Habit #1: Highly Effective Management Committees Always Work as a Team

Team Of 8 Blue People Holding Up Connected Pieces To A Colorful Puzzle That Spells Out "Team," Symbolizing Excellent Teamwork, Success And Link Exchanging Clipart Illustration GraphicIn this blog post, we are going to talk about the first habit of highly effective management committees to always work as a team. It is very important for each and every member of the management committee to understand that they need to work as a team for the welfare of the apartment residents.

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Habit #1: Always works as a Team

Pointers that the committee members need to keep in mind to work as team:

Entire committee should be aligned in one direction: All committee members should work towards one particular goal rather than each and every individual trying to attain his personal goal. When every committee member tries to attain his/her personal goal, confrontations arise. These situations that create rift among committee members should be avoided and all of them should work as a team and move towards one direction.

Don’t get involved in politics with residents: All committee members should ensure that they don’t get involved in any sort of politics with residents. Trying to convince residents for putting pressure on other committee members to get your bill passed is a strict no-no. Do not engage in negative discussions with residents about other committee members. This causes a negative impact on the team spirit altogether.

Don’t shift responsibility on others: Members of an effective management committee do not shift responsibility on others. They take responsibility and are accountable for whatever work has been assigned to them. Shifting responsibility or blaming each other never really helps out as the tasks are never completed on time and sooner or later residents start pointing out the loop holes in the entire operation system of the committee, which definitely is something a committee would not appreciate.

Collectively take a decision before implementing one: All decisions are taken collectively by an effective management committee before it is implemented. The decisions taken by management committees in silos are never successfully implemented. Each and every committee member should support the decision before it is implemented. The most common discussion topic among committee members is about fixing the apartment maintenance charge on the basis of per square feet or flat rate. One’s personal preference can be the flat rate but if the majority of the committee members go with per square feet rate, one should go with the flow. One needs to put his personal preference behind and support the committee to successfully implement their decision.

Keep all committee members informed: Effective management committee members always keep each other informed. This helps in reducing confusions and confrontations. Keeping each other informed about meetings, decisions etc. creates a good team spirit and improves the overall motivation level of the committee members.

Don’t sabotage against other committee members: Do not sabotage against any one committee members or the decision taken by the committee on the whole. Effective committees always remember that they are a part of a team and sabotaging other decisions or against any other committee member will never do any good but only make the committee fall apart and ineffective.

On the whole, one should always work as a team towards one goal to become an effective managing committee.

Do let us know your views on this. Log onto www.apnacomplex.com regularly for the post on the next habit of effective management committees.


Should Service Tax be collected from Members of Apartment Association?

Apartment Associations are liable to pay service tax to Government of India when one or more members of the association has contributed more than Rs. 5,000/- per month to the association (refer this post for clarity). As per the law, the liability is on the Society to remit service tax – irrespective of the society collecting the same from members.

The society has couple of options to take to pay the service tax to the government:

Option-1: Service Tax is a destination based tax – means the service tax can passed to the members in question directly, collected and then paid. In societies where the contribution is same by all members or in societies where every member is contributing more than Rs. 5,000/- there is usually no issue in collecting the same from all members and remitting the same to government. However, in quite a few apartment complexes, there is a situation where there are only few members who cross the Rs. 5,000/- per month limit. This means that these few members will have to pay significantly higher charges than the rest and it can create disharmony in the society. There will be pressure on the executive committee to review the total charges collected to keep it below Rs. 5,000/- so that few members do not end up paying significantly high rates.

Option-2: Do not to collect the service tax from the members – but compute the service tax to be remitted to Government on cum-tax basis and remit the same. For example, if there are 10 members who are paying Rs. 6,000/- per month – then the service tax to be paid can be calculated on Rs. 60,000 (total contribution by service tax eligible members). The tax to be paid would be 60000 * 12.36/112.36 = 6600/-. This is a much preferred option for cases where only few flats are to pay service tax. The society can remit this payment to Govt. Also, since society can claim cenvat credit on the service tax to be paid this approach would ensure there is no additional burden on few members of the society.


Legally Compliant Online Payments for Housing Societies and Apartment Owners Associations

Background: Housing Societies and need for Payment Gateway

Housing societies, welfare associations and folks managing multi-tenancy buildings/ complexes keep collecting recurring dues from the members. Members usually pay their dues through Cheques, and these days transfer money through NEFT to the Society Bank Account. Non-resident owners also use one of these modes to pay their dues. However, keeping of track of payments from several members, validating the bank transfers, accurately issuing receipts is a big issue for the treasurers and accountants and the amount of money that lies in “Suspense” account head keeps increasing as mapping the payment received to the correct flat is quite time consuming. This triggers a chain of issues – complaints from members of not getting receipts, unable to accurately impose late payment charges properly, accurate defaulters reports and so on.

Advantages of an Online payment system where members can pay their maintenance dues and get an instant receipt from the are now obvious – in addition to getting money securely into the bank, treasurers/accountants can heave a sigh of relief due to tremendous savings in the reconciliation efforts and other issues mentioned earlier!

As everyone is aware – ApnaComplex offers a Payment Gateway module using which members of Housing Societies can pay their dues online and avoid all the reconciliation problems mentioned above.

A word of caution: Integrating with Payment Gateways and offering such a solution needs to be thorough, requires lots of due diligence to ensure safety of the money and comply with all relevant regulations. There have been providers in the market offering solutions for Housing Societies that were not fully legally compliant and were forced to change their solution. This has created a dent in the confidence of Housing Societies to go fully online. With the vast industry experience the founding team brings to the table, trust ApnaComplex to not offer services hastily without appropriate due diligence.

The online payment gateway platform offered by ApnaComplex is a reputed Payment Gateway operating in India since past 7 years and is compliant with PCI, ISO 27001 & RBI norms, whereby funds are settled directly to existing bank account of the society, via trusted banks in India for your society’s members to transact online with confidence.

Here is the detailed explanation on the online payment gateway integration in ApnaComplex.com that can clarify various questions we keep receiving from our prospects and customers. ApnaComplex is an alliance partner for one of the leading payment gateways in India who enables the online payment platform for Housing Societies.

Enabling Payment Gateway for a Society

As a first step, like any other business that collects money, the Housing Society or the RWA which is going to collect the funds electronically shall be setup with the Payment Gateway as a “Biller” (also referred as Merchant in Online Payments terminology). For this, the Society / RWA has to submit legal documentation related to AGM resolution authorizing the association to be a biller and other KYC documents. Once verification and scrutiny of the documents is done, the Payment Gateway shall register the Society/RWA as a ‘Biller/Merchant’. This entire process is co-ordinated by ApnaComplex.com with the society. Upon successful verification and merchant registration, merchant details are provided to the society by the Payment Gateway. The same merchant details shall be updated in the ApnaComplex portal, and the online payment facility is turned on for the society’s portal hosted on ApnaComplex.

Making a payment using Payment Gateway

  • A members logs into ApnaComplex.com and selects to make a payment using Payment Gateway.
  • ApnaComplex redirects the user to Payment Gateway along with the Merchant details of that society.
  • Member enters amount to be paid, and other credit card / net-banking details on the Payment Gateways’ pages and completes the transaction
  • The funds flow from the members account/credit card to the account of the Payment Gateway. This is an RBI monitored bank account.
  • Upon successful payment, the payment gateway redirects the member to ApnaComplex portal’s payment confirmation screen along with the amount paid
  • ApnaComplex mails a PDF receipt to the member and also updates the member’s ledgers and other accounts to reflect the payment
  • The payment gateway transfers the money to Society’s Bank Account directly.
  • It is important to note that the money paid by member NEVER comes to an account which is related to ApnaComplex.com in any way. The funds flow from the Member’s Account to the Society’s Bank Account using RBI approved and monitored channels – thus making this a fully legally compliant mechanism for making online payments.
Online payment process in ApnaComplex

Online payment process in ApnaComplex

Other options we had

Another way of offering the payment gateway to housing societies would have been to become payment aggregator ourselves. We have decided against that as that would deviate us from our core business and made us a electronic payments organization. Instead, we chose to partner with a well established and respected payment gateway player as it offers the following advantages:

  • Proven Technology Stack – No need to Re-invent the Wheel: The complete technology stack that processes your funds is used by thousands and thousands of merchants daily (including some of the leading e-commerce sites in India) and is owned by an organization which provides payment gateway functionality in around 50 countries around the world.
  • Fraud Detection: The complete system of managing the funds and getting them transferred is done by a leader in this area with sophisticated tools for fraud detection and risk management.
  • Easy Compliance: As the payment gateway is one of the leaders in the space, they keep their systems updated as per RBI guidelines that can change from time to time.
  • No Additional Benefit: There is no additional benefit that we can offer to our customers by we becoming a payment aggregator ourselves. Instead that exposes them to greater risk due of non-complaince and fraud due as mentioned in earlier points.

We have always valued legal compliance over business and are glad that we are providing the users of ApnaComplex.com an effective, compliant and with leading edge technology. If you have more questions, please feel free to Contact Us with your queries.


Does Bangalore face a Waterless Future? – Part-1

ApnaComplex presents thoughts of Mr. S.S.Ranganathan, a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based out of Bangalore, on the Water Crisis looming in the City of Bangalore and the solutions that can adopted, especially by the Gated Communities.

Below is part-1 in the series of 3 parts of the thoughts.

Does Bangalore Face a Waterless Future?

There is a distinct possibility of this becoming a reality in a few years. In early 2010, I happened to see the front page of the Deccan Herald dated 27th March with the Headline “City may become unliveable in 5 years” (reference to the article) which appears to have been prompted by the elections to the BBMP which were about to take place the next day. The article was based on the Study by Indian Institue of Sciences’ Energy & Wetland group at the Centre for Ecological Sciences. Take a good look at what this study says under the heading “Ecological Degradation”. The statistics are mind boggling and, for someone like me, entirely realistic, I believe Bangalore does indeed face a waterless future, and, the worst affected will be the residents of apartment complexes and gated communities.

The number of calls I get from Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) has increased substantially over the last one year. In almost every case the Association has either bore wells with drastic reduction in water yield or which have gone dry. All of them have been forced to switch over to water supplies from water tanker operators, and, they are finding that the monthly water expenses of each family are as high as Rs.2000/- to 2500/- per month!

Worse still, after paying such high prices for water, they can not be sure of the quality of the water they are getting nor the quantity. Summer is here now and water demand will soar to dizzy heights. The result will be steady increases in the cost of water supplied by tankers. I am just re-stating what is reported frequently in newspapers and magazines, the water table in and around Bangalore has dropped drastically and will even turn the tanker operators’ wells dry.

Why are we in such a precarious Position?

In the year 1946, the water table in many parts of Karnataka and in Bangalore was just 8 metres below the surface. Today, practically all bore wells drilled are forced to go down to depths of 400 to 500 metres to find water in insignificant quantities. More often than not, bore well drillers find no water even after they reach these depths. Water pumped from such depths contains very high levels of minerals (known as total dissolved solids, i.e., TDS). These levels are beyond the acceptable limits as laid down in BIS-10500 which is the Indian Standard for drinking water. The cost of purifying this kind of water would be prohibitive. Add to this the electricity required to pump water from such great depths. The power consumption would be so high as to make the whole exercise economically unviable.

Bangalore is developing at a phenomenal rate and this means that population growth & built up area is increasing as rapidly and thereby preventing rain water from percolating down in to the ground to re-charge the water table. At the same time daily water demand is rising fast. A few years ago I had seen a report in the Newspapers about a study made by the Ministry of Water Resources that showed that 7 states in the country had exploited their water resources to a point of no return and Karnataka is one of them.

What can be done to improve the situation?

Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) is one thing that the entire area covered by the BBMP needs to put in place without further delay. The concerned authorities have done very little to make this happen, and, the government too is to blame for not having made RWH mandatory with severe penalties for not implementing RWH. Chennai and the whole state of Tamil Nadu had to implement RWH state wide or face severe penalties. This was the dicktat of the then Chief Minister and this has helped the state and very definitely the city of Chennai. Since it happens to be my home town and I visit it very often, I know that the water table is rising steadily. In 2009, after the rains, it had risen by as much as 5 metres, quite the opposite of Bangalore! I have seen wells where the static depth of water has risen and what is more, the quality of water has improved in many parts of Chennai and is now drinkable with just filtration or boiling to make it safe.

I believe our state Chief minister needs to emulate the former CM of Tamil Nadu and make it happen. I have been approached last year by many Resident Welfare Associations to help them implement RWH. Once they received proposals for installing RWH, they back off saying that it was too expensive. Little do they realize that when they have only tanker water left as a source, it will be so expensive that the cost of installing RWH will seem trivial in comparison. Tanker supplies will get costlier steadily as the water available for Bangalore becomes scarce.

In such a situation, I can only point out that the best thing to do is REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. There is simply no other option since there is simply not enough ground water that can be used, nor can we hope for extra water from the Cauvery since the quota of water awarded to Karnataka which included a specific volume of water for Bangalore which is being utilized fully. There is just no water to spare.

To be continued in Part-2 and Part-3.

About the author
S S RanganathanMr. S.S. Ranganathan, author of this series of guest posts, is a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based in Bangalore. His blog at “India Water Portal” explains the work he does in detail. He can be reached at +91-93437-34229.


This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely of Mr. S. S. Ranganathan and NOT of ApnaComplex or its representatives. We suggest to post your queries or comments below and Mr. Rangathan can answer them at his convenience.

Tips on Bringing all Residents Together in an Apartment Complex

Now-a-days, apartment residents in big cities often come from various regional backgrounds; flats are occupied by a diverse group of people ranging from students, bachelors, and single women, to families and old couples. Most of the residents live their own lives, and are cut off from each other. Due to the modern demands and stressful lifestyles, they become used to living a very isolated life.

The true charm of living in an apartment complex or gated community is the safety and security that comes from shared living. True community living does not mean simply paying the maintenance fees and attending some of the association meetings. Rather, it means that all the residents know each other and get to become friends. Once all the residents know each other and become close, the apartment community can become a source of social and emotional support for all the residents.

Here’s what the apartment association can do to foster a team spirit amongst the residents:

Monthly get-together in the club house

While the Association meetings and general meetings are a common ground where residents meet, it is more of a formal business meeting than a social occasion. The apartment association can organize a party once a month in the club house or the terrace. This can include fun activities like an open dance floor, card games, and introductory sessions where people can open up and get to know each other. To make the event more interesting, one can have pot-luck dinner, where every flat resident makes one dish and gets it for the party. 

Common decision making

The apartment association can use a common forum such as an online discussion group and email groups to send the minutes of the meetings to all the residents. Topics, that involve the whole apartment, can be put up for discussion. Through such means, all the residents will be able to add inputs and have a say on matters related to the apartment. Thus, they will be more interested in the apartment related activities.

Celebrating Birthdays

The apartment association can have a small booklet with the phone numbers and birthdays of all the flat residents. They can circulate this so that people can be in touch with each other via SMS or phone calls. Birthday of each resident can be celebrated in the apartment clubhouse with simple cake cutting and wishing the concerned person. This will generate a feeling of togetherness and bonding.

Celebrating festivals together

In India, festivals are the high points of social life every year. A gated community is usually a secular ground, so the apartment association can organize common celebrations of important festivals and occasions such as Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Id, and New Year. Prior to the event. All the residents should be involved in the planning and organizing of the event. This will also act as an occasion for people to do things together, such as buying the decorations, delegating tasks etc.

Having an apartment quarterly newsletter

An interesting idea that the association can use to encourage people to become friendly is to form a small editorial committee. It is a good idea to ask people with a literary bent of mind to take part in this. Every three months, one can print a newsletter, which can include:

  • Articles and poems written by the residents
  • Significant events such as birth of a child, a promotion etc.
  • Brief description and photographs of common celebrations
  • A children’s section with artwork

Having an apartment hobby club

After a long day’s work, most people want to unwind by doing something relaxing. The apartment association can use the recreation room to conduct hobby clubs depending on the common interest of the residents. It can be anything from a book club, to forming a band, having sangeet nights, sports activities or even screening movies. While these activities might require initial investments, it is a great way for people to enjoy themselves in a group.

The apartment association members need to remember that most people like to do things without compulsion, so instead of making such activities compulsory it should be left to the free will of the residents. Only when the residents respect each other’s space and rights, can they come together to build a strong friendship.


ApnaComplex is an apartment managment software. We are offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.

Roles, Duties And Responsibilities Of Members Of A Resident Welfare Association

A resident welfare association is necessary, as it can serve as a committee through which queries can be explained, and issues and problems solved. The presence of a committee or resident welfare association will also spice up interaction among residents and get them to contribute equally from their part. Such open social interaction will improve the joy of living in an apartment complex.

A resident welfare association, however, needs to be registered under the government for it to be recognized as a proper association. A registered resident welfare association will this way be able to enjoy many legal benefits. While forming a registered resident welfare association, make sure that you have more than seven members who are at least eighteen (or above) years of age. This is very important.

Every Individual Has A Role in an Apartment Association

Every Individual Has A Role in an Apartment Association

 

The primary objective of every resident welfare association would be to collect the common maintenance charges from every single resident in the apartment and use this in establishing good public infrastructure for the residents. An association will normally have to be formed under The Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act of 1972 or
The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 (and appropriate act for states other than Karnataka).

Every resident welfare association will have a management committee, a president, a treasurer and a secretary, apart from the regular members. There are many common responsibilities that members of the association should take up among themselves, and some of these have been mentioned below (we will cover other roles in future blog posts):

The President’s Role:

  • The President will be given the authority to defend any form of legal action that is taken against the association, and will also be given the authority to sue people for legal purposes and reasons.
  • The President of a resident welfare association will have the final call in approving a contract that is brought by the committee and implementing the terms.
  • The President should maintain an overall view on the occurrences and ensure that all residents and members are satisfied without having any qualms or problems. The President should also oversee all expenses and make sure that they are put to good use.

The Treasurer’s Role:

  • The Treasurer in a resident welfare association will be given the task of maintaining all funds within the organization. The responsibility of maintaining the money safely along with all documents also rests solely with the Treasurer.
  • The Treasurer’s role is a demanding one and should be bestowed upon an experienced person with good management capabilities, as these documents and funds are very important for the association.
  • The Treasurer should also make note of the overall income and also calculate monthly and yearly expenditures. This way the flow of money will be constantly regulated for the benefit of the residents.

The Secretary’s Role:

  • The secretary in a resident welfare association will be given the responsibility of conducting various general body meetings.
  • The secretary will also be given the responsibility of compiling the minutes of the meeting and analyzing the overall information brought to the table.
  • The secretary will have to bring up concerns from each individual resident in order to ensure active participation of all members. 

These are the three major roles in any resident welfare association, and you’ll need to be aware of all such responsibilities involved, in order to contest for the spot yourself, or even in order to vote for the right person when the polls come up.

ApnaComplex supports the notion of committee members – administrators can tag members with different committee member roles and even give “permissions” to modules specific to thier roles. For example, a member can be tagged as a treasurer can be given access to only accounting modules. ApnaComplex is an apartment managment software. We are now offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.