A campus-style gated community is becoming the standard form of housing these days. Such housing complexes or estates are typically preferred for their safety, open areas, and amenities, including shared gyms, swimming pools, play areas, and gardens. A standalone home can hardly have access to so many top-notch amenities. The cost of using these facilities are split evenly among the residents.
The Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA), a group of individuals chosen by the residents from amongst themselves, exists in almost every housing complex. The Societies Registration Act of 1860 governs these residents’ welfare associations.
However, for a residents’ welfare group to be recognised as a legitimate organisation, it must be registered with the government. This will allow a certified RWA to legally benefit from several privileges. The prerequisite for being an RWA member is to be aged 18 years or above. A minimum of seven such individuals are required to form a registered RWA.
What is a Residents’ Welfare Association?
A committee comprising individuals selected from among the tenants of an apartment building is known as a residents’ welfare association.
RWAs are required to be registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860, and function according to their respective bylaws. Typically, RWA members are tasked with keeping clean the complex under their jurisdiction and maintaining the society’s pathways and other common areas.
One of the RWA’s principal tasks is to collect the monthly common maintenance fees from the occupants of all units and utilise those funds to develop high-quality amenities and infrastructure for the residents.
Apart from the ordinary members, each RWA also has committee members, a president, a treasurer, and a secretary.
Upon registration, a residents’ welfare group becomes a legal entity with specific legal powers. Such a group or association has the right to file a lawsuit against any person or entity on legitimate grounds, and can be sued in turn.
Role of RWA (Residents’ Welfare Association) officers
There are elected officers in each registered RWA. These officers are elected at the association’s general body meeting. A president, vice president, general secretary, secretary, financial advisor, and executive members make up an RWA’s board of directors.
The president chairs every meeting of an RWA, and also oversees the duties of all office holders. The president is one of the primary signatories on any letter or notice sent by an RWA, and has the authority to manage the association’s bank accounts. The vice president supports the president in carrying out his or her responsibilities and fills in for the president whenever required.
All residents and homes inside a housing estate or society are listed in records kept by the general secretary of an RWA. They represent their society in public and in governmental settings, and are a signatory to the RWA’s bank accounts. The secretary supports the general secretary in carrying out their responsibilities and steps in whenever unavailable.
The treasurer of an RWA keeps the association’s books of accounts and collect subscriptions, rent payments, and gifts. The account and funds are balanced in a specified bank. The association’s bank account must be managed, and regular account statements presented by the treasurer.
An RWA’s executive members are obligated to participate in the association’s daily operations. Additionally, they see to it that the association’s list of office holders is submitted to the registrar. According to Section 4 of the Societies Registration Act of 1860, it is essential to file this list of office-holders.
Powers of an RWA
An RWA’s primary power is to choose and determine the composition of its membership. An RWA has the authority to terminate an individual’s membership after providing appropriate reasons and grounds.
Collecting subscription fees from all residents and setting the rate is another important power of an RWA. The overall general maintenance and upkeep of the society is covered by this subscription. Any RWA member who consistently fails to attend meetings may get their membership terminated.
If tenants complain about substandard construction and the use of subpar building materials, a residents’ welfare group can file a lawsuit against the developer. The RWA can contact the police and lodge a complaint about any issues with the construction or builder.
An RWA’s financial year cycle
An RWA’s fiscal year runs from April 1 through March 31 of the following year.
Funds of an RWA
All residents need to pay periodic maintenance fees, which are an RWA’s principal source of funding. Many organisations hold inter-resident activities and sports matches to raise funds. Housing communities also host fairs and social events. Residents and visitors can purchase food from stalls during events such as cooking competitions, and the association collects a nominal rent from each stall.
Strategies employed to raise funds include fees collected for renting out community halls and spaces for weddings and other social gatherings. These facilities are available on rent for residents from outside the society. Outsiders and visitors can park in public lots, against which the RWA charges a fee.
The funds raised through subscriptions and fundraising initiatives go to the RWA’s bank account. The succeeding RWA acknowledges the carryover funds. Only the RWA president, treasurer, or general secretary are authorised to handle this account. A trained auditor must be hired or appointed by the association to examine the RWA’s financial records.
Roles and responsibilities of an RWA
The President’s Role:
- The president has the power to represent the association for any legal action that is brought against it. The president also has the power to sue individuals on legitimate grounds.
- The decision on whether to accept and carry out the terms of a contract presented by the committee rests with the president.
- The president should keep a broad perspective of events and ensure that all residents and members are content and nurse no reservations or issues. The president should also keep an eye on all expenditures and ensure that they are wisely spent.
- The role of the treasurer in an RWA is to oversee the management of all finances held by the association. The treasurer is the sole person in charge of keeping the funds and other important documents safe and secure.
- As these records and finances are crucial to the association, the treasurer’s position should be given to a seasoned professional with strong management skills.
- The treasurer should also calculate monthly and yearly expenses as well as the overall income. The residents will benefit from the constant regulation of the fund flow this way.
- An RWA entrusts the secretary with the task of presiding over numerous general body sessions.
- Additionally, the secretary will be charged with gathering the meeting’s minutes and reviewing all the data presented.
- To ensure that each resident actively participates, the secretary will need to raise any issues they may have.
These are the three most important positions in an RWA.
How are RWA roles chosen?
An RWA’s governing body must consist of at least seven individuals, including the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is necessary, and there must be a certain minimum number of residents present to constitute a quorum. The AGM must be postponed and due notice given to all estate residents if the actual attendance falls below the required quorum.
At the AGM, all new members of the association will be chosen by ballot. Simple hand motions are also acceptable. Following the election of a new committee, the list must receive the support of at least three officials from the outgoing committee. The Registrar of Societies must be notified when a committee is newly elected, along with the names of the new officers.
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