A kid’s bedroom: there is no room more challenging, yet more fun to design. Before embarking on this project, you may want to consider all the pointers that follow.
The first thing you need to remember is to account for the safety of your child. Make sure that the wiring, paint, furniture and decor items are all of good quality and child-safe. No matter how good it looks, avoid items that are made of glass. This includes shelves and furniture.
Children spend a lot of time in their bedrooms. Remember to leave plenty of open space in the room. Opt to put all the bulky furniture against the wall. Leave the centre of the room empty so they have plenty of space to play, move around, and let’s face it, scatter their toys.
When designing a room for children, it is important to include them in the decision making process. The easiest way to do this is to ask them to pick the colours for their walls. If the colour they pick is way too bright for your taste, use it as a feature wall and paint the rest of the room a more neutral colour. Yet another thing you can do is narrow down the different furniture you’re willing to buy and leave the final decision to your child.
No matter how attractive the alternative, purchase practical items. Children are quick to grow in size. They are even quicker to grow out of phases. So while making big purchases, like furniture, keep things simple. You can indulge their tastes in things like bedding, rugs or wall decor.
It is very important that your child’s room is adequately lit, both during the day and at night. When setting up the room, make sure there is nothing blocking the windows. As for the light fixtures, try opting for warmer lights. These help the body to relax so it is easier to put your child to bed.
Children may be small but they always seem to have more stuff than everybody else in the family. Give them sufficient storage space for all their things. Try to go for furniture that doubles as a smart storage option. It is always a good idea to invest in overhead storage for all the things that they don’t need every day.
A common idea while furnishing a kid’s room is selecting a theme. This helps in making the room look seamless. Themes range from cartoon characters, favourite animals to just a combination of colours. While designing a room based on a theme may be fun, the real problem comes with maintenance. So pick furnishings that are easy to clean and quick to dry. Remember, if it’s a kid’s room, spills, stains and scratches are part of the parcel!
One of the best ways to personalise a child’s bedroom by displaying their artwork. Pick out the best of your child’s drawings and have them framed. You can also hang framed photographs or poetry. Have them create wall hangings and craftwork for their shelf. Deck the room in their work and watch it come together!
Kids are the most challenging “customers” to please. Designing a kid’s room can be challenging. But the smiles, in the end, will definitely be worth all the effort!
Planning an event in an Apartment Complex can be a challenge. There is always a lot you need to do and almost always, there are unforeseen difficulties. Here are some things that may help smoothen the process.
Before the Event
As an organiser, naturally, this is the most important part of event planning. There are several things you need to put in place as you start organising your event.
The Team When planning an event, the first thing that you need to do is make a team. Delegate the work to members of your team. Your team has to cover all the following bases-
i. Venue management: Not only do you have to book the venue or facility where you wish to host the event, you have to ensure you have legal permission or license to do so. You also need to organise for decorations, chairs, tables and anything else you may require during the event.
ii. Promotion and revenue collection: What is an event without participants? It is important to make everyone in of your apartment complex aware of your upcoming event. Generate a buzz among the residents with frequent reminders. It may also be a good idea to put up posters. If your event has a participation fee, collect it in advance.
iii. Technical support: A huge part of any event is light and sound. In some places, you may also need fans or air conditioning. It is important to have someone overlooking all these issues as they may arise before or during the event.
iv. Refreshment committee: Regardless of their enthusiasm for your event, participants will always be excited about the food you serve. Spare no expense in this area. A good variety of food and drinks that caters to people’s dietary preferences will have a good influence on the popularity of your event.
v. Entertainment committee: This is what the event is actually about. Build a schedule for the programme with time estimates. If this involves a cultural programme begin rehearsals as soon as possible. Stage and costume rehearsals are always a good idea. Always remember to organise activities for children. Participation by children is the easiest way to get their families engaged too.
When delegating roles, remember to account for everybody’s area of expertise. Besides these areas, remember to have someone supervising the whole event including coordination and budget management.
The Budget Once you know who’s doing what, start getting estimates from service providers. It helps to have two or three options to choose from. Once you have an approximate idea of how much it may cost, set a budget. Negotiate with the vendors for the best price. If you wish to charge a participation fee from the residents, it is extremely important to make it as inexpensive as possible. Keep a track of your income and expenses. This should be easily available if somebody asks to see it.
The Theme This, of course, is an optional avenue. While some events are likely to have a theme, others can do without it. However, if you choose to have a theme, arrange for decorative pieces and props that go with it. Remember, highly stylized props can be used only once. Aim for reusable props that you can store for the next time.
The Masterplan Create a plan for your entire event. Build a schedule for the day right from set-up to pack-up. Mark the timings clearly. When the whole team knows where they have to be and when coordination becomes simpler.
Do all that you can in advance. Account for every detail from lighting to costumes. All your shopping should ideally be done a few days before the event.
Finally, remember that there will always be some things that are beyond your control. Leave some room for flexibility in your plan.
During the Event
There are several things you should be mindful of when your event is in progress.
Punctuality If you want to stick to your schedule, it is very important to start your event on time. An event that starts on time can end on time, with plenty of time to do everything you have planned.
First Aid Community events are a chance for the entire society to enjoy each other’s company. But with so many people (especially children) gathered together, there is a high chance of accidents. Keep a first aid kit nearby.
Activities An event in an apartment complex has to engage everyone in the apartment complex. Make sure there is something to do for members of every age. Activities, where people can occupy themselves, are always a bonus. Here are some extras you can organise for your event
i. Games and toys: The last thing you want is for bored kids to drag their parents home. Create a small playpen with toys for children to keep them busy.
ii. A Photobooth: This is the easiest way to entertain your guests. Put up a plain black backdrop against a wall and leave a selection of silly cardboard props nearby. Your guests can enjoy a selfie session.
iii. Photographer: If you do not want to hire a professional photographer, have someone from your team capture all the candid moments of your event. Why enjoy yourself just once when you can capture the moments forever?
iv. Open Mic: Give all the residents a free access to the stage. Give away prizes to the participants who agree to perform on the spot. Another good idea is karaoke. You don’t need a karaoke machine to enjoy this. There are several youtube karaoke videos that your guests can sing along to.
After the Event
After the event is over there are a few things you and your team have to do. First, it is very important to clean up the venue. Clear out any trash that may be lying around and put it in the bins. This is the time when a lot of missing items are found. Makes a lost and found box and put up the list of items on your ApnaComplex Forum.
Remember to clear all your bills. Prompt payment for services usually encourages better service when you hire them again. Sending a personalised thank you note to your service providers is also a good touch. This is also the time to reimburse your team members for any payments they may have made during the event.
Lastly remember to acknowledge your team, volunteers and participants who helped make your event successful.
A community event is a fun way to get to know other residents in your apartment complex. Collaborating with everyone to successfully pull it off may take some effort. ApnaComplex has an array of features that you can assist you in this task. Visit our website to learn about facility management, discussion forums and so much more!
“A national spirit is necessary for national existence. A flag is a material aid to the development of such a spirit.” -Mahatma Gandhi.
With the 72nd Independence Day just around the corner, members of most apartment complexes will be gearing up to organise their own flag hoisting ceremony. The Indian Flag, or the tricolour, is a symbol of our country. As such, it should be treated with great respect. The Government of India has put down the code to ensure its proper construction and handling. Here is a reminder of the dos and don’ts of the National Flag etiquette.
The Indian Flag Code specifies the dimensions of the flag and how it should be constructed. This is a measure taken to ensure that the flags used everywhere are uniform.
First, the Indian Flag should be a perfect rectangle, with a ratio of 3:2 between the length and the width. The flag’s size should be one among these (in mm): 150×100
Pick an appropriate size for display.
It should be made of handspun khadi, or of cotton, silk or wool. Avoid plastic flags because these are difficult to dispose of.
The flag should be split into three equal panels – saffron (not orange) panel at the top, a white panel in the middle and a green panel (described as India green) at the bottom. Be careful with the colours.
A navy blue Ashoka Chakra should adorn the centre of the white panel, with 24 spokes that are equally spaced.
The Indian flag hoisting rules also cover instances of the flag’s misuse and specify the proper procedure to hoist the flag.
During an Indian flag hoisting ceremony, the saffron panel should always be on top. The flag should never be hoisted upside down.
It should be displayed from sunrise till sunset, irrespective of weather conditions.
The flag should always be positioned to the far right.
There should be no other flag or emblem to its right or above it.
The Indian flag should hold no lettering or inscriptions of any kind.
During ceremonies, it is common practice to use flower petals within the unfurled flag. The Indian flag code prevents the use of any confetti or decorative materials other than flower petals.
In a procession, the Indian flag should either be carried to the right or in front of the central line.
It should never touch the ground or water.
There should be no other flags on the same masthead as the Indian flag.
The flag should never be flown at half-mast unless the government specifies.
The National Flag should not be used to cover any speaker’s desk, platform or monument.
Paper flags can be used during days of national importance. However, care should be taken that they do not touch the ground.
The national anthem should be sung once people salute the flag. (It is essential to follow the etiquette specified for the national anthem as well).
A damaged flag should never be displayed, and such flags can be disposed of in private, preferably by burning or in a method consistent with its dignity.
When planning to hoist the Indian Flag in your apartment complex, it is the duty of every Indian citizen to ensure that these rules are followed. Start a discussion on your ApnaComplex forums to raise awareness among the residents. The managing committee can take things a step further by printing out such rules and handing out copies. It is important to make sure that no misuse occurs, either deliberately or by accident.
The tricolour represents the Indian community. So this Independence Day, as you come together in your apartment complex remember to bask in this spirit of community. From everyone at ApnaComplex, we wish you all a Happy Independence Day!
Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to always consult appropriate professional advisers for your society to ensure compliance.
We are excited to announce “School Bus @ Gate” – an innovative capability on ApnaComplex to enhance Convenience, Safety and Security at your Apartment Complex / Gated Community.
The life of the parents of a school-going child typically revolves around school bus timings. Parents always want to be aware of when their child’s school bus arrived for pick up in the mornings and dropped the child at Apartment Gate.
With “School Bus @ Gate” functionality, we assist parents of school-going children residing in the Apartment Complex with instant notifications when the school bus comes to the gate! This offers unparalleled convenience to the parents as they would know if the bus has arrived before the child has reached the gate and when the child was dropped at the gate.
On the ApnaComplex App, under the My Unit tab, you can associate yourselves with the School Bus by which your child is commuting. If your child’s school bus or the route is not listed – just go ahead and add a new school bus on the App. You can also add multiple buses for each school if needed. Parents of other kids going via the same school bus can associate themselves with the school bus. Whenever the bus comes to the gate to pick up or drop, all the residents associated with that bus would get a push notification on their mobiles. Super convenient!
Residents can not only check the history of bus timings for any bus – but also quickly get to know other residents – who have children going on the same bus route.
All School bus routes that were created will automatically show up on Gatekeeper app that the security at your gate uses. Security Guard at the Apartment Main Gate records the movement of the school bus on the Gatekeeper which then gets synced with the ApnaComplex cloud platform, which in turn sends notifications.
This capability is getting rolled out in a phased manner on both Android and iOS platforms and should be available to everyone in 2-3 days,
Yet again, ApnaComplex raises the bar with innovative features that really matter!
While apartments have their advantages, one big downside is the detachment from nature. As opposed to a house with a big green yard, apartments tend to feel closed off and small. The only gateway to the outside world often comes in the form of balconies. Sitting out on your balcony, sipping a warm cup of tea (or coffee), and just watching the world go by is an undeniably therapeutic hobby. But often balcony spaces are underutilized. A common sight is a couple of old chairs, some pots with small plants, and heaps of refuse that we store for no real reason.
In recent years the concept of “handkerchief gardens” has blossomed (pun intended). What originally started as small, square garden spaces is now a term used to describe gardens in small spaces. So why not bring this concept to your balcony?
Landscaping small spaces can be a daunting task. Not only does it need to be space efficient, it also needs to fit your personal creative tastes. Here are some tips that can help set the wheel in motion.
Plan it well As with any DIY project, the first step is planning. Having a clear idea of the space available is a must. Measure the area and create a plan for where you want to eventually place each item.
Clean it up The next thing you need to do is clean up the balcony. Remove the clutter that has been lying around. Keep a lookout for cobwebs and dust bunnies that may have appeared in the unused space. Put up nails and hooks wherever you may need them. Remember to check the wiring and sockets that can be used. If you want to go the extra mile why not try hand painting the wall for extra flair?
Know your climate The primary requirement of any garden is, naturally, plants. While everyone loves the idea of exotic sweet-smelling flowers, we should remember that these plants need a lot of work. Look up plants that may be easier to grow in your locality. Also, check the direction of your balcony. This will have a direct effect on the amount of sunlight your plants will receive. Instead of flowers, consider growing herbs (like mint) that not only smell good but can be used in your kitchen.
Pots and pans A pot garden with the little mud pots is a common sight in most balconies. But why stop there? Almost anything can be reused as garden pots; bottles, old buckets, kettles, old cans, everything is fair game. To add a little variety you can also purchase hanging pots or hooked planters.
Stack it up Balconies are usually small. In such small spaces, vertical gardens are usually a good idea. Old bookshelves, step ladders, tables and stools, all provide good surfaces to put your pots on. Do not be afraid to add variations in height. It is all part of the aesthetic.
Drape it down Another dramatic addition you can make to your balcony garden is vines and creepers. If you want to add an aura of magic and fairy tales to your space, this is the way to go. Just remember, vines take a little extra effort to maintain. Team it up with your vertical garden and it can make a striking impression.
Always accessorize Gardens do not have to be limited to growing plants. Adding decor pieces that compliment your setup is always a good idea. Place random knick-knacks like figurines and windchimes. A popular addition you can install is a water feature. Small fountains and aquariums can add a bit more zing. You can also create a small bird bath. If you are lucky, the chirping of birds will be a great new feature of your new garden.
Let there be light Outdoor lighting can go a long way in building the aesthetic. Drape fairy lights along your walls or hang paper lanterns from the ceiling. This is usually cost-effective and easy to remove. However, if you want something permanent, buy new light fixtures for the space. Try to opt for warm lighting. It creates a more cosy ambience.
Keep it simple One of the most effective ways of creating a low-maintenance garden is through terrariums. A terrarium is a glass container with a plant growing inside. It is a usually self-sustaining ecosystem. The evaporated water condenses on the surface of the glass and waters the plant over and over again. Once in place, it requires almost no help to grow. All you need to do is open up the container every so often to fertilize or trim your plants.
Seats for all Do not forget to add some outdoor furniture to the mix. Your balcony could be used for anything from reading to meditation. Seats and throw cushions can help create a comfortable nook. Outdoor swings are an ever-popular choice in India. Choose quick dry foam cushions to avoid rain damage. Make sure whatever furniture you place outside is weather resistant or coated with oil paint.
A balcony garden is a very good place to relax and unwind after a long day. The sense of tranquillity that comes from being surrounded by foliage is unparalleled. Big or small, it has a proven effect on your mood and psychological well-being. In a life always on the move, everybody deserves a chance to stop and smell the flowers.
So pick your favourite ideas from this list and create your own handkerchief-sized masterpiece. Happy gardening!
Many people love the idea of having a four-legged furball at home. They tend to have a therapeutic presence. Animal lovers will do anything for their furry friends. But others consider them a nuisance. Pet-related activities are disapproved of and even opposed. Often, people forget that other species on the planet also need a place to live. Sheltering a few homeless animals, newborn or aged, is not a bad idea.
The perpetual debate of whether pets must be allowed in apartment complexes, or not, has made us realise that there is a need for a clear understanding of the situation (especially before we jump to conclusions about the rights and wrongs).
Authorities within residential areas often send out circulars that have rules and regulations about pet ownership. These circulars contain ‘vital’ information about whether or not they can be allowed to live with their human caretakers. What people are unaware of is there is no law enacted by the Parliament, or any State Legislature, that bans animal friends. At most, you may have to register your pet (In many parts of the country you are legally required to register your pet). More often than not people end up having to choose between their home or their animal companion. This violates a fundamental right of being a citizen of this country. The right to make personal choices is protected by the constitution of India.
Following are the issues faced by pet owners:
Pets being banned on society premises on account of being noisy.
Prohibiting homeowners from using parks, lifts and other facilities if they are accompanied by pets. Also, being charged for the same.
Being charged ‘pet rent’.
Forced usage of muzzles (on calm pets).
Discrimination as per the size and breed of pets allowed in the housing society.
Being asked for a pet resume before being given the flat on rent (A pet resume contains the pet’s basic details, previous rental experience, health, behaviour, references, etc).
To make matters clear:
No bans can be imposed on usage of facilities (like lifts and parks) by pets.
RWAs cannot impose any extra charges for this, either.
Pets and resident owners of the pets not violating any Municipal Sanitary Bye-Laws or Regulations are permissible to stay in the society or community.
Size of pets cannot be a valid reason to ban them from society premises.
Such rules are highly discriminatory and might lead to friction among the members of the society. But, it must be kept in mind that these objections have risen due to certain behaviours of pet animals that have inconvenienced people in some way or another in the past.
As has always been, rights come with responsibilities. Pet owners must come forward and offer to adhere to simple, implicit rules and mannerisms. This will eventually resolve the issues that lead to discriminatory circulars.
So, to make things fair:
The pet owners must make sure that there is no nuisance caused in the society due to their furry pals.
When out of the house and in the premises of the complex, the pets must be accompanied by their owners or anyone who has them under careful observation.
Since there is no central law regarding cleaning pet excreta, RWA can request pet owners to do the same.
Training must be provided to the pets in apartments on identifying people walking in and out of the apartment wing. This will help prevent them from getting provoked when neighbours and children are around.
The animals should be taken to an obedience class/training class as well. A certificate is generally provided once the animal recognises behaviour signals.
Crate/kennel training is another way of training the pet to stay in one place as it provides a feeling of security to the animal.
The pets must also be trained, through positive reinforcement, to not get aggressive around other animals and prevent matters from going downhill.
Pets must undergo regular vaccinations and medications required to stay healthy.
The owners should take responsibility for their pets.
Children and residents must be asked to not provoke or tease the animals.
In conclusion, the society representatives and pet owners, must organise regular meetings and address the issues each party faces, and meet each other halfway. Non-pet owners must be sympathetic and flexible towards pets and their owners. The latter must take precautions to ensure that they and their furry friends continue to behave like responsible members of the community.
(The Governing Body in India Concerning Animal Welfare- The Animal Welfare Board of India, 1962, was the first of its kind to be set up in the world, by any Government. It was established as a part of the Ministry of Environments and Forests, Government of India, in accordance with Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (No.59 of 1960). It has a list of bye-laws for pets, and was created to advise the Government on matters concerning animal welfare and preventing the infliction of pain on animals.)
Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to always consult appropriate professional advisers for your society to ensure compliance. We are not responsible for any actions or non-actions that are done by you based on the information present in this article or any other article on this blog.
We are excited to announce “Gatepass” a new capability to make your Apartment more secure.
Gatepass allows you to ensure records are maintained for material moving out of your flat or from your society.
Gatepass is fully integrated with Asset Management and Gatekeeper modules of ApnaComplex making it the most comprehensive solution to track Material Movement from individual flats as well as from Society’s common areas.
From ApnaComplex App:
Maintenance office can create Gatepass for Assets going out of the campus. For example, Gatepass can be issued by Estate Manager against a motor pump being given out to a vendor for Repair, Gym Equipment given out for Service. Gatepass has to be tagged against the Visitor
Residents can create Gatepass for material being issued to Visitors. For example, Gatepass can be issued against a delivery personnel of Amazon to pickup an item to be returned.
Residents can create Gatepass for material being issued to Domestic Staff. For example, Gatepass can be issued against the housemaid to carry out news papers.
At the time of issuance, one can take pictures of the material against which Gatepass is being issued.
The Gatepasses issued by Residents or by Maintenance Staff will automatically be visible to Security Staff on the Gatekeeper. At the exit gate, Security can look up the Gatepass issued against the Visitor / Service Staff, check the material being taken out and mark the Gatepass as used.
Benefits of using Gatepass can be felt immediately. More often than not there are no proper records for Society’s assets (such as Motor Pumps, Gym Equipment etc.) that go out of the campus for repair/service. Similarly residents need not issue paper slips and keep calling security to allow material given to their domestic staff.
Ensure you have latest versions of the Android and iOS Apps and go to My Unit tab on the app to issue Gatepass. Ensure security has the latest version of Gatekeeper to be able to view and use the Gatepasses.
Collection Gateway is a unique solution offered by ApnaComplex to make a Housing Society collections 100% Cashless. Collection Gateway was launched in later part of 2015 and is now used by thousands of apartments every month to pay their maintenance and other dues to the society.
Customers using Collection Gateway have immensely benefited from
(a) Automated Receipt issuance for IMPS/NEFT payments made by members
(b) Lower convenience charges (and almost negligible) compared to Payment Gateway
(c) Zero Suspense Entries in the Society’s Bank Account
Societies adopting Collection Gateway shall see the benefits instantly. The efforts put in by treasurer drops by close to 90%. For societies using an accountant to manage book – Collection Gateway saves significant efforts as the following activities are eliminated:
(a) Responding to member’s queries on the payment they have made but receipt was not yet issued
(b) Checking Bank statement every other day to issue receipts
(c) Sending Notices to Owners/Residents on Suspense Deposit Entries in the Society’s Bank Account
(d) Easy/Automated publishing of Defaulters Report as the report is always accurate without any manual intervention
(e) Automated Email/SMS/Push Reminders to Follow up on Defaulters
In short Collection Gateway helps in reducing your society maintenance efforts and thus the Society Maintenance Charges.
Best of all, Collection Gateway works with your existing Bank Account of the society and existing Bank Accounts of the Members. There is NO NEED to open a new Bank account – either by Society or by Members.
Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Societies Maintenance Dues / Corpus Fund / Common Area Expenses
Co-operative Housing Societies are merely a collecting and pass through mechanism like in case of property tax, water charges, common area repairs and maintenance etc. It can be contended that no activity is carried out by a society for its members. There may be various service providers providing service to the society which is the legal owner of the building including that of common areas, for e.g. repairs service providers, maintenance service providers, security agencies etc. Thus, the society is receiver of service and not provider of service. If a member’s flat or office premises require repairs, the same is obtained directly by the member and the society is not involved in provision of that service. Further no consideration is flowing from the members to the society except allocation and collection of expense. Any such payments without quid-pro-quo of a service cannot be liable to tax. Thus, it can be argued that even under the new dispensation, service tax is not applicable in case of a co-operative society when any activity is carried out for no consideration and the same would be continued under the GST Act.
Service tax on co-operative societies is a contentious issue. In a co-operative housing society, the land and building belongs to the society and the members by virtue of their membership of the society have right to occupy, enjoy and transfer their flats, subject to the prevailing rules and regulations and bye-laws of the society which are required to be approved by the specified authorities under the law. A co-operative housing society is a collective mechanism wherein it make payments of property tax and like payment to the municipal corporation and other Government bodies, incur some expense for common good and allocate and collect the expense in form of certain charges from the members on some basis or as per the resolutions passed in the General Body Meetings. Such collections are generally in the form of reimbursements. Some of the functions of a co-operative housing society are statutory functions like transfer of shares of the members with the underlined interest in the property (flats). It works on mutuality principles as the function of the society is for the members and by the members. Though it is not the objective, it is possible that at the end of a particular period, the society may generate some surplus which is used for members in future. In case of deficit, the same is made good by contributions from its members. However, such surplus or deficit cannot be said to be consideration for providing any service.
It is clear that a co-operative housing society collects the expenditure incurred either for some specific purpose like municipal taxes, water charges etc. on the basis of area of flats or some other appropriate basis. Such recoveries are in the nature of reimbursements. There is no element of service in case of “reimbursement of expense” and thus the charge (S. 66) fails as per the judgement of Hon’ble Delhi High Court in one of the case. If viewed in this context, service tax or GST on Co-operative Housing Societies cannot be applied on mere allocation / collection / reimbursement of expenditure. Some of the expenditures classified as follows are taxable under the current tax regime:
Collection of property tax is statutory levy by a municipal corporation or a local authority under the Constitution of India. A society is a mere collecting agent and pays the same to the authority. There is no element of service in it. Even assuming it as a service, it is not provided for a consideration. Hence service tax is not leviable. As an abundant caution, the society should ensure that the amount collected from the members does not exceed the actual amount. Same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Maintenance and Repair Charges:
‘Maintenance’ as the name suggest is the amount collectively reimbursed to the society to upkeep and maintain the building and premises on regular basis. The members of the society pay maintenance charges on some predetermined basis as decided in the General Body Meeting. Electricity charges for common areas, watchman or security charges and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by the society including accounting, audit etc. is part of maintenance charges. Service tax may be applicable on this. If the actual service provider in relation to any input service, charges service tax in his bill, the society would be eligible to take CENVAT credit of the same and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Car parking is in relation to regulate the parking place between the members and providing of space by use of vacant land belonging to the society for a consideration. There is an element of service in it and thus service tax may be leviable and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Water is “goods” under the Sales of Goods Act, 1935. However, the society is not selling the water to its members. It is just providing the pipeline to deliver water in the members’ premises. So long as it is collecting actual amounts as charged by the municipal corporation, there may not be any consideration. Therefore, charges recovered from members on actual basis are not liable to service tax. In the event of collection of water charges exceeding the payments, only such extra amount can be chargeable to service tax. In relation to water for common use like swimming pool, garden, club house etc., it is advisable to have separate meter and separate collection from the members. Such charges for use of water for common purpose may be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Charges for use of Club House, Swimming Pool, etc.:
These are specific services by the society to the member opting for such facilities. Any consideration paid for this would be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Share Transfer Fees and Donations:
Share transfer fees are the amount charged by the society for transfer of shares when a member approaches for its consent for transfer of his flat. It falls within the definition of service as a consideration for an activity carried out for the member for transfer of his lat. There is an element of service in it and service tax may be leviable on the same and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
It is a fund which is collected by the members of the society to set aside money over a time of period to meet the eventuality of reconstruction of the building. It is obligatory for a housing society to collect Sinking Fund under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 and rules made thereunder. The fund collected from a member is transferred to new member if the original member ceases to be a member. No definite service or contractual obligation is involved so far as collection of sinking fund is concerned. It’s a mere collection from the members of the society.
Repair Fund/Painting Fund:
Like sinking fund, this is also a mere collection to meet eventuality of major repair expenditure in future. There is no promise to provide a definite service with any identified time frame. No expense is also identified. It is also not sure that a member from whom the repair fund is collected would be a receiver of service at the time when it is actually provided. The agreement to provide service to the member is absent. However, as an abundant caution, the society should bring out this candidly in the resolution pertaining to collection of repair fund to avoid any ambiguity.
Non Occupancy Charges
Non occupancy charges are charges levied by a housing society only when a flat or unit is let out by its members. A unit in a co-operative Housing Society is for occupation and enjoyment of its members. The permission of the society is necessary when the unit is let out. The society may accord its permission in accordance with the provision of its bye-laws and on payment of some periodical charge. Such charge is a consideration for agreeing to let out its premises and may be liable to service tax. Thus any consideration for allowing a member to let out his premises may be liable to service tax under the relevant clause of the Finance Act, 1994 and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
In terms of above discussion, all the charges upon which service tax is leviable if it exceeds the limit of Rs. 5,000 p.m. per member in a housing society. If a person owns two flats, for all practical purpose it would be considered as two members. The exemption would be accordingly computed and then the remaining would be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Rate of Tax and Exemption Benefit under GST
As per existing Tax structure currently service tax is charged @ 15% & whereas as per proposed GST tax @ 18% will be charged on Supply of Services but in existing tax structure assesses is not able to take the input tax credit benefit of goods & services whereas in proposed GST system assesses will be able to take credit of supply of both goods & services which will cover difference of additional 3% GST on Co-operative Housing Societies up to a level.
However, the exact rates applicable to particular goods and services have not been yet finalized for GST on Co-operative Housing Societies.
In case of a housing society or residential complex, the exemption is limited to 5,000 p.m. per member for sourcing of goods or services from a third person for the common use of its members.
Total Maintenance Recovery from members of the Society is less than 20 Lakhs per Annum.
RWA / Housing societies will need to charge 18% GST to its members if maintenance recovery is more than Rs.5,000/- per month per member AND if total maintenance recovery by the society exceeds Rs. 20 lakhs per annum. Accordingly, societies who fulfill either of the conditions will need to register under GST and charge 18% on their collections from Members from July 1st on wards. Please note that the Rs. 5,000/- per member per month exemption was available in the Service Tax regime as well and is being continued under GST regime.
Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to consult appropriate professional advisers to understand the actual impact for your society. We are not responsible for any actions or non-actions that are done by you based on the information present in this article or any other article on this blog.
Basic Introduction of GST and its Perspective as a Contractor and a Developer
GST (Goods and Services Tax) is one indirect tax for the whole nation, which is meant to be a unified indirect tax across the country on construction services and will make India one unified common market. The present structure of Indirect Taxes is very complex in India. There are so many types of taxes that are levied by the Central and State Governments on Goods & Services. It has been long pending issue to streamline and subsume all the different types of indirect taxes and implement a “single taxation” system called “GST”.
Implementing the GST will ease the compliance, uniform the tax rates and structures, remove the cascading effect of taxes levied by States & Centre, will improve the business competitiveness and will benefit everyone doing trade in some or the other form whether as a contractor or as a developer.
In the current system in India, tax is levied at each stage separately, by the Centre and the State, at varying rates i.e. 10.5% / 6% / 4.5% for service tax and different rates by different States, on the value of construction services. But under the GST system that is set to be introduced, tax will be levied only on the value added at each stage by the sub‐contractors, main contractors and developers or builders. It is a single tax collected at multiple value additions with a full set‐off for taxes paid earlier in the value chain by sub‐contractors and main contractors. It is pertinent to note that the inter credit of different taxes paid in the current regime be a service tax, VAT, CST, etc. to Centre or States are not allowed and thus becomes a part of the cost on the suppliers. Thus, under GST the final buyer / client will bear only the GST charged by the last person i.e. developer or builder or the contractor.
Structure of GST in India
In India, a dual GST is proposed whereby a Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and a State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) will be levied on the taxable value of every transaction of supply of goods and services.
The Dual GST is expected to be a simple and transparent tax with one or two CGST and SGST rates. The structure of the model law comprises of CGST Act, SGST Act and IGST Act. The dual GST model would give adequate flexibility to the States to levy taxes on a comprehensive base of goods and services at all points in the supply chain. Thus, financial liberty of the States would be maintained. GST is a consumption based tax. It is based on the “Destination principle”. GST is applied on goods and services at the place where actual consumption materializes.
The Centre and the States would have parallel jurisdiction for the entire value chain and for all taxpayers. The administration of GST under the three components will be as under:
Central GST (CGST) – to be levied on intra state trade and administered by the Centre
State GST (SGST) – to be levied on intra state trade and administered by the State Governments
Inter‐State GST (IGST) – to be levied on inter‐State trade and administered and collected by the Centre.
To the extent feasible, uniform procedure for collection of both Central GST and State GST is prescribed in the respective legislation for Central GST and State GST.
It can be noted that IGST will not be a Tax in addition to the SGST and CGST so one should not presume that IGST is a third tax but it is only a mechanism to monitor the interstate trade of Goods and services and further to ensure that the ultimate SGST is gone to the consumer state since the GST is a destination based tax.
Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Society as well as Real Estate Sector
Implementation of the GST law will have a positive impact on the Co-operative Housing Society and on the real estate sector with expected reduction in its tax burden. The law will single‐handedly solve many of the challenges faced by the real estate sector. Heavy taxes that are being borne in a non‐transparent manner are expected to be very transparent in GST. It is unclear what would be the rate of GST applicable on construction services, hence it would be difficult to confirm the exact impact on GST on the Co-operative Housing Society. However going by the informal discussion, it is learnt that the rate is expected to be something between 18‐20%, which is what the current rate directly and indirectly being borne by the construction sector. Besides the simplicity in taxation, GST would bring in other advantages like transparency, seamless credits, ease of business by lack of border controls, promoting economic efficiency through a destination based taxation system. Overall Construction costs would be reduced to some extent which would benefit the end consumer. Apart from the advantages, the complexities in the compliance and assessments shall also be greatly reduced as the tax laws would also be unified.
There would be lesser burden of tax on purchases of major inputs like cement and steel, as tax credits would be available for set off at various stages which are currently restricted. The restrictions on credit utilization would be eliminated, thus strengthening the credit chain in the system. If this so happens, there will be increased credits available in the procurement chain and hence better utilization of input tax costs towards output GST Liability.
Since GST may be levied on a single value, the current issue of levying tax on tax (VAT on central excise duty) is likely to be removed. Hence the cascading effect of taxes shall be removed with the resulting transparency which will significantly reduce tax evasion through more efficient transaction‐tracking methods, and improved enforcement and compliance. Hence the implementation of GST will enhance the investment in Housing Societies & real estate sectors.
It is widely expected that GST would reduce the construction cost in the hands of developer and thereby aid in reducing or at least maintaining the current level of prices in the housing societies as well as in the real estate sector.