If you’re living in a gated community or apartment complex, you’re well aware of the complexity of apartment management. Managing its day-to-day operations like amenities, security, common areas – they all need to be administered by someone or, preferably, a group of the owners. As there’s a lot of room for disagreement in how these matters are handled, the authorities have mandated that all housing societies be registered under ‘The Society Registration Act’, which stipulates legal policies to aid in the administration. A society should be registered within 3 months and is only excused from registration in serious situations.
Advantages of society registration
Registered housing societies receive specific powers that permit them to address society issues in a formal/legal manner. Therefore, a registered housing society is well equipped to tackle the challenges by deciding on bye-laws that will be binding on anyone residing in the community and how the association may deal with everyday issues.
Here are some instances where the powers of a registered housing society can be beneficial:
- Violation of rules: Only a registered association can take formal action against residents violating accepted rules of the society such as using the residential space for commercial purposes, disagreeing or delaying the payment of maintenance fee, perturbing neighbours etc.,
- Addressing grievances: A registered association can address common grievances regarding maintenance, security, new requirements and more. The association can also initiate and promote cultural events, drives for charitable purposes and any other community activities for the welfare of the residents.
- Ensuring resident security: A registered association is responsible for enforcing the law and hence can take measures to ensure the safety of the residents. For example limiting the entry of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The society can also take a call on limiting the entry of unwanted visitors, salesmen and others. The association also ensures that the maintenance of commonly used facilities is carried out regularly. This association can also take action against staff in case of improper maintenance.
- Settling disputes with builders: The association can also take legal measures against builders in case of disputes regarding the residential space or violation of building codes. It must be noted that The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) only looks into complaints filed by registered associations
- Maintaining records: A registered association is by law required to maintain proceeding reports and details of common facilities. The information regarding these facilities and the common ownership scheme is carried in the Deed of Declaration and can be accessed in the future for legal purposes. This ensures the smooth functioning of the society and offers complete transparency
- Ease of taxation: Residents of a registered society will find it easy to file for property-related taxes, GST applicability and other taxes. Banking procedures are also easier to carry out when society is registered. A gated community must also be registered before implementing society management software or introducing resident welfare applications.
Process of getting the society registered
Now that we know why the apartment association has to be registered, how do we get it registered? To start off, the Apartment Owners Association needs a minimum of 7 members, who are unanimously elected by society. The association includes members (apartment owner), associate members (other than the owner but lawfully occupying), a general body (all members of the association) and a management committee (a president, a vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer and eight other members).
Selected representatives are tasked with preparing a memorandum that details:
- Name of the Society
- Names of the residents and their occupations
- Objectives of the Society
- Bye-laws by which the society is governed. The bye-laws can be changed if the circumstance demands it.
The following documents are necessary for registration
- Name of the Society
- Address of the Society
- Proposal letter duly signed by the executive committee and addressed to the Registrar of Societies
- Proceedings of the first general body meeting
- Memorandum of the Society
- Standard fee
Management office term and elections
The members of the management committee are elected unanimously by the members of the community. The management of the association usually holds office for a year. Re-election happens annually but can be conducted mid-year if all members are consenting.
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