flower plants are allowed to die due to lack of systematic watering of these plants.

05. No plumber and electrician is engaged on yearly basis to attend day to day problems. Where yearly arrangement is made they are not renewed every year.

06. Vehicle parking area is not washed with water for years together.

07. Overhead water tanks and underground sumps are not cleaned periodically.

08. Open wells are not covered properly and they are not cleaned periodically.

09. No stand-by pumping arrangement are made for getting continuous water supply.

10. There are no long-term planning for maintenance of building resulting in the leakage in the Cellars during rainy season.

REASONS FOR LAPSES

1. The Society / Association is not run as an institution. It is run in a very casual and informal way. 

2. Office bearers of the Society / Association normally work without remuneration and thereby they carry an impression that they are doing a favour to the Society / Association by rendering their free service and as such they are not answerable or responsible for all their actions in the society's work.

3. There is no effective machinery from Government to monitor the performance of these Societies / Associations to make them functional as responsible institutions.

4. There are no exhaustive Bye-laws for these societies to be followed by the office bearers of these societies. Therefore the Society / Association runs in an unscientific manner with no answerability for the lapses committed by the office bearers which in turn could harm the Society / Association.

5. Most of the members of the Society / Association are uncaring and non-vigilant on the lapses committed by the office bearers. These members do not take active part in the functioning of the Society / Association, but allow to be managed by a handful of persons which in turn would lead to mismanagement of the funds of the. Society, keeping transparency in its functioning at bay.

6. Ignorance of applicable laws and their non-application in day to day functioning of the society would bring in inefficiency in the Society / Association.

7. Absence of adequate and clear-cut provision in the Registered Bye-laws of the society would give encouragement for arbitrary unlawful decisions in the Society / Association.

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