Category: Apartment Management

Accounting Features of ApnaComplex – Overview

ApnaComplex offers comprehensive accounting features that helps residential apartment and commercial complexes manage their financial matters Easily, Efficiently, and Effectively

Behind the deceptively simple user interface of ApnaComplex, a full-fledged double-entry accounting system is present, hiding all the jargon and complexities involved in maintaining accounts for residential apartment and commercial complexes.

This article provides a very high level overview of the accounting modules offered by ApnaComplex. We intend to expand on each module in greater depth in future posts.

The accounting features of ApnaComplex can broadly be classified into following five modules.

  1. Member Income: Administrators / Association Treasurers can generate invoices for each flat/unit for charges such as maintenance dues, late payment penalties, club house usage, corpus fund etc.  Members can record their payments against the invoices. Administrators can approve / reject the payments and issue instant receipts for approved payments. Administrators / Treasurers can even club multiple charges to generate single invoice. Email/SMS notifications sent to relevant members when a new invoice is raised or payment is made.
  2. Non-Member Income: Administrators / Association Treasurers can record additional income that a complex receives – such as rentals for stalls/cell towers/hoardings/banners, bank interest charges etc.
  3. Expense Tracker: Administrators / Association Treasurers can record all expenses that are made by the association/complex owners under different heads such as maintenance expenses, legal, taxes, admin etc. Capture details such as expense date, how the expense was paid, to whom was the payment made, if invoice/receipt was available for the payment etc along with the expense amount.  Administrators can generate expense statements for various heads and analyze the trends, publish the statement to noticeboard.
  4. Cash & Bank Accounts: This is a module that administrators / treasurers will love. Administrators / Association Treasurers can set up Petty Cash and Bank Accounts in ApnaComplex. Once set up, all member income, non-member income, expenses that are recorded in other modules mentioned above are automatically integrated with the cash & bank accounts. This helps administrators see  the cash and bank balances up-to date in real time. The financial status is literally at your finger tips. Administrators can reconcile the bank account statements in ApnaComplex with their real world bank account and easily identify transactions that are out of sync.
  5. Financial Reports: This module provides several financial reports such as “My Statement” for members (apartment owners / tenants) to see a consolidated financial statement for all the flats/units they own, defaulters reports, list of charges, payments, income/expense report, petty cash & bank account statements. You can do slicing and dicing of data to get more inference. All statements can be downloaded into excel at anytime by the administrator for offline storage or analysis or to send to your auditor.

 With all these features, we sure guess that the accounting and auditing requirements of any apartment or commerical complex are met to the tune of 90-95% . 

Now, the icing on the cake of such rich feature set – you need NOT pay a premium to use accounting capabilities of ApnaComplex. Contact us for pricing with your complex details and we will get back to you with a quotation at the earliest. Meanwhile, go ahead and register your complex and enjoy a no-obligation 30-day free trial.


How to Carry out a Fire Drill in your Apartment?

ApnaComplex Recommends: A Fire Drill for your Housing Complex

With the number of high-rises increasing by the day, fire accidents in apartment complexes have the potential to cause huge damage to life and property. Especially vulnerable are children and senior citizens who get caught in the chaos and are unable to save themselves. While residents of high-rises should be particularly careful, even housing societies with smaller buildings or bungalows cannot take fire lightly. It is thus the duty of each and every housing association to treat fire prevention and fighting as an essential part of their responsibilities.

What does this responsibility involve?

First and foremost, the society should ensure that all fire equipments are in working order and that they can be easily accessible. In addition, a housing association should take proactive steps to prevent fires, and in the worst case, minimize the loss to life in the eventuality of a fire. The best way to ensure that your society is equipped to respond to a fire emergency is by carrying out a fire drill at regular intervals.

Research show that close to 50% of people who die in fires were those who were trying to escape. A fire drill helps members develop an exit plan that could easily save precious lives. It teaches them to take control of the situation and follow a pre-prepared plan of action instead of panicking at the situation around them.

We at ApnaComplex recommend each and every housing association to carry out a Fire Drill in your society. This article aims to create awareness about the importance of a Fire Drill and the process of carrying out one.  

Carrying out a Fire Drill in your housing complex would involve the following three steps:

  • Planning the fire drill
  • Executing the plan
  • Assessing the outcome

Planning:

  • Fix a date and time for the drill that will suit everyone in the society. A good weekend or a public holiday will be preferable.
  • Inform all the members of the housing society about the importance of the drill, as many might think it’s just a game.
  • Plan how each member in every home will escape from their rooms, starting with the bedrooms. If possible, plan two escape routes from each house; incase the first route is blocked due to some reason. For instance, the second route may be to go out a window, or stand at a window where firefighters can see the member.
  • No excuses should be allowed for not participating.  Everyone must leave the building during the drill period. Even babysitters, frequent visitors or overnight guests should be included.
  • Decide where every member will meet once they are outside.
  • Ask residents to lock their doors as usual while running out of their home during the drill.
  • Allocate two persons to coordinate the drill; one person for creating the smoke to blow the fire alarm and the other person to keep track of the time taken by each family to arrive at the meeting point.
  • Make a list of all the family members present in each family so that it would be easy to track the exit of all the members of the society.

Executing:

  • At the determined time, ask one of the coordinators to create a smoke by lighting an incense-stick or some paper near any of the smoke sensors. The objective is to start the fire alarm in the building.
  • Once the alarm sounds, everybody in their homes should proceed promptly to the outside of the building by means of the nearest exit. Ensure that everyone reaches the desired meeting point within 3-4 minutes. If some people are unable to do so, make them do the drill again.
  • Ensure everyone in each household can open all doors and windows.
  • All members should proceed to the designated meeting place outside.
  • Once all people have reached the meeting place, reset the building alarm system.
  • Notify the building occupants that they can return to the building by giving the “all clear” signal.

Assessing:

  • Document every fire drill carried out and note the frequent problems faced. Seek the help of the nearby fire station for solutions.
  • Share this document with all the members of the society within 48 hours. Discuss the problems and solutions in details.
  • Put a timeline for the necessary actions to be carried and note its effectiveness during the next fire drill.

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Good habits to follow:

  • Test your smoke alarm once a month. Change standard batteries twice a year.
  • Carry out a fire drill at least twice a year.
  • Ensure that parking is not allowed near fire hydrants and that there is enough space for a fire truck to enter the society premises in case of an emergency.
  • In a real fire, get out and stay out. Then call the emergency fire brigade number. Do not go back into the building until it has been cleared by the fire brigade.
  • Residents can have windows with security bars that have an emergency release devices so they can be opened easily from the inside.

Taking adequate precautions and sincerely participating in Fire Drills can benefit everyone involved. If your housing association is planning to carry out a Fire Drill for the first time then do take the services of an expert who can guide you about it in a step-by-step manner. Also inform your nearest fire station about the exercise and seek any additional help in terms of information or personnel during the event.


This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use guideline for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article as a guidance and do your own due diligence before any fire drill. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form.

10 Eco-Living Tips for Everyone

Today, there is growing awareness and acceptance of the fact that our lifestyle directly or indirectly affects the environment. Whether it is global warming, changing climate patterns, shortage of drinking water and energy, dwindling forest cover, the extinction of species… we know that somewhere, it is the choices we make that is responsible for these events. Unfortunately, although most of us have good intentions and would like to make a positive difference, not many are sure how we, living in cities and struggling to cope with the challenges of daily life, can do anything to help the environment. 

In this article, we present 10 simple and actionable ideas that almost each one of us can carry out to make a positive difference to the environment. These changes will not require you to change your lifestyle drastically, but they will leave a powerful and lasting impact on the world around us. In addition, these changes will help reduce expenses and lead to more balanced and healthy living.

Please read this article to see if you could change the way you’re living for the benefit of our beautiful world. At the end, if you feel these changes are helpful, we request you to forward it to your friends and relatives. Let’s do the best we can for the world around us. We owe it to the Earth and our future generations!

1. Save energy:

The easiest way to make a difference is by reducing energy consumption. Nowadays, energy-efficient bulbs are easily available. They are not only inexpensive they also consume up to five times lesser energy than ordinary bulbs. All it needs is a bit more effort from our side to make the change.

Also use cooking gas prudently. Plan your cooking such that you have all the ingredients handy before you light the gas. This can considerably reduce consumption over a period of a month. Similarly, avoid drying your clothes in a washing machine as it is very energy-consuming. Dry your clothes the natural way – using the abundant sunlight that our country receives by using any empty area in one of the rooms.

2. Eco-friendly material for your home:

Use water-based, lead-free paints for your home. Ensure that the paints do not give off fumes that will affect the air quality around you. While choosing furnishing, opt for those made from cotton, jute, silk, or other natural fibers as they are bio-degradable and healthier for the entire family. They can also be recycled for future use as a kitchen mop or for carrying out simple dusting and cleaning jobs. Wherever possible opt for environment-friendly cleaning liquids and soaps. Read the labels to check whether they have any detrimental affect on the environment.

3. Reduce waste:

If you keep a small garden patch or potted plants then you should collect organic and inorganic waste separately. Leftover food, fruit and vegetable peel, used tea leaves, etc. can be collected in the organic waste bin and used as compost for your plants. The inorganic waste can be disposed as usual. This will not only reduce the amount of waste in the city but also your dependency on fertilizers for your plants. The best way to reduce waste is to avoid it at the source itself. For example, you could carry your own shopping bags instead of bringing home plastic bags each time you shop and then disposing them. Similarly, while requesting a home-delivery, you can specify that you need the minimal packaging.

4. Use public transport:

Whenever possible, avoid using the car and walk or take the public transport. Not only will it improve your health and cut down your fuel bills, it will also reduce emissions into the atmosphere. Actively look for opportunities to form a carpool with members of your society for work or for dropping children at their school.

5. De-clutter your surroundings:

Keep only those things that you’d need on a regular basis. Dispose the ones that you do not foresee using for a long time. To avoid over-storage, dispose off the older items the moment you have bought a replacement for it. This policy will also ensure that you’ll seriously consider your buying decisions. In short, think before you buy. It will not only save you money but it will also ensure that as a society we consume only that much we need.

6. Replace disposable with reusables:

Try to change the way you shop. Buy stuff that you can keep for a longer duration rather than those that you’d have to throw after use. Switch to reusable razors, batteries, ink cartridges, bags, coffee filters, etc. If you use tissue papers, switch to cloth napkins. If you have a printer at home, then make it a point to use both sides of the paper. 

7. Reduce unnecessary consumption:

If you are going to need something only once, try to borrow it from a friend. Similarly, you should offer anything that your friend may need only once in a while. This will reduce unnecessary consumption on our part. Some items that you could avoid buying double can include books, movie and music cds, games, etc.

8. Switch to a vegetarian diet:

Not only is it proven that livestock contribute more greenhouse gases (18%) than transportation (13.5%), they also consume enormous amounts of grain to feed them. This reduces the amount of food grains that are available to feed the world’s hungry. Switching to a vegetarian could change the imbalance and ensure that there is enough for everyone to eat.

9. Conserve water:

Water is a precious commodity we all know. That it will soon become (if it hasn’t already) a scarce commodity is a fact that we’ll have to accept. It’s time we learnt to conserve the limited amount of fresh water we have. Use water only when you need it. Eliminate wastage of water through leaking pipes and faucets. Also make sure that they are not left on while you are finishing a task. Use washing machines when you have a full load of laundry. Use recycled water while washing your car. Look around your home and identify tasks where you might be wasting water. Make a conscious effort to reduce wastage in your home. 

10. Buy local:

Wherever possible, encourage manufacturers and producers of goods around your locality. Local goods will not only be fresher but also cheaper than branded items. You could also avoid all the unnecessary packaging and storage that accompanies items that have traveled from far. The greater the distance the goods you buy travel, greater is their impact on the environment in terms of fuel and effort involved in transporting them to your locality.  Your patronage of local items will also allow you to give direct feedback that could improve the quality of the goods and the service.

These may seem like little drops in the face of the tsunami of changes we are seeing in the environment. But believe us, if each one of us makes these changes, we could tilt the balance in favour of Mother Nature. Do not undermine the results of these efforts – be positive and let’s make a positive difference – from today!


Product Updates: Asset Register and other enhancements

Asset Register and Tracker

Do you know how many pumps are there in your complex and when was each of them last serviced? Are you really sure? How about number of fire extinguishers? We know how difficult it is keep track of such assets. ApnaComplex launches Asset Register and Tracker – where facility managers can maintain list of all assets under various asset groups. What’s more – you can maintain service history of every asset and get a email reminder on next service due date – saves tremendous amount of time for committee members and facility managers. We were really pleased when one of our customers started using this register the moment this was released and even before we sent out the notification of release. Truly made our day!

Improve security of your complex

Having challenges to keep track of vehicles in your complex? You can now maintain vehicle details associated with your flats online along with a parking lot number. Just log on and update your vehicle details. Give access only to the Vehicle directory to security officers at entrance/exit points to ensure movement only of authorized vehicles.

Enhanced Facility Booking

The recently launched Facility Booking has been enhanced based on your feedback. Facility Booking now supports recurring bookings up to one year in advance. Now, you can book that Tennis Court every Monday and Wednesday till you become as good as Federer. As a bonus – administrators have a separate view for approving all the bookings waiting to be approved.

Message Center Upgraded

Message Center can now display history of the messages that have been sent by you based on feedback from our customers. In addition, there are UI enhancements to make your experience better. Log on to Message Center now to see the changes.

Capture more data for all Vendors

Vendor Management module now allows to capture more data related to a vendor. You can now have a contact person’s details of a vendor and multiple phone numbers.

Personalization

We took tiny steps towards providing a personalized experience to you when you are on our site. You can now update your profile to set the number of records you want to see by default in listings like member directory, complaints etc. We will be adding more such options in coming releases.

Enhanced Navigation

We constantly listen to your feedback! Based on the feedback received, we now have more choices at the bottom of pages to easily go back to the main pages. Log on to experience the changes.

Phew! Thats a long list for lean startup. We do hope all these features and enhancements make the management of your complex lot easier, efficient and effective.


Household Help: Look before you hire

Household helps were once considered a symbol of affluence – a luxury that only a few could afford. But now, hiring one or even a few to help with the daily chores has become a necessity. From nannies to cleaners to cooks, drivers and gardeners, the services on offer are diverse and all of them have takers. 

But while there is a healthy demand-supply ratio, things are not all that easy and rosy. While India has a reputation for getting manual labour at much cheaper rates than other countries, the quality and reliability of these staff has raised a huge question mark. At the extreme end is the number of crimes committed by such household helps on the very employers who hired them. So should one give in to the need for a household help even with the associated risks or try to manage life one our own even if it means compromising on certain things? It’s a conundrum that only those who’ve experienced can relate to.

In this article we present our views on the process of selecting and hiring household helps based on the experiences of people from around the country. It should offer you some insights on how you could go about finding and keeping a household help that will make a positive difference to your lifestyle.

Know your needs

Before you decide to get a household help, ascertain your need for it. Get into the specifics of how this help will add value to your life. It could be a nanny for your child, a driver, a cook, etc. It’s not just a matter of money. You need to understand that you’ll be handing over some part of your life to these people. Not to mention a bit of your privacy and personal time. You may also have to get involved with some of their personal problems too. So decide how much value this additional resource will add to your life. Once you are sure that everything considered, your help will make a substantial difference, start looking out for him/her.

Define your requirement

Once you’ve decided to go for a household help, define the tasks that this person will carry out for you. Assume that you’re going to recruit this person by placing an ad in the newspaper. In which case, you’ll have to list down the job description and the qualifications for that post. Jot down these points before you go help scouting. Of course, you’ll not place an ad – but it will come in very handy when you’re screening potential candidates and short listing the ones you like. Age, familiarity with the locality, gender, salary expectations, experience, language etc. could all be the criteria that you mention in this requirement definition.

Announce your need

Now that you are armed with what you want, you should make your need known to the market. You have quite a few options here – not all of them very structured, though. You could approach a few of the agencies in your area that supply helps. The advantage of agencies is that they will send people after knowing your requirements and once you’ve engaged them, they usually tend to offer services over a period of the contract. In case the household help has to be replaced, the agency also steps in to provide an alternative within a specified time limit. But you’ll have to mention these clearly to the agency when you discuss your needs. The other option is to go the social networking route. Talk to other household helps in your complex, mention it to the security guards and even other residents who employ household helps. Once the word spreads, you’ll have your candidates dropping in to your home.

Interview and salary negotiation

If you talk to some of the fellow members who employ helps, you’ll realise that the most common grouse against helps is that they go on leave without giving adequate notice or that they extend their leaves without prior notice. This is the most critical part as it throws your life completely out of gear as you try to fill in the gap that your household help was filling in. If she was responsible for looking after your baby then you either have to take a leave or work from home. If she was responsible for cooking then you have to either leave late or arrange for meals from outside or drop in early. If it was the driver then you have to learn how to negotiate the traffic jams all over again. And so on.

During the interview stage, make sure that you clear all these points. The best way to go about through the interview process is to let the other person talk as much as possible. Ask them to describe their daily routine in their current job, their family background, their experience, etc. In case you make your demands first, they are bound to structure their story around your expectations. So just mention the requirement first and then ask them to tell you how they fit into the role. Once they’ve finished, you’ll have a fair idea of whether this is the person who could fit into your needs. You could question them to get more details on a particular aspect, if you wish.

The salary part is not as tricky as some people might think. There is a standard rate for most roles and you could ask around to know that is the going rate. If you offer certain benefits you could mention them while discussing the salary. It could be festival offs along with weekly holidays or bonuses or any other benefits. If someone makes an unreasonable quote, find out if there’s a genuine reason for it and if it something that you’d like to pay for. For example, a nanny who’s been trained in first aid and knows how to talk and write in English may charge a premium over someone who doesn’t know these. Similarly for a driver or a cook who is tuned to a lifestyle similar to yours. And so on.

If you’re recruiting through an agency then the fees would be mentioned upfront and you’ll have little room for negotiations. But you should be absolutely be clear about the service that the agency will offer after the person has joined your employment.

Getting along with your household help

Once you’ve got the person you wanted, you’ll need to spend some time with that person to make him/her understand your way of doing things. Make sure that you are very clear about things that you will not compromise on. Cleanliness or punctuality or a day’s notice before taking a leave – anything that you are very particular about should be communicated to the help so that there is no misunderstanding on that front.

With the spate of crimes abounding, it would be wise to record information about your household help. This can be in the form of an ID that you can photocopy and keep with you or if you are able to, recording the personal details with your local police station or the managing committee. In case you have to dismiss a help for a conduct that you feel has criminal overtones, make it a point to register it with your local police station.

Be on the alert till you are completely sure that the household is reliable. If there is a family member at home then that person can supervise the work. But if you don’t have that luxury, then make it a point to drop in for a surprise visit once in a while so that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise at some later date.

Finding and retaining a household help that fits in well with your needs can make your life much more peaceful and efficient. So put in that extra bit of effort to get the right person. All the best!


Guide to Income Tax for Apartment Associations

Income Tax for Housing Societies

For most apartment associations, member contributions form the major chunk of their income. These contributions by members are credited to different heads by the housing association. These include Maintenance charges, Property Tax, Sinking Fund, Municipal taxes, etc. This income that the society generates is used to meet the day-to-day expenses of the society. The expenses and any amount that is left over after making payments are not subject to income tax. Because of this some members assume that housing associations are exempt from paying any kind of tax. This is not so. Apart from member contributions, a housing society may generate income from other sources as well, some of which can be taxable. As per the provisions of the Income-tax Act, Co-operative Societies are treated as an association of persons and are supposed to file the Income Tax returns if this income is in excess of Rs.20,000/.

To pay Income Tax, a Co-operative Society should get a Permanent Account Number by making an application in Form No. 49A. Since housing associations generate income to provide services to themselves rather than to generate profit, there are many exemptions that they can avail of. The deductions in respect of income are provided under Section 80P of the Income Tax Act. Each of these deductions is distinct and independent and the category of income needs to be considered to decide under which head the deduction belongs to.

Let’s take a look at some of the heads under which income is taxable and the exemptions available:

Non –Occupancy Charges

If monthly charges paid by members are not taxable, why should that paid by non-occupying members be taxable? The logic that the Income Tax department uses is simple. It levies tax on non-occupancy charge on members because the owner of the apartment / flat is paying for facilities that he/she is not enjoying. This is in contrast to residing members who are paying for facilities that they are utilizing.

Transfer fee

Whenever a member transfers his share, rights and interest in a property, the member has to pay a transfer fee to the housing society. According to the Model Bye Law, the transfer amount is to be fixed by the general body meeting. However, the amount shall not exceed Rs. 25,000. This amount is taxable under the Income Tax Act.

Rental income from advertisement hoardings

The amount earned as rent from advertisement hoardings in the society premises is fully taxable under the head Business Income / Income from other sources. However any expenses that can be directly attributable to the earning of this income can be claimed as deduction.

Rental from Cable and Mobile Towers

Similar to the revenue earned from advertisement hoardings, the rental earned from Cable and Mobile Towers is taxable under the head Income from House Property. Under this head, it is also eligible for standard deduction u/s 24 (a) @ 30 % of the rent. In case the society has borrowed capital to construct any infrastructure to support the Cable / Mobile Towers then a proportionate deduction can be claimed for interest paid on the borrowed capital.

Rental from Open Spaces/Terraces

Open spaces and terraces can be rented out to members as well as outsiders. If the area is rented out to Members then the income will not be taxable. However, if the rent has been received by non-members then the income is taxable under the head Income from House Property & will qualify for deductions as mentioned earlier.

Parking and Shop Rental Charges

Parking charges levied by members is not liable for tax as it is part of the income that is paid by members for the services used by the members. However, the amount that is earned from outsiders vehicles is liable for Income Tax.
Some societies have shops within its premises. The maintenance charges and any other income earned from these shops are taxable if it serves non-residents. But if it is only for the purpose of the residents, then any income earned from it is not taxable.

Interest on investments and Dividends

Housing societies may invest their excess funds to earn interest on it. This investment can be in Co-operative banks or any other institution. The interest that the society earns on investments made in Co-operative Banks qualifies for deduction @ 100% under section 80P (d). Other income, however, is fully taxable. Similarly dividend income received from Indian Companies under section u/s 10 (34) and Co-operative Banks under section 80P (d) are 100% deductible.

Miscellaneous Income

Sometimes, the housing society may receive an additional amount from a builder for additional floors to be built. In such a case, the income earned will be termed as short term capital gains if the society is less than three years old and the entire amount will be taxable. If the society is more than three years old then it will be treated as long term capital gains which it can invest in suitable instruments to gain tax exemption u/s 54EA/EB.

Slabs and Deductions

A Co-operative society qualifies for a general deduction of Rs. 50,000 under section 80 P (2) (c) against any business income.

The income tax slab for societies is as follows:

Income up to Rs. 10,000 10 %
Income up to Rs. 20,000 20 %
Above Rs. 20,000/- 30 %

The applicable Education and Higher Education Cess would have to be added to this.


This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use guideline for treasurers of the association for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article as a guidance and do your own due diligence before calculating the tax. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form.

Be an Ideal Resident of your Apartment Complex

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.

Unauthorized constructions

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.

Common Property

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.

Pets

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!


Want to use ApnaComplex for your association? please submit details of your complex here and we would reach out to you to set up your complex’s portal online.

Take control of your Apartment Association documents!

Starting today, ApnaComplex supports control access mechanism for the documents stored in the document repository.

When a Repository Admin or Community Admin uploads a document into the repository, the admins have an option to set the access level such that the document is available only for Administrators and not to the entire community. This can help in storing documents relevant to the committee members only – like vendor contracts, association letter heads, work-in-progress presentations.

In addition, the document repository supports categorization of documents with powerful searching and sorting – no need to remember which sub folder is a document present in. Just type few letters of one or more details related to the document – such as document name, category, description, date of upload or name of member who uploaded the document – you shall get the document instantly. Makes it very simple and easy with out clutter of sub-folders.

Stay tuned to our blog to know about more exciting features that we would be releasing shortly.

Want to use ApnaComplex for your association? please submit details of your complex here and we would reach out to you to set up your complex’s portal online.


Now, use a facility booking system which is as good as the facilities in your apartment

Starting today, we release a new feature of Facility Booking to all ApnaComplex customers.

One aspect of a residential complex living is to share the “common facilities” with all residents of the complex and there starts a trouble as most residents never get a chance to use the facility at a time of their choice. This is where facility management feature comes in handy.

The facility booking module helps residents know the list of people who intend to use a facility on a given day. Residents can book facilities like Club House for personal events like Birthday parties or regulate their gym schedules so that there will not be timing clashes with fellow residents.

Directory of Facilities - Sample Screen shot

Directory of Facilities - Sample Screen shot

With this addition, a new role “Facility Booking Administrator” is also introduced who can be given total charge of facility reservation. To start using this feature, the administrators need to first set up the facilities available in the complex. Once the facilities is set up, other members can see the same and start booking the facilities to suit their needs. It is as simple as that.

Sample Screenshot containing list of bookings of a facility on a given day

Sample Screenshot containing list of bookings of a facility on a given day

As with most operations in ApnaComplex, Administrators have the authority to cancel any member’s booking if required. This, of course is in addition to the user having the ability to cancel his/her reservation at any time.

Stay tuned to our blog to know about more exciting features that we would be releasing shortly.

Want to use ApnaComplex for your association? please submit details of your complex here and we would reach out to you to set up your complex’s portal online.

 


Before you buy: A checklist for Apartment Buyers

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If you are looking for a checklist to download, click here.

Buying an apartment is one of the most exciting, yet at the same time, most challenging tasks in life. It is exciting because it is one of the biggest financial and emotional commitments one can make. At the same time, buying a home is one of the most demanding activities because of the many pitfalls involved in the process. From fly-by-night developers who are only interested in making a fast buck to poor quality of construction to use of inferior materials and fittings to lack of supervision and inadequate approvals from the concerned government authorities… there are many issues that an apartment buyer has to grapple with. In this article we try to offer you a checklist that could help you decide whether your money and efforts will buy you an apartment that you’d be proud to call home.

Whether you’re planning to buy an under-construction property or a ready-possession flat, do go through the check list given below:

Know the builder

It is always better to go with a builder who has an established presence in the market. A builder who has a good reputation in the market may charge a slight premium over the other builders, which could be well worth it. Consider it as an investment for your peace of mind. Check the following facts about the builder before you decide to consider a certain property:

  • Has the builder constructed sufficient number of projects to establish a reputation?
  • Does the builder enjoy a reputation for completing projects on time?
  • Is the quality of their projects as per the standards you’re looking for?
  • Is the quality of staff employed by the builder helpful and courteous with your queries?
  • Do the leading financial institutions have tie-ups with the builder?

Know the project

Once you’ve short listed the builders whose properties you’d like to buy, find out more about their projects by using the following checklist:

  • Is the project located in an area of your choice?
  • Is the project easy to access by road and rail?
  • Does it have common facilities within easy reach?
  • What is the distance from critical infrastructure like schools, hospitals, fire and police stations?
  • What are the future civic plans for the locality?
  • What is the weather impact on the locality? Does the area get flooded during the monsoons?
  • What is the noise and air level pollution in the area?
  • How is the water availability in the area?
  • What is the number of buildings that are being planned? Will the long construction period affect the quality of living?
  • What is the project plan? Does it leave enough open space for leisure activities?
  • Does it have enough parking spaces for residents and visitors?
  • If the building has lifts does it have back up power supply?
  • Is the construction environmentally and structurally sound? Is it an earthquake-proof construction?
  • What would be the monthly maintenance outgo for the project?
  • Is the project in a safe locality? Does the project offer security staff cabins and intercoms?
  • If you’re buying a flat on resale or in a ready constructed property, check with the existing owner’s association and existing residents. You should be able to get lot of valuable information regarding the project and the locality.

Know your apartment

Once you’ve identified the projects that you’d be interested in investing, check out the apartment with the help of the following checklist:

  • Get the floor plan of your apartment.
  • Calculate the carpet area of the apartment.
  • Check out the inside and outside wall finish. Does the outside wall have a weather coat?
  • Check the floorings used. Does the bathroom and kitchen have floorings that are safe?
  • Inspect the electrical fittings. Do they have child-safe fittings? Are the electrical fittings of a reputed brand?
  • Check the bathroom and kitchen fittings. Are they of a quality brand?
  • Check the door and window quality. Are the doors built to provide easy access? Do the windows allow enough light and air into the rooms?
  • Does the flat allow cross-ventilation for better circulation of air?
  • Does the ceiling have sufficient height?
  • Are the features offered in the rooms of contemporary style and usability?
  • Is the view from all windows of the room acceptable?
  • Do the rooms have provisions for AC fittings?
  • Are there enough outlets for phone, TV and internet connections?
  • Are there provisions for storage and drying clothes?

Know your documentation

Even if you’ve liked an apartment, don’t be in a hurry to sign up the deal and hand over your money. Go through the following documentation carefully to save yourself years of headache later on. These documents are the final checklist that you need to verify before you make your buying decision.

  • What is the rate quoted per square feet? Is it reasonable when you calculate it in terms of the carpet area?
  • There are other statutory charges along with additional charges that the builder quotes outside of the apartment cost. Have you considered those costs?
  • What are the extra amounts that the builder is charging?
  • How much will the statutory charges such as Stamp Duty, Registration Fee, Electricity connection fee, Water connection fee, Sales Tax, Building tax, service tax and other expenditure add up to?
  • If you’re going for an under-construction flat, what will be the payment schedule? In case, you are booking a flat in an under construction apartment, ask for a copy of the schedule and any service and value added tax that you may have to pay.
  • Compare the layout of the apartment with the plan given by the builder. Is there any difference between the two?
  • Does the documentation provided by the builder suggest a clear title? Get it verified from a government authority if you need to be sure.
  • Check the fittings provided in the apartment with the promises made by the builder in their brochures.
  • Check if all the necessary property approvals have been obtained from the land development or planning authorities under the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act and the Income-Tax Act.
  • Has the municipal corporation issued an occupancy certificate to the project? Insist on seeing this.
  • If you’re buying a resale property, check the ownership document to see the earlier transactions. Also check that the required statutory approvals including stamp duty and property registrations have been done.
  • Check that the builder has acquired all the legal approvals from the Municipal Corporation the Electricity Boards, the water supply and Sewage Boards and the Area Development Authorities.

While the above list is not comprehensive, most buyers consider only a few of the above parameters that are listed above when investing their hard-earned money in their home. Following this checklist will appear time-consuming. But believe us, it will save you years of trouble and offer you peace of mind that really lasts.

We wish you the very best for your dream home!

The entire checklist can be downloaded in excel format from here.


Read also:
Guide to Buying a Property in Bangalore from a Legal Perspective
How to purchase an Aparment in Bangalore – Some Tips


This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use checklist for prospect buyers of an apartment for benefit of ApnaComplex blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article and the template provided as a guidance and do your own due diligence before buying any property. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form. We encourage readers to post more items that can be added to the checklist ad we would be glad to release an updated checklist for benefit of the buyers.