Managing the affairs of an apartment complex is not just the responsibility of the Managing Committee. Surprised? Don’t be. Just as the quality of your family life depends on the behaviour of all members of the family, the quality of life you enjoy in your complex and the manner in which it gets maintained depends a lot on how you interact with the committee and the rest of the members. We list below a few such interactions which can well decide how well your society functions.
Breach of bye-laws
It is not unusual for members to have some disagreements with the Managing Committee. Usually such disagreements are resolved amicably over a period of time. But sometimes a member decides to respond to a perceived negative action on the part of f the Managing Committee with their own illegal actions. They feel it’s the best way to get back at the Committee and have a resolution in their favour. Some deliberately breach a bye-law or stop paying their maintenance charges to the society.
Members should realize that breaking a bye-law or withholding payment of maintenance is not the legal way of complaining against the Managing Committee. They should get their complaint addressed by the competent authorities as per the bye law. If they withhold their dues to the society, the Managing Committee can issue a showcase notice to them apart from instructing the authorities to impose severe penalties on the member. Members should realize that no matter what the provocation, the society needs funds to run smoothly. And by holding back on their payments they are harming their own interests.
Just because members have paid for their flats and apartments doesn’t give them the right to do anything they wish within their premises. The way they behave and conduct themselves has an affect on the lives of other members of the complex. This is especially true for constructions and renovations that members carry out in their flats or outside. Members should check with the society if the construction activity they plan to carry out is within the rules of the society. If they are planning to renovate their apartment and it involves some amount of construction activity then do get the consent from the Secretary of your Managing Committee in writing. Make sure that any changes done will not inconvenience the flat owners staying below in the form of leakages or loud noises for an extended period of time. Plan ahead on where the debris will be dumped. If any member feels that a particular construction activity is affecting their lives they have every right to complain and seek redressal.
While members breaking down pillars and altering parts of the building’s fundamental structure are quite common there have also been instances when a group of members have built a temple or a club within the premises without taking the society’s approval. Any such activity is illegal and can be dealt swiftly by the society. In such a situation the Managing Committee can inform the municipal corporation which can take immediate and punitive actions against those members and the construction that has been carried out.
Asking for favors from the Managing Committee
Some members might be close friends to managing committee and thus might tend to ask for a favor – like waive off that penalty charge for late payment, or reduce the club house rent for your function. This would be a huge dis-favor to the rest of the community. This puts the managing committee members in a delicate situation where they would be forced to chose between the friendship or performing thier role. Do avoid asking for a favor and just abide by the by-law.
The society has a major say about common areas like the terrace, gardens, etc. For example, the society may disallow members from installing TV or personal dish cable antennas on the terrace as it could damage the wall or the terrace leading to leakages. In such a situation, the member can request the society to consider putting a common antenna that could be used by all residents of the society. Similarly, residents putting potted plants in their balconies could lead to water dripping and thus dirtying the outside wall. Sometimes the watering is done in such a manner that it falls into the balconies of the member who stays directly below. In both cases, the society can raise an objection to this and make the member remove or alter the manner in which the plants are taken care of.
Many people love to keep pets. Unfortunately, apartment complexes are not always the best environment for pets as it may sometimes inconvenience other members. Those members who’d like to keep pets should therefore try to understand the reason for any objections that may be raised by fellow-members and address it in the best way possible. They should remember that everyone who complains about pets should not be automatically categorized as animal haters. The members who complain may have genuine concerns which need to be addressed.
What pet owners should be aware is that banning licensed pets from an apartment complex is not legally valid. But they should also not misuse this right to let their pets cause a nuisance and dirty the common areas of the society. While showing their commitment to their pet they should also show respect to the concerns of other residents. Some simple steps include cleaning any littering that is caused and always keeping the pet on a leash so that you are able to control your pet when required. Managing Committees should realize that although the society can frame certain restrictions, they cannot curtail the fundamental rights of the members and any resolution that is seen as discriminatory can be challenged in a co-operative court.
Participating in society meetings and elections
The middle class and the upper middle class are infamous for their aversion to participating in any kind of elections – whether state or national-level. This antipathy gets extended to their society meetings and elections as well. There are many instances of members unwilling to accept any responsibility in running the affairs of the society but demanding that the Managing Committee is available at their beck and call. They may also skip attending meetings on crucial topics due to personal commitments and then blame those who took the decision for any untoward result that occurs.
Every member should realize that it is their duty to be present in as many meetings as possible so that they can make their point heard and influence the decision-making. Their commitment to the affairs of the society doesn’t end with just giving a cheque for the monthly maintenance. They have to work with every other member to make the society run as efficiently as possible. To make this possible they should also be willing to put up their hands and share any skills they may have when the need arises.
These are just a few of the areas in which the behaviour of the members can decide how efficiently an apartment complex gets managed. We hope you are playing a proactive role in the affairs of your apartment complex – whether you are part of the Managing Committee or not!
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