Category: News & Trends

Is the real estate bill really needed in India?

Real Estate BillThe Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill had become the need of the hour. The government realized the fact that buyer expectations were not being met by the developer community. Issues such as not getting refund after cancellations, project specifications change, and delay in apartment delivery were being faced by consumers on a day-to-day basis.

The real estate industry is one industry that has been operated in a biased manner towards the developer community. With the bill coming in place, developers will cooperate and start working within a framework conducive to both developers and buyers. The bill is supposed to make the entire transaction more transparent and fair.

What all does the real estate bill cover for increased transparency?

  • Every state needs to set up a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
  • Property developers will be required to upload project details such as site as well as layout plan to authority’s website.
  • Without registering with the RERA, a builder cannot sell apartments in a project.
  • No structural changes can be made to the project plan without the consent of two-thirds of the buyer, which bring design-discipline in builders.
  • About 50% of buyer’s money is expected to be kept in an escrow account to be used only for project construction, ensuring developers don’t divert fund from one project to another.
  • A clause of “right to claim refund with an interest” has been introduced in the bill in case of failure of project delivery. This clause is expected to act as a deterrent for to cancellations and delay in projects.

A very positive point about the real estate bill is that even buyers are expected to perform their obligations as enumerated in the buyer agreement.

The reason why real estate bill was really needed was that some builders have brought disrepute to the entire real estate industry. As a result, the honest developers also get categorized in the segment of developers who don’t abide by laws and still continue to sell property to customers. The bill is expected to eliminate the black sheep of real estate industry.

The central regulation will attract the right set of real estate players. The developers will be expected to abide by laws and the ones who don’t abide by the same will not survive.

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Source: ForbesIndia


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

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How can the RWAs stop the increasing commercial establishments in residential areas?

stopQuite often it is noticed that there is burgeoning growth of commercial establishments in residential areas. More commercial establishments in a residential area results in residents getting disturbed day and night due to the commercial activities and hustle bustle happening in that area. How are the area RWAs across the country tackling with this issue?

Panduranganagar RWA has been complaining to BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) for a very long time about the growth of commercial establishments in residential areas. However, BBMP chose to turn a blind eye towards this issue and the existence of about 34 commercial establishments in residential areas operating without trade licenses.

Even though the RWA has now moved to the high court, BBMP officials have failed to initiate action against the illegal establishments. Panduranganagar had complained several times to cognisance of the matter, the residents worked on their own making use of RTI and found that as many as 34 commercial establishments in their locality were functioning without trade licences.

The layout was initially formed by the Bank Officers Housing Cooperative Society in BTM Layout limits after approval by the town planning authority. In 2004, the BDA declared the layout as residential in nature. To promote and preserve the beauty, decorum and infrastructure of the layout, activities such as construction of unauthorized multistoried flats or apartments and commercial buildings was prohibited.

In 2015, the layout was also classified as Residential (Mixed) as per the revised master plan. Yet, the area has been witnessing burgeoning commercial activities with several establishments including IT companies, Ayurveda clinics, fitness centres, hotels and schools popping up within the jurisdiction of the layout.

A couple of years ago, a commercial establishment running as a marriage hall in the area was shut down after residents complained to BBMP. But the same building has now been converted into a lodge with bar attached!

The RWA has been complaining for past 4 years but the BBMP had been paying no heed to their woes. Panduranganagar RWA has set an example for all other RWAs by taking the right decision to move to the high court. Other RWAs need to buckle up and start following their example.

Source: Bangalore Mirror


Should approval from area RWA become mandatory for running a PG?

pgIs an illegal PG (paying guest accommodation) being run in your neighbourhood? How many times do you get disturbed with the boisterous crowd staying in the PG and making a ruckus in your neighbourhood?

Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has decided to regulate the entire practice of running illegal PGs in the city. In fact, GMADA has made it mandatory for the PG owner to obtain a NOC (no-objection certificate) from the area RWA (Resident Welfare Association).

Moreover, in case of absence of any registered RWA in a particular area, NOC needs to be obtained from the immediate neighbours.

Currently, there are about 600 PG accommodations being run in Mohali. Out of 600 PG accommodations, only 7 PG accommodations have been registered. The 7 registered accommodations would also have to get their registrations renewed.

Moreover, as per the new notification, it is mandatory to take permission from GMADA to set up a PG in a particular area. In addition, people planning to commence a PG will need to pay Rs. 10,000 as a processing fee to acquire a 3-year licence to run a PG. As a result, the permission will have to be renewed in every 3 years. A list of authorised applicants will be put up on GMADA’s website, and only these will be allowed to operate PGs.

The owner should be using a part of the PG accommodation and the area of the house cannot be less than 7.5 marla if it is to be used as a PG accommodation. Unauthorized construction should not take place after completion certificate and the residential accommodation needs to be sanctioned as per building bye laws.

The PG owners will have to furnish a list of those living in the PG along with the tariff plan. Officials from GMADA can conduct inspections anytime at the accommodation.

Furthermore, as per the amended policy, even the guardians or parents will be held accountable for any unruly behaviour of the PG occupants.

The notification warns the occupants against indulging in any disorderly activities leading to breach of peace, disruptions in the civil and social atmosphere, or affecting the rights of the other residents of the locality, failing which police action can be initiated and the registration of the PG can also be cancelled.

Is this a good trend to be followed in all major cities in India?

Source: Hindustan Times 


Real Estate Bill Ready for Cabinet Nod

RealEstateBillThe NDA government led by BJP is now all set to push the real estate bill to curb black money circulation in the real estate sector. The bill also talks about commencing a buyer grievance redressal system.

The government wants to make the sector consumer friendly for the middle class by making the real estate transactions more transparent and ensuring that this particular sector does not cater only to the rich.

As per government sources, Narendra Modi seems to be keen on the real estate bill expedition since it will protect the consumers from the dubious players in the real estate market.

In December 2014, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill had come up in the cabinet, but was deferred. Presently, a new cabinet note is ready for government’s approval.

Housing and Urban Poverty alleviation, the nodal ministry has removed the bar on buyers approaching consumer forum in case of any dispute. By addressing concerns over project completion timeline, redressal and funding transparency, the bill aims to help genuine buyers.

Under the new government, the ministry, after discussions with stakeholders, sent a note for the Union Cabinet’s approval in December. The Modi government amended the UPA bill to cover commercial properties. The earlier bill covered only residential real estate. The government also snipped the quantum of receivables from buyers that have to be kept in escrow account for other ventures from 70 per cent to 50 per cent, to ensure that consumers’ money was not diverted to other projects before delivering the earlier ones.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had also expressed concern over the delay in setting up a real estate regulator to keep a check on activities of realtors.

Source: Hindustan Times 


Should maintenance of public parks be handed over to respective area RWAs?

Public ParkIn Delhi, there are quite a few pubic parks where one can get some fresh air and relax in the morning and evening time. However, out of around 6400 parks, most of them are in a sorry state. Recently, the public parks have started being misused for personal use.

Parks in Delhi, which were essentially created to be used by old people for relaxing and children for playing are now being used for marriages and other functions. This not only restricts the general public from using the park facilities but also degrades the park facilities. It has often been noticed that once the functions gets over, tonnes of waste are left behind leaving the public park in an unhygienic condition.

The law does not allow public parks to be used for personal functions such as marriages etc. In 2009, after an NGO had filed a complaint against Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority claiming that both were allowing park misuse for personal functions, Delhi High Court had issued strict instructions to both the bodies from allowing any social gathering events in a public park. However, the judgement has been ignored very comfortably and in the peak marriage season, it’s very common to spot marriages etc. being conducted in a public park. No concrete action has been taken as yet to prohibit this practice.

Another major misuse of the public parks is done by people with pets. People with pets use the public park as an execratory ground for their pets. It’s quite a common to see pet owners with their dogs in such parks. Unlike the West, in India, no one is under the compulsion to clean up the mess. As a result, the public park is polluted making it unfit for the local residents and small kids to use the same.

In many areas, parks are not well maintained. It is more of halting place for cattle and stray dogs. In quite a few parks, one can see anti-social elements gambling and drinking in broad daylight obviously making it impossible for a common man to relax and get some fresh air in the public park. All this is a result of utter negligence of the authorities.

The most effective way of ensuring the maintenance of such public parks is increasing greater citizen participation. Handing over the maintenance of public parks to the respective Resident Welfare Association (RWA) of that particular area is an idea that can be mooted upon. Resident welfare associations are active bodies that keep their area/apartments clean for their residents and are always interested in the welfare of the residents. If the responsibility of maintaining the public parks are handed over to respective RWAs, it will be an interesting change to witness in Delhi/NCR wherein the public parks will start being used by the nearby residents for relaxing rather than people with vested interests turning the public park into a marriage community hall.

Source: New Delhi Times 


Habit #7: Effective management committees always cooperate

CooperateIn this blog post, we are going to emphasize on the seventh and last habit of highly effective management committees to always cooperate with each other. Effective management committees understands change is natural and no one can hold a position forever and hence, move on and give a smooth handover to the next person taking over. In our earlier blog post, we talked about Habit 6: How effective management committees create an inclusive culture. Read more…

Pointers for committee members to always cooperate with each other:

Do not cling on to the committee post – Management committee members when get elected need to understand and prepare themselves that no one can hold a particular position in the committee forever. Elections will be held every year and one has to step down for the new members. Don’t cling to your committee posts. Honestly, it never helps!

Understand change is natural – Change is a natural process. As Socrates said – “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” While stepping down from the committee or moving to a new role, always cooperate with other committee members. Do not try to take revenge from a resident or a committee member who opposed you in your earlier term. Understand all the discussions happen for well-being of the apartment residents.

Give a smooth handover – A smooth and systematic handover or transition is very important for the apartment operations to go on smoothly. Old committee members should ensure that new committee members are given a proper handover so that they can operate smoothly after the transition. It is your duty and responsibility to give a smooth handover to the new committee members.

Extensively support as an ordinary resident – After you step down from the committee, do not part your ways from the new committee members. You can still extend support, give suggestion/advice to the new committee members. Become a part of the sub-committee or the task force and help out the new members. Do not sabotage against them with other residents. It will really bring their morale down!

Try to help out and cooperate with the new committee members as much as you can and create a healthy environment for both the committee and the residents in an apartment. 

Do the management committee members in your apartment complex always cooperate with each other? Do let us know by commenting on our blog. You can find blogs on all the seven habits of highly effective management committees on www.apnacomplex.com


Habit #6: Effective management committees create an inclusive culture

Inclusive CultureIn this blog post, we are going to emphasize on the sixth habit of effective management committees to create an inclusive culture. Effective management committees believe and create an inclusive culture so that the residents also pitch in for the welfare of the apartment. In our earlier blog post, we talked about Habit 5: How effective management committees implement smart financial control. Read more…

Pointers for the committee members to create an inclusive culture:

Co-opt Members: The present committee members have the option to co-opt or choose additional members for the board. More members in the committee would imply more hands to work for the welfare of the residents. Residents once given a designation and authority as a member of the committee would be more willing to contribute their time and energy for the betterment of the apartment.

Create Sub-Committees: The management committee takes all decisions and executes the same for all functions. However, the work done may become faster if the management committee creates a sub-committee with a small group of people who will be assigned to focus on a particular function such as finance or vendor management. The sub-committee can make recommendations to the management committee and the final decision can be taken by them.

Create Task Forces: Communicating to the residents that the management committee needs help in a certain task is very important. Don’t feel ashamed to ask help from residents. Someone or the other will always be ready to volunteer. Create a task force with residents willing to help and execute your plan. For instance, if the management committee wants to implement waste segregation methods from the next month in the apartment, create a task force who would educate people about the do’s and don’ts and ensure it gets implemented.

Events: An effective management committee always ensures that it conducts events wherein residents and committee members mingle and exchange thoughts. It’s a great platform wherein the committee members can meet residents and let them informally know what all the committee is planning for the welfare of the apartment. Conducting events is a great way to stay connected to the residents.

Create opportunities for residents to bond:   An effective committee will always create a culture that helps residents bond with each other. The committee can create sub-committees, task forces, and conduct events for residents to bond. Using social media is always a great way to connect with residents and the residents to bond with each other. Posting cultural events photos, creating forums for discussions, posting interesting blogs all helps the residents to bond with each other.

A committee cannot be effective until and unless the residents support them. Don’t work in silos! Create an inclusive culture and collaborate with the residents to reach your goals.

Do you think the management committee in your apartment complex creates an inclusive culture by asking help from residents? 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.


What are the factors that influence property valuation in India?

Property Valuation Over time, property investments offer handsome returns but the initial investment is always heavy on the pocket. Before buying the property, one should try to evaluate a property in every possible way. Always try to look at the appreciation rate of the property after given number of years. Let’s have a look what are the factors that affect the appreciation rate or the property valuation in India:

Location – Location is the prime factor that affects the property valuation rate in India. Properties based in commercial areas seem to have a higher appreciation rate in comparison to properties located in residential areas. If your property is close to a major IT hub, it is obvious that the rentals, demand and price for your property goes up since people working close by will have the desperate need to always rent or buy the property.

Properties located in the heart of the city surrounded with good infrastructure, schools, hospitals, markets, malls are more expensive than the properties in upcoming and under developed areas. Where would you like to invest and what seems to give you double returns is something you need to ponder upon. Talk to local property dealers, developers from a very developed part of the city and an upcoming area. Compare the property appreciation rate trend in both areas and then make a decision.

Connectivity – Connectivity is another major reason that affect the property valuation in India. Good infrastructure such as airport, metro, flyovers and roads, if are in near proximity to your property, you can expect your property rate to appreciate. When planning to buy properties in under developed areas of the city, always research about the nearby infrastructure that is yet to be built. If you invest in an under developed area, which has some great infrastructure plans in next five years, you may be looking at a whopping rate of appreciation for your property.

Construction Quality – The quality of construction to build a particular property is very important in valuation of a property. The material, design, layout, architecture and the longevity of a building all add to the valuation of a property. Buying a property from a known and reputed builder like Sobha, Lodha, Prestige, DLF who are known for their construction quality will always lead to a higher appreciation rate for your property. In case, you are buying property from one of the local builders, be very sure about it since you don’t want to spend on repairing etc. due to low quality of construction leading to a depreciation in your property rate. Look at some of their prior projects, talk to buyers, take feedback and then take a decision.

Amenities – Presently, common amenities such as pool, gym, parking, garden area and community centre all add value to your property. The urban buyers don’t just look at square feet area of the house anymore, they also want amenities, which makes their life convenient and comfortable. A property coupled with amenities will obviously appreciate more than a just a regular property with no amenities. If you are looking at a property to live in yourself, obviously amenities become an essential but in case you are just looking for a second investment in property, you may want to forego the amenities if the infrastructure next to your property is superb.

Interiors and customization – Good interiors like high quality wood work, top quality bathroom fittings, superior quality paint and top–end flooring etc. add value to your property. Some customers modify their regular kitchens into modular kitchens, a closed living room is customized into an open living room cum dining space, which obviously appreciates the value of the property. The properties with customized rooms or modern fittings obviously appreciate at a higher rate than the regular properties.

Evaluate all the above mentioned factors and then take your property investment decision; after all it’s your hard earned money and you don’t want to just give it away like that.

Best of luck!