Category: Housing Society

Dos and Don’ts of Road Maintenance within your Society Gate

Roads are absolutely necessary for every apartment complex. They are used for easy commuting and also add an element of beauty to the society. But all of it becomes null if the roads are damaged or unusable. It is important to keep the roads in top condition so as to not hamper the daily life within your gates.

What is the need for maintenance?

Roads that are in regular use often end up riddled with potholes and wear-and-tear. This can be avoided if they are subjected to regular maintenance. Not only is it more cost efficient, but well-maintained roads also increase the property value of the entire complex.

In order to ensure that the roads are properly maintained, take up the issue with the apartment association during resident body meetings. While residents can take small steps in order to contribute, the apartment association can get the maintenance team to do the difficult tasks.

What are the types of problems?

1) Cracks: Cracks may form on the surface either due to repeated use or due to environmental degradation. Fatigue cracks occur due to the added effects of wheel loads. Environmental cracking develops in asphalt as it ages and is subjected to everyday temperature changes. These cracks are very small when compared to fatigue cracks  Water and dirt should be prevented from entering cracks as they might grow worse this way.

2) Surface Wear: Wear on the surface mainly occurs due to tire wear and material degradation (ravelling). Its maintenance includes removing the surface and/or covering up the surface which is worn. Surface treatment depends on the severity of the surface wear.

3) Rutting: This signifies permanent degradation in the layers of the road. This can happen if the structure design is improper or if the roads are overloaded. It can also happen if the surface layer is of poor quality.

4) Potholes: Pits or holes produced by wear or weathering on the road surfaces can be fixed through surface treatments.

What are the maintenance measures?

The roads in an apartment complex undergo a lot of destructive changes. The apartment association will have to take on different approaches based on the problem involved. Firstly,  residents should be constantly updated about the need to maintain roads by the apartment association. Littering on roads should be strictly prohibited and waste bins should be provided for this purpose. Stagnant bodies of water should be immediately cleared, especially after rain and the roads should be swept regularly by the maintenance crew.

Crack sealing is a process that’s followed in order to maintain roads and surface treatment can be done in order to prolong the life of the particular road. This treatment measures should be taken up by professionals, who can be hired by the apartment association.

A lot of factors affect the type of maintenance undertaken within the housing complex. These include the type of distress, vehicle loading, the general climate in the region, the cost of treatment; the roads expected life, the existing road type, and availability of good materials.

Residents can help maintain the quality of roads within the apartment complex by giving regular feedback on their defects to the management as well as bearing with the inconvenience caused during the repair of the roads.

Thankfully technology can add a touch of convenience while undertaking this task. ApnaComplex provides an integrated society management solution that can help you easily communicate with your fellow residents. Residents can use the Helpdesk feature to notify the committee of any defects that may need attention. On the other hand, committee members can use the ApnaComplex forums to raise notices that can be sent out to all the residents to keep them well-informed of the progress.


Ganesh Chaturthi: 5 Ways to Celebrate within your Apartment Complex

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are held in every housing society annually in order to honour the birth of Lord Ganesh. This festival encompasses a variety of cultural events that have deep-rooted religious meanings, which bring people together and enhance their sense of oneness.

You can make arrangements to celebrate the festival in your housing society, in order to bring together all residents. This can take an immense amount of time and effort since celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi are very elaborate and done on a grand scale. Ensure that you bring up the idea during a resident meeting so that you can get help from other residents and delegate duties effectively.

Arrange for the Main Idol

Most housing societies usually arrange idols of Lord Ganesh to be placed in the common area. This is usually the crux of the celebration. The idol can be placed in a central location so that it is easily accessible to all residents within the society. Be wary of the direction the idol is meant to face.

Provide Localized Immersion Spots

Instead of having scores of people from the housing society immersing idols all over the city, the housing society management can organize a local area where the residents can collectively gather, celebrate and finish off the festivities. The management can have a small artificial tank constructed within the compound to be used for this purpose.

Whip Up Homemade Sweets

Sweets are the main part of this festival. You can take some initiative and encourage all families to make sweets at home. You can do this during the resident meetings. This will not only help them save on money and resources but also ensures less wastage. Such sweets are healthier and also bring the housing society residents closer during the festival.  

Create Awareness About the Festival

Most modern children aren’t completely aware of the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi or about the various rituals that are performed. The best way to create awareness is art. Put up plays or dances depicting the scenes that relate to the festival. Also, why not try screening a themed movie for your residents? You can even host competitions for storytelling, poetry recitation, drawing, or rangoli.

Go Green

Festivals that are largely popular often damage the environment. Why not take the initiative to go green this Chaturthi? The first thing to do is to ensure your idol is made of clay instead of POP or plastic. Clay idols dissolve in water when immersed and do not affect marine life too heavily. Make sure your idols are also painted with non-toxic colours. The housing society management must strive to ensure that every family limits itself by having only one idol for immersion. Reduce the use of firecrackers and loudspeakers. These are some of the biggest causes of pollution during festivals. Lastly, remember to organise a clean-up drive at the end of the festivities. Proper disposal of the garbage, both biodegradable and recyclables, can go a long way in contributing to an environment-friendly festival.

Celebrating such an important festival on a common stage can be a fun experience for everyone, especially the children. Once you delegate all the necessary tasks to specific members through the housing society management, you can enjoy a splendid Ganesh Chaturthi with your family and the entire community.


Featured Society: Purva Highland

Just off Nice Road, in Mallasandra, lies one of Bangalore’s well-known high rise apartments – Purva Highland. Perched on a hillock, this apartment complex boasts breathtaking views and a list of luxuries for both, body and mind. This society has 13 towers, each 20 stories high and a one-of-a-kind 3-tiered pool.

The apartment complex stretches over a huge plot of land and hosts more than a 1500 flats. This society provides a number of amenities and luxuries – a tennis court, a basketball court, a three-tier swimming pool, a medical store, a cafeteria, a supermarket, are just a few of the many, that are housed inside the gates of this society. Couples, children, bachelors, elderly, this community has a bit of everything. With so many people living in one place, using all these facilities, naturally, the managing committee has its work cut out.

Managing an apartment complex is just like managing a mini-city

So how does the committee manage everything? According to Mr. Ravi Shripathi, Secretary, the managing committee was founded in 2015. “There are three principal office bearers president, secretary, treasurer. Apart from this, there are nine blocks in the complex. Each block has its own Vice President. Besides this, we have many sub-committees like the Green Committee, Library Committee, Sports Committee, Evacuation Committee, and more, who work closely with our office bearers.”

All these committees comprise of volunteers who have decided to work in their free time towards making their communities run smoothly. But it is easier said than done. A big apartment complex is like a mini-city. And like any mini-city, there are problems that keep cropping up, decisions that have to be made, plans that have to be executed. This requires time from each committee member which, sometimes,  is more than they can spare.

Using ApnaComplex as a force multiplier

This is where newer technologies come to the rescue of managing committees. Being a fully integrated apartment management platform, ApnaComplex uses technology to reduce the workload of both residents and managing committee members.

Take billing, collections and accounting as an example. According to the Estate Manager, Mr. Shaman Joshi, “Previously, we had to rely on accountants who came in. I had no control over it at all. I was completely dependent on the accountant. Now, using the ApnaComplex App, I can generate our invoices myself. There is no more dependency.

When asked how this has made things easier he replied,Everything is faster and more convenient now. Earlier we had a big ledger we had to go through to list out all our defaulters for the month. Now it is no longer manual. The app automatically generates a defaulter list that we just need to send.

Or security, another big challenge for the size of a community like Purva Highland.As just a resident, I thought of ApnaComplex as just an accounting software,says Mr. Shripathi,Now as a Secretary, I saw all the other options available. We have been using ApnaComplex Gatekeeper for almost a month now. The response has been positive. We are planning on introducing biometrics soon.

ApnaComplex Gatekeeper @ Purva Highland, Bangalore

When asked what the ultimate goal of this was, he replied, “We have tons of manual registers that have been maintained over the years. Eventually, I want to get rid of it all and move to a strictly electronic records.”

From a library to a health spa, Purva Highland has a little bit for everyone. This society and its committee strive to make its residents happy, comfortable and safe. ApnaComplex commends the committee on their work and hopes our service continues to aid them.

Gym in Purva HighlandGym

Indoor Games @ Purva HighlandIndoor Games

Tennis Courts @ Purva HighlandTennis Court

Children @ Play @ Purva Highland Children at Play

Library @ Purva HighlandLibrary

Squash Court  @ Purva HighlandSquash Court

 


The Indian Flag Code: everything you need to know this Independence Day

“A national spirit is necessary for national existence. A flag is a material aid to the development of such a spirit.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

With the 72nd Independence Day just around the corner, members of most apartment complexes will be gearing up to organise their own flag hoisting ceremony. The Indian Flag, or the tricolour, is a symbol of our country. As such, it should be treated with great respect. The Government of India has put down the code to ensure its proper construction and handling. Here is a reminder of the dos and don’ts of the National Flag etiquette.

The Flag

The Indian Flag Code specifies the dimensions of the flag and how it should be constructed. This is a measure taken to ensure that the flags used everywhere are uniform.

  • First, the Indian Flag should be a perfect rectangle, with a ratio of 3:2 between the length and the width. The flag’s size should be one among these  (in mm):
    150×100
    225×150
    450×300
    900×600
    350×900
    1800×1200
    2700×1800
    3600×2400
    Pick an appropriate size for display.
  • It should be made of handspun khadi, or of cotton, silk or wool. Avoid plastic flags because these are difficult to dispose of.
  • The flag should be split into three equal panels – saffron (not orange) panel at the top, a white panel in the middle and a green panel (described as India green) at the bottom. Be careful with the colours.
  • A navy blue Ashoka Chakra should adorn the centre of the white panel, with 24 spokes that are equally spaced.

The Display

The Indian flag hoisting rules also cover instances of the flag’s misuse and specify the proper procedure to hoist the flag.

  • During an Indian flag hoisting ceremony, the saffron panel should always be on top. The flag should never be hoisted upside down.
  • It should be displayed from sunrise till sunset, irrespective of weather conditions.
  • The flag should always be positioned to the far right.
  • There should be no other flag or emblem to its right or above it.
  • The Indian flag should hold no lettering or inscriptions of any kind.
  • During ceremonies, it is common practice to use flower petals within the unfurled flag. The Indian flag code prevents the use of any confetti or decorative materials other than flower petals.
  • In a procession, the Indian flag should either be carried to the right or in front of the central line.
  • It should never touch the ground or water.
  • There should be no other flags on the same masthead as the Indian flag.
  • The flag should never be flown at half-mast unless the government specifies.
  • The National Flag should not be used to cover any speaker’s desk, platform or monument.
  • Paper flags can be used during days of national importance. However, care should be taken that they do not touch the ground.
  • The national anthem should be sung once people salute the flag. (It is essential to follow the etiquette specified for the national anthem as well).
  • A damaged flag should never be displayed, and such flags can be disposed of in private, preferably by burning or in a method consistent with its dignity.

To read about the rules for the national anthem click
http://www.ncert.nic.in/announcements/oth_announcements/pdf_files/NatinalAnthem.pdf

When planning to hoist the Indian Flag in your apartment complex, it is the duty of every Indian citizen to ensure that these rules are followed. Start a discussion on your ApnaComplex forums to raise awareness among the residents. The managing committee can take things a step further by printing out such rules and handing out copies. It is important to make sure that no misuse occurs, either deliberately or by accident.

The tricolour represents the Indian community. So this Independence Day, as you come together in your apartment complex remember to bask in this spirit of community. From everyone at ApnaComplex, we wish you all a Happy Independence Day!

Jai Hind! 


Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to always consult appropriate professional advisers for your society to ensure compliance. 


GST | Links to various articles related to GST on Housing Societies

Here is a compilation of various links that discuss or inform about GST on Housing Societies

  1. *****IMPORTANT — Press release by Govt. clarifying GST levy on RWAs *****
  2. 5 reasons why living in housing society will be expensive under GST – Times of India
  3. GST Applicability to Co-operative Housing Societies – Money Life
  4. How to avoid GST levy on Housing Societies – By India Infoline
  5. Applicability of GST on Housing Societies – Consumer Resources
  6. GST on Co-op Housing Society – CA Club India
  7. Our own blog post – GST on Co-operative Housing Societies Maintenance Dues / Common Area Expenses

GST on Co-operative Housing Societies Maintenance Dues / Common Area Expenses

Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Societies Maintenance Dues / Corpus Fund / Common Area Expenses

Co-operative Housing Societies are merely a collecting and pass through mechanism like in case of property tax, water charges, common area repairs and maintenance etc. It can be contended that no activity is carried out by a society for its members. There may be various service providers providing service to the society which is the legal owner of the building including that of common areas, for e.g. repairs service providers, maintenance service providers, security agencies etc. Thus, the society is receiver of service and not provider of service. If a member’s flat or office premises require repairs, the same is obtained directly by the member and the society is not involved in provision of that service. Further no consideration is flowing from the members to the society except allocation and collection of expense. Any such payments without quid-pro-quo of a service cannot be liable to tax. Thus, it can be argued that even under the new dispensation, service tax is not applicable in case of a co-operative society when any activity is carried out for no consideration and the same would be continued under the GST Act.

Service tax on co-operative societies is a contentious issue. In a co-operative housing society, the land and building belongs to the society and the members by virtue of their membership of the society have right to occupy, enjoy and transfer their flats, subject to the prevailing rules and regulations and bye-laws of the society which are required to be approved by the specified authorities under the law. A co-operative housing society is a collective mechanism wherein it make payments of property tax and like payment to the municipal corporation and other Government bodies, incur some expense for common good and allocate and collect the expense in form of certain charges from the members on some basis or as per the resolutions passed in the General Body Meetings. Such collections are generally in the form of reimbursements. Some of the functions of a co-operative housing society are statutory functions like transfer of shares of the members with the underlined interest in the property (flats). It works on mutuality principles as the function of the society is for the members and by the members. Though it is not the objective, it is possible that at the end of a particular period, the society may generate some surplus which is used for members in future. In case of deficit, the same is made good by contributions from its members. However, such surplus or deficit cannot be said to be consideration for providing any service.

It is clear that a co-operative housing society collects the expenditure incurred either for some specific purpose like municipal taxes, water charges etc. on the basis of area of flats or some other appropriate basis. Such recoveries are in the nature of reimbursements. There is no element of service in case of “reimbursement of expense” and thus the charge (S. 66) fails as per the judgement of Hon’ble Delhi High Court in one of the case. If viewed in this context, service tax or GST on Co-operative Housing Societies cannot be applied on mere allocation / collection / reimbursement of expenditure. Some of the expenditures classified as follows are taxable under the current tax regime:

  1. Property Tax:

Collection of property tax is statutory levy by a municipal corporation or a local authority under the Constitution of India. A society is a mere collecting agent and pays the same to the authority. There is no element of service in it. Even assuming it as a service, it is not provided for a consideration. Hence service tax is not leviable. As an abundant caution, the society should ensure that the amount collected from the members does not exceed the actual amount. Same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

  1. Maintenance and Repair Charges:

‘Maintenance’ as the name suggest is the amount collectively reimbursed to the society to upkeep and maintain the building and premises on regular basis. The members of the society pay maintenance charges on some predetermined basis as decided in the General Body Meeting. Electricity charges for common areas, watchman or security charges and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by the society including accounting, audit etc. is part of maintenance charges. Service tax may be applicable on this. If the actual service provider in relation to any input service, charges service tax in his bill, the society would be eligible to take CENVAT credit of the same and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

  1. Parking Charges:

Car parking is in relation to regulate the parking place between the members and providing of space by use of vacant land belonging to the society for a consideration. There is an element of service in it and thus service tax may be leviable and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

  1. Water Charges:

Water is “goods” under the Sales of Goods Act, 1935. However, the society is not selling the water to its members. It is just providing the pipeline to deliver water in the members’ premises. So long as it is collecting actual amounts as charged by the municipal corporation, there may not be any consideration. Therefore, charges recovered from members on actual basis are not liable to service tax. In the event of collection of water charges exceeding the payments, only such extra amount can be chargeable to service tax. In relation to water for common use like swimming pool, garden, club house etc., it is advisable to have separate meter and separate collection from the members. Such charges for use of water for common purpose may be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

  1. Charges for use of Club House, Swimming Pool, etc.:

These are specific services by the society to the member opting for such facilities. Any consideration paid for this would be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

  1. Share Transfer Fees and Donations:

Share transfer fees are the amount charged by the society for transfer of shares when a member approaches for its consent for transfer of his flat. It falls within the definition of service as a consideration for an activity carried out for the member for transfer of his lat. There is an element of service in it and service tax may be leviable on the same and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

  1. Sinking Fund:

It is a fund which is collected by the members of the society to set aside money over a time of period to meet the eventuality of reconstruction of the building. It is obligatory for a housing society to collect Sinking Fund under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 and rules made thereunder. The fund collected from a member is transferred to new member if the original member ceases to be a member. No definite service or contractual obligation is involved so far as collection of sinking fund is concerned. It’s a mere collection from the members of the society.

  1. Repair Fund/Painting Fund:

Like sinking fund, this is also a mere collection to meet eventuality of major repair expenditure in future. There is no promise to provide a definite service with any identified time frame. No expense is also identified. It is also not sure that a member from whom the repair fund is collected would be a receiver of service at the time when it is actually provided. The agreement to provide service to the member is absent. However, as an abundant caution, the society should bring out this candidly in the resolution pertaining to collection of repair fund to avoid any ambiguity.

  1. Non Occupancy Charges

Non occupancy charges are charges levied by a housing society only when a flat or unit is let out by its members. A unit in a co-operative Housing Society is for occupation and enjoyment of its members. The permission of the society is necessary when the unit is let out. The society may accord its permission in accordance with the provision of its bye-laws and on payment of some periodical charge. Such charge is a consideration for agreeing to let out its premises and may be liable to service tax. Thus any consideration for allowing a member to let out his premises may be liable to service tax under the relevant clause of the Finance Act, 1994 and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

In terms of above discussion, all the charges upon which service tax is leviable if it exceeds the limit of Rs. 5,000 p.m. per member in a housing society. If a person owns two flats, for all practical purpose it would be considered as two members. The exemption would be accordingly computed and then the remaining would be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.

Rate of Tax and Exemption Benefit under GST

As per existing Tax structure currently service tax is charged @ 15% & whereas as per proposed GST tax @ 18% will be charged on Supply of Services but in existing tax structure assesses is not able to take the input tax credit benefit of goods & services whereas in proposed GST system assesses will be able to take credit of supply of both goods & services which will cover difference of additional 3% GST on Co-operative Housing Societies up to a level.

However, the exact rates applicable to particular goods and services have not been yet finalized for GST on Co-operative Housing Societies.

Update on 31st May 2017:

Following exemptions are provided under the GST Regime for Housing societies (Source : Schedule of GST Rates for Services)

  • In case of a housing society or residential complex, the exemption is limited to 5,000 p.m. per member for sourcing of goods or services from a third person for the common use of its members.
  • Total Maintenance Recovery from members of the Society is less than 20 Lakhs per Annum.

RWA / Housing societies will need to charge 18% GST to its members if maintenance recovery is more than Rs.5,000/- per month per member AND if total maintenance recovery by the society exceeds Rs. 20 lakhs per annum. Accordingly, societies who fulfill either of the conditions will need to register under GST and charge 18% on their collections from Members from July 1st on wards. Please note that the Rs. 5,000/- per member per month exemption was available in the Service Tax regime as well and is being continued under GST regime.

Update on 13th July 2017:

Govt. has issued a press note on GST applicability on RWAs. You can read the press release here – http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=167386

GST needs to be levied only if monthly maintenance per member crosses Rs. 5,000/- and annual collection is more than 20 Lakhs. This blog post is updated accordingly.

ApnaComplex strongly recommends Housing Societies to talk to their respective auditors and get professional advice to understand the actual impact for your Society and if you need to register for GST. 


**Visit GST Section on ApnaComplex Help site to see answers to various frequently asked questions on GST**


Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to consult appropriate professional advisers to understand the actual impact for your society. We are not responsible for any actions or non-actions that are done by you based on the information present in this article or any other article on this blog.


Goods and Services Tax - Real Estate - ApnaComplex

Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Society and Real Estate

Basic Introduction of GST and its Perspective as a Contractor and a Developer
GST (Goods and Services Tax) is one indirect tax for the whole nation, which is meant to be a unified indirect tax across the country on construction services and will make India one unified common market. The present structure of Indirect Taxes is very complex in India. There are so many types of taxes that are levied by the Central and State Governments on Goods & Services. It has been long pending issue to streamline and subsume all the different types of indirect taxes and implement a “single taxation” system called “GST”.

Implementing the GST will ease the compliance, uniform the tax rates and structures, remove the cascading effect of taxes levied by States & Centre, will improve the business competitiveness and will benefit everyone doing trade in some or the other form whether as a contractor or as a developer.

In the current system in India, tax is levied at each stage separately, by the Centre and the State, at varying rates i.e. 10.5% / 6% / 4.5% for service tax and different rates by different States, on the value of construction services. But under the GST system that is set to be introduced, tax will be levied only on the value added at each stage by the sub‐contractors, main contractors and developers or builders. It is a single tax collected at multiple value additions with a full set‐off for taxes paid earlier in the value chain by sub‐contractors and main contractors. It is pertinent to note that the inter credit of different taxes paid in the current regime be a service tax, VAT, CST, etc. to Centre or States are not allowed and thus becomes a part of the cost on the suppliers. Thus, under GST the final buyer / client will bear only the GST charged by the last person i.e. developer or builder or the contractor.

Structure of GST in India

In India, a dual GST is proposed whereby a Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and a State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) will be levied on the taxable value of every transaction of supply of goods and services.

The Dual GST is expected to be a simple and transparent tax with one or two CGST and SGST rates. The structure of the model law comprises of CGST Act, SGST Act and IGST Act. The dual GST model would give adequate flexibility to the States to levy taxes on a comprehensive base of goods and services at all points in the supply chain. Thus, financial liberty of the States would be maintained. GST is a consumption based tax. It is based on the “Destination principle”. GST is applied on goods and services at the place where actual consumption materializes.

GST on Co-operative Housing Societies

The Centre and the States would have parallel jurisdiction for the entire value chain and for all taxpayers. The administration of GST under the three components will be as under:

  • Central GST (CGST) – to be levied on intra state trade and administered by the Centre
  • State GST (SGST) – to be levied on intra state trade and administered by the State Governments
  • Inter‐State GST (IGST) – to be levied on inter‐State trade and administered and collected by the Centre.

To the extent feasible, uniform procedure for collection of both Central GST and State GST is prescribed in the respective legislation for Central GST and State GST.

It can be noted that IGST will not be a Tax in addition to the SGST and CGST so one should not presume that IGST is a third tax but it is only a mechanism to monitor the interstate trade of Goods and services and further to ensure that the ultimate SGST is gone to the consumer state since the GST is a destination based tax.

Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Society as well as Real Estate Sector
Implementation of the GST law will have a positive impact on the Co-operative Housing Society and on the real estate sector with expected reduction in its tax burden. The law will single‐handedly solve many of the challenges faced by the real estate sector. Heavy taxes that are being borne in a non‐transparent manner are expected to be very transparent in GST. It is unclear what would be the rate of GST applicable on construction services, hence it would be difficult to confirm the exact impact on GST on the Co-operative Housing Society. However going by the informal discussion, it is learnt that the rate is expected to be something between 18‐20%, which is what the current rate directly and indirectly being borne by the construction sector. Besides the simplicity in taxation, GST would bring in other advantages like transparency, seamless credits, ease of business by lack of border controls, promoting economic efficiency through a destination based taxation system. Overall Construction costs would be reduced to some extent which would benefit the end consumer. Apart from the advantages, the complexities in the compliance and assessments shall also be greatly reduced as the tax laws would also be unified.

There would be lesser burden of tax on purchases of major inputs like cement and steel, as tax credits would be available for set off at various stages which are currently restricted. The restrictions on credit utilization would be eliminated, thus strengthening the credit chain in the system. If this so happens, there will be increased credits available in the procurement chain and hence better utilization of input tax costs towards output GST Liability.

Since GST may be levied on a single value, the current issue of levying tax on tax (VAT on central excise duty) is likely to be removed. Hence the cascading effect of taxes shall be removed with the resulting transparency which will significantly reduce tax evasion through more efficient transaction‐tracking methods, and improved enforcement and compliance. Hence the implementation of GST will enhance the investment in Housing Societies & real estate sectors.

It is widely expected that GST would reduce the construction cost in the hands of developer and thereby aid in reducing or at least maintaining the current level of prices in the housing societies as well as in the real estate sector.


Five Quick Tips about Better Apartment Management

quick-tips-271x300 Apartment management is becoming one of the most challenging jobs, with growing sizes of apartment complexes in India. With most of the members offering a voluntary service to their apartment residents as a management committee member, the personal life of an individual gets quite affected in dealing with apartment maintenance issues.

At times it becomes difficult for new management committee members to understand which areas to concentrate on to offer their residents a superior experience of staying in the apartment.  Five quick tips for management committee members for better apartment management are: 

Automate Society Billing & AccountingFinancial matter often becomes a bone of contention between committee members. Accounting and book keeping, income and expense tracking, penalty calculation should be streamlined as soon as possible. Try to reduce your reconciliation efforts and try to 100% automate your billing and collection effort. The best option is to employ a software that incorporates tools such as Income Tracking, Penalty Calculation, Maintenance Charges Payment Reminders, Metered Utilities and Payment Gateway offering significant effort reduction without disturbing your current accounting practices and to help you in better apartment management.

Resolve Resident Complaints Efficiently – Resident complaint management is one of the toughest areas one has to deal with as a management committee member. Ensure you set up a system as soon as possible for central tracking of resident complaints, suggestions and requests. The whole process of residents filing a complaint and committee members resolving and closing the issue needs to be automated. Use a software that will help you track the complaints at various stages with an auto escalation mechanism to escalate unresolved complaints. This will increase the resident satisfaction and enhance their faith in the management committee.  

Communicate effectively with your Community – Effective communication with your community is very important. Use community collaboration tools to post notices and reach out to everyone, securely share photos of community events within the society, have healthy discussion on any topic via discussion forums, send important messages/emails to other committee members or residents. Create and publish articles like Policy on Pets, Waste Management Guidelines, Diwali Celebration Tips, and Monthly Newsletter for residents – the list is just endless. For better apartment management, it will be an intelligent move to use a software that offers the facility to use all these communication tools at one go and create a strong communication link with your community.

Manage Apartment Facilities & Staff Smartly – Residents often complaint about how the apartment facilities are not maintained well by maintenance staff etc. Save yourself from the pain of manually overlooking asset tracking, inventory management, parking lot management, maintenance staff and service staff management. Offer superior experience to residents by empowering them to book an apartment facility online! Maintain a central record of visitors visiting your apartment for security purposes. Managing and keeping a check on all the above mentioned areas is a herculean task. What you need is an apartment management software that does it all for you and help you manage all apartment facilities smartly.

Proficiently manage society data – Maintain directory of owners, residents and flats in your apartment in a systematic manner for reaching out to them easily. Maintain list of office bearers and committee members for communicating with them in an effective manner. Centralize all your society data in one place for your own convenience. Create an online presence for your complex and provide details such as amenities available, directions, location of the complex to visitors or interested parties outside the complex.

It’s time for you to move away from countless number of confusing spreadsheets and remember to become a management committee member you don’t need to learn about accounting and facility management anymore. A good apartment management software can do all that for you. What you need to focus on is creating an inclusive culture so that residents collaborate with you to manage your apartment in a better manner.

Don’t just be a complex, be a smart apartment complex. Get your Society on ApnaComplex.com – Today for free!


Online petition against high security deposits charged from tenants in Bengaluru

petitionLandlords demanding for a 10-months to 1-year security deposit from prospective tenants is quite a common norm in Bengaluru. This practice is often quite shocking for young professionals migrating from other cities to Bangalore since this trend is still not very prevalent in other major Indian cities.

Fresh college graduates who have just joined a job at times have no other option than to borrow money from friends and family. Even though the security deposit is quite exorbitant, most of the tenants have no other option than paying the same.

Rachelle Chandran from Bengaluru has filed an online petition in March protesting against the very high security deposits demanded by the landlords in Bengaluru. She has demanded for implementation of uniform rent law across Bengaluru for security deposits.

It’s a common practice to ask for a high security deposits from tenants and the full amount not being returned by landlords. The owner has the right to deduct security deposits by mentioning random maintenance costs. This is a highly unfair practice and the petition demands an answer to the same.

The petition mentions the Model Tenancy Act 2011, which recommends a set of rules “to balance the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants” with other clauses to protect the tenants’ interest. Another suggestion mentioned in the petition is to reprimand a landlord who charges security deposit 3 times in excess of monthly rent.

The petition also demands for a “fast-track rent tribunal” to solve the issues between landlords and tenants and the ability of tenants to file FIR against landlords in case of any money fraud.

About 3,000 people have already signed the petition and are voicing their anguish while supporting the petition.

Although the petition is a great initiative and if action taken, it will help the tenants and save them from depositing a large sum of money in the name of security deposit, another fact cannot be left unnoticed that the rights of the landlords also need to be protected while making new laws as there are also situations wherein tenants refuse to pay for maintenance charges or repair work that occur due to their negligence! The amends to the law needs to a balanced one, protecting the interest of both the landlord and the tenants.

Source: The News Minute

Don’t just be a complex, be a smart apartment complex. Get your Society on ApnaComplex.com – Today for free!


Habit #5: Effective management committees implement smart financial control

In this blog post, we are going to emphasize on the fifth habit of effective management committees of implementing smart financial control. Smart financial management is the key to success for any management committee. In our earlier blog post, we talked about Habit 4: How effective management committees are highly disciplined. Read more…

Pointers for the committee members to practice smart financial control:

Treasurers need to do more than just signing cheques – In most of the apartments, the role of a treasurer is restricted to signing cheques and issuing receipts. This is not the right practice. The role of a treasurer is a very important one and both the committee and treasurer has to understand that. As a treasurer, ensure you have a budget in place at the start of the financial year. There may be undue pressure on you from other committee members or residents to spend on various new initiatives but do stick to your budget. Always remember it’s easy to spend but more difficult to stick to the pre-decided budget and as a treasurer if you are able to do that, you are certainly doing a good job.

Do not approve ad-hoc expenses – Committee members or residents always come up with new initiatives and every new initiative has an additional cost attached to it. As committee members spend more time with each other, you develop a certain level of friendship and comfort with your co-committee members. The problem arises when you are not able to say “NO” to a co-committee member for an expense, which is out of your budget. As a treasurer, learn to say no to the ad-hoc expenses, which makes a hole in your budget. At times the treasurers need to be ruthless to spend their finances judiciously. For instance, in one of the apartments, one of the committee members suggested a sliding gate, which would have looked great and would have been easier to access, but the treasurer did not approve the budget for the same. Was it a good decision? Yes, because one needs to understand the difference between “feel good things” vs. “necessities”.

Set a strict approval process for payments – As a treasurer, it is both your duty and right to question each and every expense. Keep a strict check on the new expenses being incurred. Set your budget and set a process for slab approvals for fool proofing the system. Create a rule or mechanism for payments approvals, provide the same to the entire committee and ensure it is followed by the whole committee. Do not go easy on the slab approvals and try going around it. Ensure you yourself follow it for making the entire committee follow the same.

Publish monthly reports on budget variance – Show the same enthusiasm to calculate dues as well as expenses. Most of committee treasurers show a lot of enthusiasm while calculating and collecting the dues or maintenance charges from residents. However, when it comes to calculating the expenses or the budget overflow, one loses enthusiasm and the budget variance calculation is always delayed. Ensure budget variance report is published in a timely manner on a monthly basis. Also, publish the report on how much was the overflow every month. This will help you analyse where exactly did you go wrong and will help you and the committee balance it out the next month itself. Otherwise, at the year end audit, one can only realize the mistake of overspending but will have no time to correct it.

Committees and especially treasurers need to understand that the resident welfare cannot be achieved by overspending on “feel good” things instead spend the resident money carefully and judiciously on the necessities and try to achieve small objectives, which are in-sync with your pre-decided budget. This will lead to a higher level of resident satisfaction.

Do you think the management committee in your apartment complex practices smart financial control? Do let us know by commenting on our blog. Log onto www.apnacomplex.com regularly for the post on next habit of effective management committees.