By Accommodation Times Bureau
Near about 50,000 housing societies in the metropolitan region ; in the lack of the ownership of the land ,on which their buildings stand; are facing difficulties in claiming the permissions for redevelopment or maintenance.
Home buyers and activists are now demanding that the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) be revised and renovated, specially on the lines of the new stringent real estate regulation law, popularly called RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority). Under RERA, the fine payable by the builder for delaying conveyance is up to 10% of the project cost, whereas under MOFA it is Rs 50,000.
But only those building projects where construction is ongoing or those that are yet to get occupation certificates (OC) come under the ambit of RERA. The rest come under the ambit of MOFA and unlike RERA, MOFA lacks teeth, making it tough for existing societies to gain deemed conveyance (change in land ownership from builders to society).
At least 70% of housing societies still do not own the land on which their building or flats stand. This is because developers, who own the land want to continue having a say on maintenance or want control over society corpus, open parking slots, terrace space to install cell towers and hoardings to earn revenue. Under MOFA, several thousand cases demanding conveyance are now pending with the registrar’s offices, magistrates or consumer courts.
In others, building residents do not possess the crucial 7 12 revenue papers, which gives information about a particular land parcel. The lack of this key document has become a major hurdle for societies that want to go in for redevelopment as their plans remain pending with the civic body due to absence of ownership rights.
A society member from Srikala society in Goregaon said, “Due to delay in registering the conveyance deed, societies have to pay huge stamp duty against the gap between the earlier and the revised stamp duty and registration fees. The government should come up with a law to force builders to pay the shortfall, in case of delay in conveyance”.
Office bearers of Sai Simran society in Deonar said their building comprising 92 flats got an OC in 2006 after which the society was formed in 2009. “In order to form the society, the builder took Rs 1,500 each, but there are no signs of conveyance being done yet. In the meantime, cellphone towers have been installed on the building by the developer to earn sizeable revenue. Parking slots are also still owned by the developer,” said a resident.
Ramesh Prabhu of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association said, after booking 50% of the flats, the owners can form an association (society) and in accordance with the law, make it obligatory for the promoter or developer to convey the property in the name of the society within three months of obtaining an OC. “If it is not done, then it’s a criminal offence,” he said.
Housing society members, whose conveyance has been stuck for years, now say MOFA should be amended to impose hefty fines on builders who refuse to let go.