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By Legal Bureau

The concept of condominium is gaining ground in Mumbai, thanks to the over complicated working and administration of co-operative housing societies. Majority of housing societies in the city and suburbs have problems in management and daily squirmishes between the members and office bearers. The whoopingly corrupt ward offices of joint registrars for co-operatives societies, have created unprecedented mess and confusion. In co-operative courts too the litigation takes light years. Under these circumstances, people are looking for alternative to the co-operative housing society system. In Maharashtra the sale and purchase of flats are governed by the Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act 1963 and Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act 1970. These two Acts are modelled on American patron, where the concept of condominium is prevalent instead of co-operative housing society. In Maharashtra, the promotor has a clear choice either to float a co-operative society or company and sell the flats on dual ownership basis under the 1963 Act or to make a declaration and submit property under the 1970 Act and pass free and absolute title to each individual purchaser. Each apartment / flat owner have exclusive possession, use and enjoyment and is entitled to their shares in the undivided interest in the common areas and facilities in the property. Thus, other apartment owners are not subject to risk resulting out of financial obligations of one owners and the municipal taxes and other dues are separately assessed and only the particular defaulting apartment owners can be subject to legal process for recovery of the same. This is the frame work and basis of condominium. There are several housing societies where many member do not pay their dues including municipal taxes to the society, resulting the paying members of the society pay municipal taxes of defaulting members. In condominium, each member has to pay municipal taxes individually to the tax authorities. Another benefits of condominium is, that if apartment owners give their flat on leave and licence, in that case he/she don’t have to pay non-occupancy charges to anyone. They dont have to pay any transfer fee while selling their apartment and also dont have to take NOC from anyone for selling his/her apartment. In Mumbai around 400 buildings including some high value buildings in posh localities of South Mumbai, have opted for condominium system instead of co-operative housing society and are being managed well. It is time when the builders can consider to form condominiums in their coming up housing projects.