Commercial Use of Common Facilities Can Land Developers in Trouble
The shiny brochures of real estate developers often claim they offer swimming pools, gymnasiums, auditoriums, etc. The idea is to display the many facilities you are going to enjoy as a resident. However, sometimes these common facilities, meant exclusively for the residents under law, are used by the developer for commercial purposes. Many a time, developers allow commercial activity in the housing society to fund increasing maintenance expenses.
Remember that facilities in a housing society, such as gymnasiums, parks, auditorium, library, swimming pool, etc, cannot be given for commercial use without a government approval.
Allowing outsiders inside the society premises is not only illegal but may also pose a security threat to the residents. This may also lead to congestion in the parking lot.
Further, some developers charge residents separately for the clubhouse and other common facilities, which are part of the society and the residents are entitled to use these without any interference from the developer.
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2016, has introduced certain provisions to effectively curtail this misuse. The Bill has made it mandatory for the developer to set up an association of the residents within a period of three months after majority of the flats/units have been allotted. This association will be responsible for the maintenance of the common facilities and the developer will not be able to keep them under his control.
The proposed Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), when set up, will be the apex forum to address such issues. However, residents can also approach consumer forums in case of any issues.