Friday, September 7, 2012

VAT, Conveyance & the Society!




Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals...Oscar Wilde.

Surely looking at the scenario on urban horizon the words from the wise man seems so true! Recently in all media where issue of VAT (VALUE ADDED TAX) on the flats is being discussed, one point repeatedly put forward by many NGO's as well Consumer Forum Activist, that ask the developer to fulfill the committed things he has agreed like Occupation certificate or fixing MSEB meters or to make the Conveyance of the property first & then pay the VAT amount! Here many would have got the impression that conveyance is something builder is reluctant to do all the time & everywhere. But let’s come to reality & except the fat that as the quote says in many places building is ready, possession is given with all formalities like occupation certificate but yet conveyance is not done as no one comes forward from flat holders.

We need to understand the concept of conveyance first as when you buy a flat in any building its just agreement of ownership of the flat & not the entire building including common spaces & land. A commence is an agreement by virtue of which the entire property gets on the name of group of flat holders making them owner of the whole premise. Here there can be two ways one is forming society or making apartment. I am no master of this & there are enough legal minds who can speak on the difference between at apartment or a society. For me when we are living together then how we behave is important than what we are called! Unfortunately most people get indulged in wrong direction that what any member don’t pay the monthly maintenance charges, then what is better at such times, society or apartment? As per my experience both are useless at such times as not paying maintain ace charges or any sharing of common expenditure is an attitude & no law can control it. There have been examples of non paying members in many buildings & the law suits are on for years. We have to decide what kind of group we are! No law can be made keeping in mind that what if somebody breaks it? Nothing is full proof when it’s stopping bad practices, it’s our individual approach to the problem only can solve it & not the laws.

The main issue is not about society or apartment but who will take the lead from residents side to form it & then to run it? As in present days nobody has time especially when it’s for society. With increasing expenses & reducing interest costs one time maintenance deposit isn’t viable & collecting monthly amounts is common at most places. Naturally the job is left to the Chairman or Secretary of the society or apartment condominium whatever it is. For the sake of this write up let’s call it as society. Most members are not willing to become office bearers or take lead in society day to day proceedings. Even to check the draft of conveyance takes more than 6 months is my personal experience with some complexes! As people have myths about being office bearers that they will have to do all the dirty work like collecting money or follow up with the fellow residents for the same, deal with various local governing bodies like PMC water supply or MSEB, be responsible for the tenants issue with Police & many such. Many a say take whatever maintenance amount you decide but don’t involve us in society workings! Then for larger complexes there are always allegations of partiality if there are work allotments for things like painting of the complex or drive way paving etc. All such things keep most of the people away from taking any lead in society workings.

Recently a small notification has been issued by the Govt which got missed by many but has an important impact on such mentality, that every office barer of the society within 45 days after making for the post they have to give an affidavit saying they will be responsible for any financial damage to the society by their act while working as office barer for the society. Now this affidavit will no longer required to be filled by the society’s office barer’s. This was one major hurdle which makes people wary about taking any such responsibility in society working. Then there is unnecessary fear factor of what if some members don’t pay? Well here the role of the developer too is important as right in the beginning if a meeting is conducted with all the occupants & a path is laid making them explain all ifs & buts then such situation don’t arise. Mostly if instead of monthly collection six monthly or yearly one time collection is made then it’s easier for office bearers too, to handle the daily routine of the society. Now days many are opting for the apartment deed than forming of society considering its easier & things like obtaining NOC of society for selling the flat etc are avoided in apartment. Again as I say even the apartment condominium can make all such rules which will be binding on all the residents so it doesn’t matter what we name the association of certain people but how responsible we are towards the association is .

Coming  back to appeal of the activist on paying issue of VAT by the flat holders, will like to point out one thing that if its written in the agreement of the flat holder that VAT will be beard by him then how can we say to the developer to enter in conveyance first & then pay the VAT amount. As after conveyance the ownership itself will get handed over to the flat holders which no developer is going to agree without getting paid for Vat amount. I am not commenting its right or wrong just pointing out the actual scene around. No doubt that the amount should be worked out as per the norms of Sales Tax Dept & there has to be transparency in the whole process then only one should pay the same. So no to pay the Vat until commence happens is the wrong message  sending to the common man & will invite legal battle; instead get an undertaking from developer for completing conveyance as well the pending things to be done & then under than affidavit pay the VAT amount.

Here again one thing I didn’t understand why the people don’t get unite & go to consumer forum if they have been deprived from the commitments by the developer? Why people move in without things like occupation certificate as well MSEB electric meter! Many will say it’s easy to say but the one who don’t have a home instead paying rent prefers to move in the home in whatever form its available! It’s exactly this mentality we need to fight out is what I feel. What if there hasn’t been Vat issue? Will we have not protested against such pending commitments from our developer? By connecting two things we are unnecessarily complicating the mater for even the developers who have clean track record. A wrong act is always a wrong act & any timing is right to fight it out! Understand this & come forward to take the responsibility in society/apartment formation as that’s for your own better living!
--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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