Sunday, September 12, 2010

Parking Parking !

Though the Supreme Court decision has come just few days back but it’s started the turmoil which was expected! Because we are worst at hitting the alarm call at right time & best at sounding it at wrong time & run for the cover when there is no cover left! And this is applicable to all nodes related to real estate industry!

For e.g. no case goes to Supreme Court directly, it has to pass through maze of local judicial bodies & then high court & then if the Supreme law authority feels it’s important enough to hear the matter then the case is admitted there & heard & verdict is given. Though once admitted the process there after is fast enough in compare to local level things. But surely the said parking matter by a Mumbai base Panchali Co op society vs. the Developer M/s Nalchand Laloochand didn’t pop out in one night! In fact the case has been first filed with district court way back in 2004! In this entire process no private organization or association or segment of the society thought it’s important to monitor the case or to become party for the same! And now when hardly few including the most real estate dwellers, the society apex bodies & the media have gone through the judgment leave apart understanding it, all ready the hohallah has started about ongoing, forth coming as well completed projects & status! I read in news paper that even the existing flat holders can claim their money paid for the parking back from the developer. And in last 3 days from the news I have received calls from all segments about what’s the scene!

Now with all due respect to the Hon Supreme Court, lets see what’s the factual things are there about the so called a historic case & scenario in the real estate industry? To my knowledge the case was not for selling the parking to the residents, no resident was having objection for the same. There were 56 flats in 2 buildings & the plan was showing 28 numbers of car parking under stilt. The developer has sold only 3 to the residents & rest 25 car parking he has made grill with lock & key & kept in his possession. It’s this place shown to the society as parking has been converted as storage place & was or was proposed to sale to the outsider thus reducing the parking provision for the society. This is what society took objection asking the developer to make this place free for parking& in the process of arguments-counterarguments it come out as a byproduct as who owns the parking place. Obviously this has been done on the basis of whatever agreements has been made between the developer, society/residents as well the governing bodies like Municipal Corporation, Urban Development Dept etc & refereeing the bylaws about the same.

Agreed any new residential /commercial development has to be done in tune with the laws for keeping parking provisions for the users of such establishments & such space has to be utilized only for the purpose for which it has been kept. No two minds here, the question comes who will monitor this? For years since the real estate has been in existence transaction of parking place is a known thing then why suddenly this issue has popped up now? Answer lays in many things as day by day the space is becoming rare commodity especially in Metros! Similarly except few cities like Mumbai, Delhi & Calcutta, in mostly all the cities public transport doesn’t exist is a fact. Making more & more people opting for private vehicles, naturally increasing demand for the parking spaces. Even in above mentioned Metro's there is a big chunk of people who are not dependant on public transport for their commuting & have their own arrangement which usually is a car.

Also we are neglecting the social angle of the car/vehicular parking, in our country a Car isn’t just another gadget in house but its part of family and a pride possession too! Most Indian men's first dream is owning a home & then owning a car. May it be a Porsche or BMW for a millionaire or a Maroti or Santro for a middle income guy, the feelings are same. Rather a bit more sensitive towards their car are the middle class families because like the house for most of them a car is one time buy. This make the importance of the space for the car at par with your home i.e. flat/penthouse whatsoever it may be within the society.

And no one will like to have an unsecured place for his car is a fact. So whoever has the car makes it assured that he has a proper owned place for his car & most are happy that it’s along with the flat. Many a flat hunts does depend upon this very fact that the customer gives equal importance to ensure proper parking place & its availability, and then only they confirm the flat. We are over looking all these ground realities as if right from the beginning all the conditions were made known to the customer who’s buying flat then there are no chances of having any dispute over the parking issue is my view as I am in this line since 20 years & don’t have seen a single such complaint over allotted/sold whet ever you call but about car parking. Yes, there are few about the car not being fitted in the allotted car park but then if it’s accepted rationally & alternate arrangement is made then the issue has got settled mutually.

So this judgment will surely have to be studied before we go by blind following of the same. As many a questions will need to be answered, like if I am not getting the car park along with my flat what’s guarantee that the society will allot me in a fixed time span? Usually society/apartment condominium formation takes place over a period, then till that time where I should park my car? Will I be loosing first come first choice advantage for choosing the car park like I have in choosing the flat of my choice as an early bird? The news says I can claim back the money whatever I have paid to the developer for the parking, if I do so then will I loose the ownership of the parking which is allotted to me? And if the society is not formed whose right till then it is to allot me parking? What if the society doesn’t allot me the parking, where should I go for asking one? What if its apartment condominium & not co op society?

These are the questions which need to be assessed from the flat holder’s point of view. Also from the developers side if the customers are agreeing for allotment of car park, to themselves as well to other  & this is keeping in mind the mutual interest of all those involves, then is it legal? As if the buyer & purchaser agrees upon something which is transaction where no other party is having any interest then still will it be illegal? Also what I should tell to my customer when he asks for where he should park his car if I am not allotting him one?

By the way going with the same logic how all the malls, multiplexes can charge for the parking places which are meant for the people visiting these places? Going a step further even how Municipal Corporations can ask for pay & park things when the places are of public only?

As usual whatever you say the first reaction is it’s a lesson to the money hungry developers J but then in our country money earning was always considered as crime in spite of how ever legally you earn it! Problem is we are not learning to look at any problem keeping in mind the end outcome it will bring in & for whom! Like we neglect public transportation strengthening & fight over inadequate parking places!

Sanjay Deshpande