One needs to take thousands of steps before setting foot, on one’s own house. This statement is accurately quoted for those who are planning to purchase their dream home.
From the time of booking an apartment to the time of getting its ownership, there are plenty of charges; few of them are disclosed upfront, while some of them are buried under loads of papers, which are typically ignored by the purchasers. Maintenance charges are among those ignored charges.
Maintenance charges are one of the most likely financial responsibilities that some of the home buyers skipped at the time of buying a house. Before buying a home or apartment, a purchaser must need to acquire the knowledge of the maintenance charges that he/ she need to be pay in the near future.
What are the maintenance charges?
Maintenance charges are the money spent for the upkeep of the common areas in a residential society. Homeowners generally have to pay a periodic amount for regular maintenance and operation of standard facilities in the society such as security, swimming pools, power back up, elevators, water tanks etc. The charges are mentioned in allotment letter issued to the buyer and form a part of a contractual agreement between the builder and the buyer. Under RERA (the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act), maintenance charges are paid by every allottee of an apartment, plot or building, and once the Resident Welfare Association or RWA is formed, the RWA itself will collect maintenance charges.
How is it calculated?
The calculation of maintenance charges varies from one society to another. Some communities with equally sized flats adopt a flat rate of charges collected every month. While many societies, especially those where the size of flats differs to a large extent, charge maintenance on the basis of square feet area of the apartment.
CEO, Residential Services, JLL India, says, “The funds will be collected from the residents, based on either the principle of equal participation, where the flat sizes are almost the same, or per square feet (psf) charges for varying flat sizes.” (Source: Economic Times)
What should be taken care while paying maintenance charges?
RERA to the rescue:
The Real Estate Regulatory Authority or RERA states that the developer or builder is responsible for providing maintenance on the property on a regular basis. The charges of this have to be borne by the resident of the property and have to be reasonable. It is mandatory to sign a maintenance agreement between the buyer and builder which states the frequency and cost breakdown of all charges. RERA thus makes the entire process transparent for the buyer by making him aware of the charges which used to be previously hidden from a buyer.
Resident rights and defaults
A resident is open to scrutinize the actual amount spent on maintenance by the builder till the society is formed. After the formation of a society, it is the owner’s responsibility to pay maintenance charges. In case an owner rents out his flat, he can make the tenant bear the maintenance charges. In case of default by resident, essential services such as water, electricity, etc. may be withed or cut off by the RWA.
Having a fair knowledge of the maintenance charges at the time of finalizing an apartment is much required as these charges need to be paid almost every month. One should also try to take part in the activities of RWA when RWA takes charge.
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