Category: Apartment Management

Document repository for Apartment Associations

We released new feature of “Document Repository” in ApnaComplex today.

Starting today, Administrators and members of a complex can upload documents of relevance in ApnaComplex secure repository.  This shall enable the community members to easily locate association documents – such as bye laws, meeting minutes, welcome kits, photos, vendor quotations, contract copies, building plans, regulatory certificates and just about anything relevant. 

We believe that this shall help both the members and the managing committees as this greatly improves accessibility of data to everyone at any time.

Efficient way of managing documents of an association

Efficient way of managing documents by an owners association

Any member can upload a document (up to 2 MB in size) along with a short description and select a relevant category. Members can search and sort for the documents based on the name, description, size or category making it easier to locate. No more issues of digging through emails or your personal desktops to find a particular document.

Any member can view or download a document and Administrators will have the ability to delete documents to ensure a clean repository.

With this feature, we sure hope to have made life little better for you!


Service Tax on Residential Complexes: Past, Present, Future


Budget 2010 revived what many thought was a closed chapter for millions of home buyers in India. Ever since it was introduced, there had been uncertainty about the government’s service tax on residential constructions and the manner in which it had to be collected. Following a circular in 2009, the issued seemed to have been laid to rest – though there was a lot of confusion on how the refunds were to be claimed. Now, Budget 2010 has brought the issue back into the limelight. Let’s take a look at the whole issue in detail. 

Service Tax for Residential Complexes: The Beginning

During the heady years of the construction boom which started around 2004, the government came up with a unique idea to augment its finances. It decided to levy a service tax on builders for offering their services to anyone who’s buying a residential or commercial property from them. The proposal came into effect from June 16, 2005 and a 10.2% tax (10% service tax and 2% education cess) was levied on 1/3 of the cost of sale price.

The builders promptly passed on the burden to the buyers. Many of them started including this as part of their scheduled payment structure. Meanwhile, the builders association and various taxation experts called for the removal of this tax. According to them, land was a state subject and the Central government couldn’t levy any charges on it. They also argued that the nature of the transaction between the buyer and a seller is not of a service but of a sale. The builders also argued that it was hampering sales and creating unnecessary confusion in the minds of the buyer.

Cancellation of Service Tax on Residential Complexes

The government responded with clarification that the taxation was not on “buying and selling” of the flats, but on the services rendered. If the construction activities were undertaken entirely by the builder or in cases where no service provider was involved, there would be no service tax involved. Plus, to protect the interest of small builders, no service tax was applicable for projects that had less than 12 units in it.

The clarifications created more confusion and led to a situation where multiple circulars/trade notices were issued by various departments of the government. Finally, realizing that the industry needed to recover following the economic depression, Circular No. 108/02/2009 – ST (http://www.servicetax.gov.in/circular/st-circular09/st-circ-108-2k9.htm) tried to bring the entire episode to a closure. It contained two major clauses:

a) since the sale was happening only after completion of the project, the construction service provided by the builder is considered as “self-service” which is not liable to tax and

b) In case of under-construction projects, since the buyer gets ownership only after its completion, it came under the exclusion provided in the definition of “residential complex”. There would be thus no service tax applicable on residential complexes

Claiming refund

Following this circular, the amount collected as service tax was refunded under the provision Section 11B of the Central Excise Act. The refund was to be collected by individual buyers directly from the government or the builder could repay the buyers and then claim a refund by keeping evidence of the repayment.

Refund can be claimed in the following manner:

  • Fill application Form R and submit it to the jurisdictional ACCE or DCCE before the expiry of one year from the relevant year. Affix a revenue stamp after signing it.
  • The application in Form R shall have valid grounds for refund.
  • The applicant should seek a personal  hearing
  • Proof should be submitted that refund would not result in unjust enrichment. Invitation for authorities to verify the accounts maybe attached. A Charted Accountant (CA) certificate that the Service Tax has not been passed on may also be obtained and submitted where the CA clearly specifies the books, records, payments received verified.

Budget 2010 and its implications

When everyone expected the dust to have settled on this issue – Budget 2010-11 seems to have reversed the decision of the earlier circular by raising a claim for service tax on under construction residential complexes or completed buildings that have not received their occupation certificates. The budget had initially proposed a tax of 10% on 33% of the sale price. This was later reduced to 25% of sale price.  So, if the apartment you’re buying costs Rs. 40 lakhs, then as per the Budget proposal, the applicable service tax would have been Rs. 137,333 (at the rate of 10% service tax and 3% cess on 33% of the property value). However, with the amendment, the service tax gets reduced to 103,000, resulting into savings of Rs. 34,333. The amendment also benefits those who are buying a low cost flat. For example, if you were buying a low cost flat worth Rs. 15 lakhs, then as per the Budget proposal, applicable service tax would have been Rs. 51,500. This has now becomes nil, as per the amendment announced. This tax will not be applicable if full payment is made after completion of the construction. Service tax is also not applicable where the builder is engaging his own contractors, designers and other service providers. In some states like Maharashtra, the buyer has to pay an additional 1% VAT on the cost of the flat.  

Builders have already started collecting the amounts from buyers and it’s causing a lot of resentment and distrust between them. With home buyers caught by surprise and the construction industry unhappy about it, experts believe it’s only a matter of time before the tax gets challenged again. Also, it’s not clear at what stage the service tax will be levied. Will it be at the time of registering the sale, during the documentation process itself or during the handover of the flat? There are too many unanswered questions for which both builders and buyers are trying to find answers. The ball clearly is in the government’s court on this one!

This article is vetted by Mr. Deshpande R P, Director of Institute of Home Finance, the first of its kind institute dedicated to mortgage banking studies. Mr. Deshpande is a Mortgage Banking Professional with Civil Engineering background and has more than 25 years experience in Mortgage Banking sector.


This article aims at collating and providing information on service tax for residential complexes at one place for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use it only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals. If you need professional advise on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form. You may post your questions/inputs in the Comments section below and we will try and get them answered through relevant subject matter experts.


Vendor Management for Apartment Associations

We released new feature of “Vendor Management” in ApnaComplex today.

Starting today, Administrators can maintain the list of all vendors that association and apartment residents use in a central place. Details like vendor name, services offered, address, contacts and other details of vendors can be collected and made available for all the residents. This makes it easy for all owners/residents to know the details and also immensely helps for new comers into the complex who would typically need all contacts as they settle down in their new house.

List of Vendors used by Owners Association can be managed centrally using ApnaComplex

List of Vendors used by Owners Association can be managed centrally using ApnaComplex

What’s more – the owners/residents can provide feedback about the services offered by the vendor and rate them on a scale of 1 to 7. We hope this helps to maintain the feedback about a vendor in a central place and also providing a forum for managing committees to take feedback from owners/residents on Vendors before they decide on renewing contracts with the vendors. Associations can now take informed decisions when deciding on a vendor and also provide more transparency to all residents of the apartment complex.

Wait! There’s more to this – the administrator can decide to mark the vendor details as “public”. Vendors marked as “public” will get listed on the complex’s home page along with the feedback and ratings by the members. This will be visible to everyone on the internet who views your complex’s home page (others on internet can only see the vendor details and ratings provided by the members of the complex, they will not be add their feedback or rating).  Thus you can share your experiences with a vendor with other associations and learn theirs as well.

Details and Ratings of Vendors can be made available to other owner associations through ApnaComplex

Details and Ratings of Vendors can be made available to other owner associations through ApnaComplex

In addition to vendor management, we have made subtle enhancements to our user interface to enhance you experience when using ApnaComplex.

We sure hope to have made life little better for you!

If you are considering using 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.


And they lived happily ever after….!

Ask anyone in the Managing Committee of an apartment complex or a residential layout, and most of them will confess that it’s the most thankless job one can think of. What makes the job a challenge is the brickbats that follow even after having worked in the best interest of all. “You can never please everyone” is a truism that every apartment managing committee member learns early enough in their tenure!

But all’s not lost! If you’re a managing committee member, we are glad to reveal that there is a way you can actually reduce your work and even win some praise for the efforts you put in.

To begin, we’ll have to first understand where most managing committees stumble in getting along with the members/residents of the apartment complex or layout. Broadly, the issues that residents have with their managing committees can be classified under the following heads:

a.       Communication

b.      Complaint Resolution

c.       Transparency in Expenses

We are sure you’ll agree that almost 90% of the criticism that members of owners association have against their managing committees fall under these three heads. When it comes to communication, the most common grouse is that the managing committee didn’t communicate early enough or clearly enough. When it comes to complaint resolution, there are always comments from other members of the association saying that no complaint gets attended in time, same issues keep happening and so on. As for expenses, the lesser said the better. Members will always claim that they do not know where the money is being spent, that the Association should have curtailed expenses under certain heads and got a better deal on something.  

Now, if an Owners Association can “manage” to get these three aspects of their functioning in control then you could have a managing committee that will actually be loved… or let’s make it… accepted by the other members of the association and residents of the apartment complex.

So how do we go about doing it?

The answer is simple: use tools that help your Owners Association become efficient and thus more effective! At ApnaComplex we offer online technology solutions that help Managing Committees streamline their workflow and create better synergies with residents of the apartment. The Single Directory View of Members allows managing committee to view details of each owner and tenant in the apartment complex or layout. The powerful Notification features that we have ensures that you can use the power of SMS and emails to communicate with every member of your society – or broadcast to only specific segments of your members – like residents and tenants.

The online Complaint Box feature of ApnaComplex registers, tracks, and closes complaints from all apartment members in a central place. Complaints shall be filed under various categories and tracked till closure. Residents can know the status of a complaint anytime and also how many complaints are attended to by the maintenance staff. Sure, that makes the residents happier.

Apart from these, ApnaComplex offers rich features to support your billing and expenses. The Maintenance Charge Tracking feature allows the Treasurer to raise invoices for various charges and tracks payments made against them. To make the life of a Treasurer even simpler, the Income Tracking feature captures the details of income from maintenance collection and other revenue heads. The Instant Receipts Issuance feature not only enables speedy creation of receipts but also enables members to view/download the receipts at any time. In addition, the Expense Tracking feature tracks expenses incurred under various heads and the Publish Accounts Statement publishes statements at the push of a button to all members and on to the notice board. Now, that’s total transparency.

 Finally, the Metered Billing feature ensures that invoices are generated for various metered utilities such as a piped gas or water meter against each house and their respective payments are tracked with in ApnaComplex!

If that covers 90% of all issues, we are glad to inform you that we haven’t missed out on the remaining 10% either. ApnaComplex has an Online Notice Board that ensures every one can post their needs to all members. Online Notice Board can be used by Managing Committee to ensure meetings and other events are known to everyone. To ensure that only authorized personnel can access the Management Committee features, ApnaComplex has an effective Role Based access control system. So while ApnaComplex can be used by all, the right to information and features is rigidly controlled.

If you are a member of an Owners Association or an owner/resident in an apartment complex or gated community, please register your complex now and experience how ApnaComplex can make your apartment management easier, efficient and effective. We are confident you are going to love what you see.


Live a perfect life with ApnaComplex

As a member of a gated community, you would be enjoying a level of comfort and security that people on the other side of the fence can only dream of. While this exclusivity translates into peace of mind, convenience and higher returns in terms of increased property and rental values, there are always some niggles or the other that could make you say “if only this was possible it would have been perfect!”

An instance would be the time you missed an important society meeting simply because someone forgot to inform you about it! There might also have been occasions when you may have wanted to make a complaint or request permission to hold a function but just didn’t get the time to write to the Managing Committee. Or maybe you wanted to share an important announcement with your fellow residents but couldn’t get the approval of your Committee in time. Then of course there are those notices lost in transit, misplaced bill receipts, minutes of the meeting that didn’t reach you and so on. These are just a few of the many small but significant issues that leave you with a feeling that things could be so much better if only there was a more efficient way of handling them!

That’s exactly where ApnaComplex comes in. At ApnaComplex, we are dedicated to make the world you inhabit as complete as possible. For the sake of simplicity (another proof of our intention to make things better for you), we would categorize the benefits we offer in the following manner:

ApnaComplex - Home Page

ApnaComplex - Residential Layout and Apartment Complex Management Software

a)      Saving precious time

b)      Keeping your identity and data private and secure

c)      Making communication more efficient

d)     Providing financial information at your fingertips

e)      Improving social interaction with fellow residents

Now that we’ve listed the benefits, let’s take a quick look at how ApnaComplex actually makes them possible.

a) Saving precious time

  1. The speed and connectivity of an online platform ensures that you can connect from anywhere, anytime to carry out all your correspondences and get updated on all activities in your complex.
  2. Our focus on usability ensures that you spend the minimal amount of time on carrying out any activity: from responding to an email to posting an ad to checking your bill payments.
  3. A Dashboard view ensures that all your transactions and communications can be accessed easily and quickly.
  4. You can also save time and energy by booking your clubhouse facilities, library and other services online through ApnaComplex.
  5. Consolidated view to a member of all activities in the complex.

    Consolidated view to a member of all activities in the complex.

b) Keeping your identify and data private and secure

  1. With ApnaComplex, you can communicate with people within or outside your complex without revealing your email address. This ensures that while you are able to send and receive mails, your email id remains private until you choose to reveal it.
  2. Others can also contact you directly without having to know your email id.
  3. Your data is 100% secure even while transit. The entire portal is SSL enabled – which means peace of mind.

c) Making communication more efficient

  1. You can receive important information such as your maintenance dues, emergency repair schedules, association meetings, etc. directly from committee members by email/sms.
  2. You can raise, view, track complaints related to your house in one place. If you mange more than one house – whether within the same complex or outside – you can manage all activities using ApnaComplex in an integrated way.
  3. You can view the directory of all members as well as know the members on your Managing Committee and communicate with them.
  4. If you want to offer your house for sale/rent, you can simply put up an online classified ad in ApnaComplex that will be made available on the Internet. This ad can be accessed by people both within and outside the complex. This way, you not only save on the effort required to post your ad on various online sites you also save on hefty brokerage fees as you can get in direct touch with the lessee or buyer.

d) Providing financial information at your fingertips

  1. You can enter payments made to your association online and get confirmation on validation by the Treasurer.
  2. You can view a consolidated statement of all the charges and payments made for all the houses you own.
  3. You can view as well as download receipts in PDF format for the payments you made, any time (did we hear a sigh of relief from the Treasurer there?).
  4. You can see how the money is being spent on the complex maintenance with help of expense statement that Treasurers can publish every month.

e) Improving social interaction with fellow members

  1. You can publish notices online that will reach all other members.
  2. You can communicate with other members in your complex about upcoming events, meetings, and any other activity without having to know their email ids.
  3. You can know and reach your managing committee  members through our secure messaging feature.

This is just the beginning of what we’ve in plans for you. We are currently focusing on getting more information about local businesses and services at your fingertips and many more such features that offers you a little more convinience. We’ll keep you posted on the developments.

In the meanwhile please let us have your feedback on the features currently on offer. Good, bad or ugly – we’d love to hear from you. We’d also appreciate any ideas on features and functionality that will make ApnaComplex more useful for you. So please feel free to get in touch with us with your thoughts and comments. You can contact us here.

So, what are you waiting for? Register yourself and your complex. Now.