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.

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.

Popular methods of calculating Maintenance Charges in Apartment Complexes

As a resident of an apartment complex, you are required to pay a monthly charge for the upkeep and maintenance of your society.  This maintenance charge is usually arrived at taking into account the monthly expenses plus an additional amount that the society can save for major repairs or maintenance that will arise at a later date. Every housing society decides on a method that it believes is a fair and reasonable way of calculating the amount for each member.  While this may sound like a simple agenda, at times, it’s not so simple to carry out due to the different ways in which the amount can be calculated. Here, we present some of the popular ways in which societies calculate maintenance charges along with their respective pros and cons:

Pay per Square Feet:

This is the most common and popular way of calculating maintenance fee. In this type of calculation, a fixed rate is charged per super built up area of the apartment that you own. For example, if the fixed rate is Rs. 2 and you own a 1000 sq. ft. apartment, your maintenance charge will be Rs. 2,000 per month. In this type of arrangement, the bigger the area of the house, the higher you pay as maintenance charge. So in apartment complexes with apartments of varying sizes, you’ll have people paying different amounts per month as maintenance charge.

Pros: It is easier to calculate. This method is one of the most commonly used methods in apartment complexes.
Cons:
While this method is popular, it is unfair on people owning larger houses as some of the facilities that they use like a lift, the garden, the club, security services etc. are equally shared among all members irrespective of the size of the flat.

Combined Maintenance Charges:

In this method, the maintenance amount is divided into two parts. Part 1 includes all expenses that are equally utilized by members, irrespective of the size of their apartments. This includes the cost of maintaining lifts, salaries for security and other staff, costs for stationery, property taxes of society office, conveyance, meeting charges, audit fees, legal charges, common electricity charges, etc. The other part is calculated on the basis of the area of the flat and includes items like property taxes, water charges, etc. This is also the method advocated by the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Model Bye-Laws.

Of this amount collected, everything is an immediate outgo for the society except for the amount collected as sinking fund. This amount is used when the society needs funds to carry out major repairs or maintenance. So instead of collecting the amount from the members at one time, the society can dip into the sinking fund that has grown over the years. The bye-laws recommend collecting at least 0.25% per annum of the cost of construction of each apartment (excluding the cost of the land) as sinking fund corpus. The AGM can vote to collect a higher amount than this if required. The amount is calculated on size of the apartment. This amount remains with the society until any major repairs has to be undertaken. In case the owner sells the apartment, this money is not returned to him/her.                                       

Pros: Aims to be fair on all parties involved. The members owning a bigger apartment is not penalized based on the size of the apartment. All other expenses which are related to the size of the apartment are charged as per dimensions of the apartment.
Cons: There can be lot of differences of opinion on the items that should be charged as per size of the apartment.

Equal Maintenance Fee:

This method is favoured in apartment complexes where the size of each apartment is the same. Here, the fixed amount is arrived at after calculating the monthly expenses plus the amount to be kept aside in the sinking fund and dividing the total by the number of apartments in the society. As costs increase, this amount gets revised in the Annual General Meeting. For complexes where apartments are of different sizes, this method will be unfair and is usually not accepted by the members.

 Pros: Easy to implement in societies with same-sized apartments.
Cons: Unfair to smaller apartment owners in societies with different-sized apartments. The greater the difference in size of the apartments, the higher will be the discrepancies in the maintenance charges between the members.

In all methods, it is recommended that the maintenance amount calculation be revisited at least once in six months based on the actual expenses incurred in the past 6 months and the contingency amount that the association would like to maintain for any exigencies.

While these are some popular ways of calculating the maintenance charge, a residential society can arrive at any system that is considered fair and acceptable to all members of the society. If there is any doubt, you can refer to the model bye-laws and decide on the best way to calculate the maintenance charge in your Annual General Body Meeting.

Update: You can also refer to this article – How to Calculate Maintenance Charges for your Apartment Association?


This article aims at collating and providing information on maintenance charge calculations for residential complexes for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and 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 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.

No more power failures in your residential complex!

Unless you live in one of the super-exclusive localities in India, power failures will be an all too familiar concept. As you go further into the interiors, frequent power cuts become the norm instead of the exception. And the way the power situation appears, India will be experiencing a major shortage of power in the coming years irrespective of the efforts of the government. Sure, we have diesel generators for back-ups. But with the increasing cost of fuel and the environmental impact of fossil fuels, it’s not the wisest choice either.

So what’s the solution? For a country like India, which enjoys an average of 300 sunny days, the answer is blowing in the air: yes, Solar Energy. Environmental-friendly, renewable, and being completely free, solar energy should be the obvious future for India. It should be the ideal solution for residential complexes like yours to reduce power cuts as well as your electricity bills.  All it needs is the will and the foresight to make an investment that will pay dividends in the years to come.

Use of Solar Power in Residential Societies

A wonderful example of a residential complex going solar right from inception is Rabi Rashmi Abasan (http://www.bengaldcl.com/Rabi_rashmi.htm) society in Kolkata. This complex consists of bungalows with each bungalow being fitted with solar photovoltaic panels on their rooftops. In turn, each bungalow is fitted with a solar heater that is connected to the kitchen and bathrooms. These solar panels generate around 60 units of electricity every day – which is about two units for every home. The complex still uses power from the main electricity grid, but the dependency and thus the bills, are much lower. Any surplus energy that the society generates gets pushed back into the state power utilities. The difference between what the society uses from the power grid and what it pushes back is monitored and the society pays the balance to the electricity board. This project was envisioned by the West Bengal government, to showcase how solar power can drastically reduce traditional power consumption in modern homes.

Cities Encouraging Solar Power

Rabi Rashmi is an example of just one project. There’s an example of a city that has adopted solar energy as the way to power its future. No, it’s difficult to guess the city as it’s not one of the metros or even one of the other larger cities. The city we are talking about is Thane in Maharashtra.

Their effort started a few years back when they introduced solar panels at the Rajiv Gandhi Medical College. The introduction of solar heating reduced their electricity bills by a whopping Rs. 9 lakh per annum as it heated around 19,000 litres on a daily basis. Buoyed by the success of this exercise, the Thane Municipal Corporation offered a 10% cut in property tax for those residential complexes that adopt this facility. It was noticed that societies that adopted solar heating were able to recover their costs as early as three years.  So successful was the experiment that the corporation has now made it mandatory for all upcoming complexes to have solar water heaters as part of their facilities.

Cities like Bangalore and Pune are other examples where the government is taking proactive steps to encourage the use of solar energy. Bangalore has the largest deployment of rooftop solar water heaters in the country, generating a daily equivalent of 200 MW, with 60% of the city’s household and industrial units using solar water heaters. It also offers an incentive of Rs. 50 on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems. This is now being mandatory for all new structures. Pune is the other city, which, like Thane and Bangalore, has made installation of solar water heaters in new buildings mandatory. At present, it is estimated that 20 per cent of houses in Pune are using solar water heating units.

Power Solar Equipments for Residential Use

Residential solar panels are available in various shapes, sizes and categories. You should select the panels depending on your requirement and your investment ability. For a typical household that uses four Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs of nine watts, a fan and a television set for six hours every day, the solar panel would cost around Rs 25,000. To run all the fans, lights and other gadgets, the cost would be anywhere between Rs 30,000 and 60,000. And if you plan to install a 100-litre water heater, the cost will be around Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000.

Residential complexes could start with using the energy generated to power the common facilities in: the lawns, the passages, the fans, lights and computer in the society office, the security cabin, club house, etc. You could then move to installing solar heaters for all residents of your complex. Studies show that as much as 25% of a household’s electric consumption is for heating water! Imagine if that cost can be totally eliminated for life! You can also consider replacing your diesel-guzzling back-up generators with environment-friendly solar power. With fuel prices on the rise, this is one investment that can show healthy savings in the immediate future.

Once installed, maintaining solar panels is pretty easy. They are flexible enough to be moved from one place to another. If you can keep it away from dirt and pollution, you won’t need to service it regularly either. All you need to maintain it properly is clean and wipe it regularly so that the efficiency of the panel is always at a high.

Government Incentives

IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency) provides soft loans at 2% to domestic users, 3% to institutional users not using accelerated depreciation and 5% to industrial/commercial users availing depreciation. The government also provides an interest subsidy, besides a 5% rebate on property tax. You can check details of all incentives offered by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) under the recently launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission here. The Delhi government provides a rebate of Rs. 6,000 for every solar water heater you install.

The onus is now on us. Are we up to it? Residential complexes can take the initiative and use solar power to reduce their power consumption, avoid power cuts and cut down on electricity bills. Although the initial investment may seem high, once adopted the future benefits of solar energy to the residential complex as well as to society at large is simply immense.


This article aims at collating and providing information on using solar energy for residential complexes 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 only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals. If you need professional advise on this topic or 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. 

How to Conduct an AGM in your Apartment Complex?

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If you are looking for sample AGM notice template for residential welfare association or apartment owners association, download from here.

Annual General Meeting Basics

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of a Residential Complex is a yearly event held to discuss the major issues facing the society and to collectively reach a consensus on the best solutions possible. Ideally, the AGM should be held before August 14th of a year (or as mentioned in bylaws of your association). You can extend this date by not more than three months after getting the permission of the Registrar of Societies. In case the Registrar is not convinced about the reasons for the delay in holding the AGM, Registrar may appoint an authorised officer to conduct the AGM at the cost of the society.

Most of the topics discussed during the AGM will be related to policies, finances and the future course of action for the society. While any topic can be discussed in the AGM, certain topics like electing new members, appointment of auditors, any policy change regarding expense amounts, etc. can only be finalized during an AGM.

Checklist for Managing Committee Members

The Managing Committee has its role cut out for this event. All the Committee members should ideally be present for the meeting, with the President, Secretary and Treasurer being the key members. If you’re part of the Managing Committee, you could use the checklist below to make sure your AGM goes off smoothly:

  • Have an internal meeting of the Managing Committee to fix a date for the AGM. Make sure that it doesn’t fall on a holiday or a long-weekend to ensure maximum participation from members.
  • Identify the venue for the meeting. (Take into account the space that will be needed to accommodate maximum participation.)
  • Circulate the notice to all members of the society least 21 days in advance.
  • Get the accounts audited and signed by the President, the Secretary and the Treasurer.
  • Identify the auditors to be appointed and their remuneration for the upcoming year.
  • Prepare of the Annual Report for the AGM. The annual report should contain the work done by the managing committee in the past year and the focus areas for the coming year.
  • Circulate the Annual Report to all members of the society.
  • Get minutes of last year’s AGM and make a list of all the resolutions passed in last year’s resolution.
  • Make a list of all documents that will be presented during the AGM.
  • Keep the book of Accounts ready for inspection by the members
  • Prepare for the questions given by the members.

The committee members also need to take care of administrative aspects such as printing extra copies of the Annual Report for the day of the meeting, ensuring enough chairs for the meeting, make catering arrangement if you plan to provide any refreshments during the meeting etc.

Activities during AGM

A typical AGM will go along the following way:

  • Members sign the roll
  • Quorum gets established (minimum number of members required to have a valid meeting)
  • Meeting is called to order by the President
  • Minutes of last year’s AGM approved and confirmed
  • Financial report for the last financial year  is accepted
  • Transfer of flats mentioned in the annual report is approved
  • Admission of new members into the society is ratified
  • Ways to tackle defaulters in the society are discussed
  • Also ways to tackle non-cooperative members of the society
  • To discuss and approve the appointment of Auditors for the current financial year.
  • Issues related to lifts, gardens, common areas, etc.
  • Discuss salary hikes for the staff that are responsible for the functioning and maintenance of the society
  • Elect new members for the Managing Committee, if applicable
  • Discuss any other matter with the permission of the President
  • Vote of thanks

Post the AGM, it is important that the Secretary of the association circulates the minuites of the meeting to all members so that all members are aware of the decisions taken during the AGM.

Responsibilities of a Member

While the Managing Committee has its responsibilities, the ordinary members too have certain responsibilities. As a member of a Residential Complex, it is your duty to participate in the AGM and contribute to the discussions. Any decision made during this meeting will affect the quality of your life in the society – so don’t leave the responsibility on the others. Before you attend the meeting, familiarize yourself with the Agenda; clear any doubts you may have regarding anything with other members or someone from the Managing Committee before the meeting. Make a list of questions that you plan to ask based on what you’ve noticed about the functioning of the society. Take a copy of the Annual Report with you to the meeting. And finally, be at the meeting slightly before time so that the quorum is reached and the meeting can start off as scheduled.

We wish you a fruitful AGM for your society!

A sample Notice for an AGM can be downloaded from here.


This article aims at collating and providing information on bye-laws for residential complexes for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and 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 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.


Reverse Mortagage: Income from home for Senior Citizens


With preference for nuclear families and staying independent increasing, getting old in India is slowly becoming a scary proposition.  Without a regular income, senior citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their daily expenses along with meeting the escalating costs of healthcare and other services. As more and more people are realizing, relying on just one’s savings or investments during old age may not be enough!

So what are the options that a senior citizen has, to live a life of dignity? Are there any avenues open for them to earn a regular income even at their age? Till a few years back, these would have been very difficult questions to answer. But now, there is a ray of light for at least those senior citizens who own a house or apartment in their name. It is called Reverse Mortgage.

Reverse Mortgage Concept

The principle of Reverse Mortgage is quite simply the opposite of a Home Loan EMI. When you take a home loan for your apartment, you are expected to pay a monthly amount for a fixed period of years. In the case of Reverse Mortgage, the bank pays an EMI to the apartment owner for a fixed period of years.  This EMI can be used as a monthly income by the home owners.

The process of getting a loan on your home starts with your application. This is followed by an evaluation of your home by the bank. Depending on the prevailing rate at your complex and the locality in which it is based, the bank will reach a valuation for your apartment. The better the quality of your apartment complex, greater is the chance of getting a high valuation for your property.

Once the valuation is done, you can decide on a tenure for which you’d like to receive the loan. Once the loan is availed of, the senior citizens can stay in their apartment and receive the payments from the bank till the end of the tenure. If the couple or either of them survives the tenure of the loan, they can still continue to live in their apartment till their death. It is important to note here that the bank cannot take possession if the owner expires but the spouse is alive. The possession changes hand only when the couple is no more – irrespective of who the owner was. Once the bank gets the possession, they can sell the apartment at the market rate and deduct the loan amount plus the interest on it. Any remaining amount will be handed over to the heirs of the home owner.

There are certain conditions for availing the Reverse Mortgage, however.

  1. The home owner should be a senior citizen (60 years and above)
  2. The maximum loan is up to 60% of the apartment value subject to a maximum amount of Rs. 50 lakhs
  3. The maximum period for the mortgage is usually 15 years. Some offer 20 years though.
  4. The amount received is considered as a loan and not income. This ensures that the amount is tax-free in the hands of the senior citizen.
  5. Payments can be made in monthly, quarterly, or annual instalments. A lump sum payment could also be considered if the owner so decides.
  6. The banks can charge a fixed or floating rate of interest on the loan being disbursed. This will be adjusted against the sale of property at the end of the tenure or on the demise of the owner and his/her spouse.
  7. One can pre-pay the loan amount at any time during the loan tenure

Reverse Mortgage in India

The concept of reverse mortgage is very popular in the West. But it is yet to find acceptance on a mass scale in India. One of the reasons could be the low awareness of the product. But probably the more important one is about perceptions. Although the advantages of reverse mortgage seem high (steady source of income, possession of house till death, etc.), mortgaging ones property is yet a new concept for Indians to accept. Added to this is the fact that most Indian parents like to bequeath their property to their children, instead of using it up for their own purposes.

What could change these perceptions is the changing reality of modern India. One of the realities is of children staying separately from their parents. Not just in a different house, but many children now settle far away – at times even in a different country altogether. Plus, many children are more often to sell off their home on inheriting it. The gap in geography also takes its toll on the emotional connect; it is not unusual to see the growing disconnect between parents and children of the present generation. All these factors could make Reverse Mortgage a more popular avenue for income generation for senior citizens.

Many banks and a few housing finance companies offer Reverse Mortgage. Here’s a list of some banks at which you could enquire about this option:

  • State Bank of India
  • Punjab National Bank
  • Indian Bank
  • Central Bank of India
  • LlC Housing Finance
  • Andhra Bank
  • Canara Bank
  • National Housing Bank (NHB)
  • Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL)

Today, most young couples put their life’s saving into their dream home. Many may not realize it now, but the apartment in which they are investing so much could well be their savior in their latter years.


Yes, Apartment Owners’ Associations CAN be run professionally

Reference to the article posted on Citizen Matters – Can Apartment Owners’ Associations be run professionally? , the author lists various hurdles in running Apartment Associations professionally and offers some suggestions that can help associations.

True, there are many hurdles to run association in a professional way. But leveraging technology would surely be a way to overcome some of the hurdles, if not all. This is exactly where ApnaComplex comes in. ApnaComplex neatly fits into the apartment management eco-system and provides tool set that just perfect for Apartment Owners Associations to manage their complex in efficient, effective and transparent manner.

Here’s how residents can Live a Perfect Life with ApnaComplex and how Managing Committees can ensure how every one Lived Happily ever after!

Back to Citizen Matters article – we will touch upon three key points metioned in the article and how some of the features of ApnaComplex can help.

“Communication” is the number one problem that most associations have

We could not agree more. That’s the prime reason why ApnaComplex was created. ApnaComplex solves this fundamental issue of communication by providing a platform that brings all owners/residents/managing committee together. Everyone sees and shares all information about the complex at one place. Any member can know the details of entire managing committee at one shot and reach out to them. The member directory provides information about all members in the complex at a central place, Managing Committee can reach out to any member any time. Broadcast Notifications through email can be sent to all members or subset of members (like only residents, only tenants etc.) at click of button – making it easier for managing committees to constantly communicate. In addition, there are SMS notifications too that can help MC send urgent messages.

Use formal action item register

Bang on! ApnaComplex provides Complaint Box which enables members to record all action items/issues/suggestions/complaints in a central place, assign them to owners and all relevant people including the managing committee can visibly see the progress of action items or complaints. This not only increases transparency but also the turn-around time to resolve complaints. ApnaComplex even allows residents to provide feedback on how effectively an issue is resolved and also on the vendors used in the complex there by establishing two way communication between residents and MCs.

Use a “Balanced Score Card” approach to show Managing Committee results

Another great suggestion. ApnaComplex offers reports that can sliced and diced in many ways . Reports of complaints resolved in each category, expenses of a given month, number of defaulters etc are available at the click of a button which enables MC to shwocase thier work and also provides visibility to rest of the association members on MC’s work.

While the above offer direct benefits for associations using ApnaComplex, the indirect benefits include reduced work load on the managing committee there by giving them more time to implement newer initiatives for betterment of the complex and even make more owners join the managing committee 🙂

Bottom line, YES! Apartment Owner’s Associations using ApnaComplex can be run professionally.

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.


Bye Laws: The Constitution of your Apartment Association

Quick Download:

If you are looking for sample template of bylaws for residential welfare association or apartment owners association, download from here.

Need for Bye Laws

The primary responsibility of the Managing Committee of an Apartment Owners Association (or Residents Welfare Association) is to ensure proper maintenance of the Apartment Complex and to resolve any issues that residents face in a timely and effective manner. These are not easy tasks to handle when you consider the sheer variety of challenges that confront the committee. Convincing members to act in the interest of the society is no less a challenge either as almost every resident is aware of their rights but few accept their responsibilities. So how does a Managing Committee go about its day-to-day tasks, taking clear, unbiased actions that work in the best interest of the society? What are the powers of the Managing Committee that enables it to enforce its decisions? And what makes the members of an Apartment Complex accept these decisions?

The answer to all this lies in the rules and regulations that every Apartment Complex adopts from the moment it is registered. Called bye-laws of the society, these rules and regulations govern the day-to-day functioning of the Apartment Complex. So crucial is the role of bye-laws in the smooth functioning of a society that many consider them to be the constitution of an Apartment Complex.

Registering Your Bye Laws

The Co-operative Society Act is a Central Act that helps co-operative societies to manage their affairs. However, most States in India (Maharashtra in 1960, Gujarat in 1961, Karnataka 1960 and so on) have repealed this act and have created their own Co-operative Societies Act. These Acts specify the rules and regulations that are part of a model set and usually any residential Apartment Complex association is free to adopt these bye-laws in total or modify them as per their requirement and accept them. The Act thus offers a certain degree of flexibility to societies.

What is inflexible, however, is the need to get the bye-laws adopted. The bye laws are considered so critical for the efficient working of a society that it is mandatory for an Apartment Complex Association to approve and submit them to the Registrar of Societies during the formation of the association itself. The bye-laws adopted by an Apartment Complex should have the following details:

  • the aims and objectives of the society,
  • the details of the rules and regulations that apply to members,
  • the specifics of selecting a member and office-bearers of the society,
  • details of how the association aims to help the residents of the society
  • details of how it will go about getting the co-operation of all members. 
  • information on how the society will manage its income and expenses.
  • the list the office-bearers who will be authorized to issue cheques and monetary transactions on behalf of the association. (Bye-laws usually recommend rights to three-office bearers for signing any document or monetary transaction with any two of them required to sign at one particular time.)
  • details about transfer charges, maintenance costs, penalties, etc

The bye-laws should also mention when and how the AGM of the society will be held. Usually the first AGM should be held within six months from the close of the financial year. From the second year onwards, it should be held every year after March 31 and before August 14 as per bye-law no. 95or within an extended period as per Section 75(i) of the act. An AGM can be held by giving at least 21 days prior notice to members.

Amending your Bye Laws

Once the bye-laws are adopted, the society can function forever with that particular set of rules. However, the bye-laws can also be amended by the government or the residents themselves if the need arises. For example, if the bye-law says that the tenure of the Managing Committee should be 5 years, the association can change it to 3 years or 7 years by getting it approved by the General Body and then the Registrar. The new set of amended bye-laws will become functional for the association from the date of approval by the Registrar.

An Apartment Complex Association can amend its bye-laws in the following manner:

  1. A General Meeting (annual/special) should endorse the change with a two third majority of the members present in the meeting. This two third of members should not be less than one third of the total members in the society. (The Registrar may still accept the amendment under such a condition if the reason for the low turnout is explained in writing).
  2. The Managing Committee should submit the form mentioning the new law to be brought into force.
  3. The Committee should also submit four copies of the existing bye-laws along with the resolutions passed by the Annual General Meeting.
  4. Along with the signatures of the Managing Committee, the form should have the following details:
    • The date of the meeting at which the amendment was passed.
    • The number of members in the association.
    • Number of members of the present in the meeting.
    • Number of members who voted in favour of the amendment.

 The Registrar will register the amendment upon satisfaction that the amendment does not contravene any Act or rules that guide the functioning of a co-operative society. On approval, the Registrar will issue a certificate of registration along with the certified copy of the amendment. This is proof of the amendment being successfully registered. The Registrar of Societies can, however, refuse to register an amendment of the bye-laws. The Registrar will provide the reason for the decision in writing to the association.  

The bye-laws are thus binding as well as flexible enough for the Managing Committee to manage the affairs of the association as best as possible.

You can download a sample template of bye-laws from here.


This article aims at collating and providing information on bye-laws for residential complexes for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and 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 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.


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.