By Rahul Sarkar
Rights of Members in a Co-operative Housing Society
By Rahul Sarkar
In life, we are constantly reminded of our ‘responsibilities’ and can be so busy fulfilling them that we pay little or no heed to our ‘rights’. A situation completely avoidable, we say; especially when it comes to being a member of a co-operative society.
Unlike in independent apartment ownership, you are entitled to a whole range of benefits and rights in a co-operative society. But you can only reap the rewards of optimum living if you are irrefutably aware of what is owed to you. So, we took the time to give you an insight into legal rights you are granted in a co-operative society. Dial up your woke by knowing your inalienable rights as a registered member.
Why is it important for you as a member to know what rights you hold?
The model bye-laws provide certain provisions to active members (who have made the necessary payments/acquired share capital in a society). This allows them access to an immersive role in the workings of the society, while ensuring that their common interests and fundamental rights are taken care of. Once you invest a substantial amount of money in your house, it is quite natural that you would want to safeguard your property and your investment against any swindle, neglect or wrongdoing. By all measures, knowing and exercising your rights makes you a responsible, savvy and an important contributor to your society’s welfare as well as your own. Let’s take an in-depth look at your rights.
What are your rights as a housing society member?
1. Right to receive a copy of model bye-laws
Every society follows either the model bye-laws (or a variation of them), a copy of which has to be made available to all members. A prudent homeowner who likes to run a tight ship is well-versed with even the fine print. But for those of us who may not have the time to read all the bye-laws, it makes sense to glance through the contents and delve deeper as and when needed.
2. Right to nominate associate and nominal members
You can nominate an associate member who holds the right, title and interest in the property individually or jointly with others, but whose name does not stand first in the share certificate.The first nomination is free while fresh nominations are charged Rs.100 for membership. For the same fee, you can also appoint a nominal member who holds to legal ownership of the property.
3. Right to occupation and possession
Once you are allotted your residence, you have the right to possess and occupy the said housing. With your written consent, an associate member or a nominal member can also occupy the residence.
4. Right to inspect records
You can rightfully inspect free of cost books, registers, documents, annual profit-loss statements, etc. to examine financial transactions of the society. This is a helpful measure in case any embezzlement or fraud is suspected.
5. Right to attend the Annual General Meeting
As an active member of the society, you are entitled to attend the AGMs, the agenda for which includes the annual budget, financial statements, audit reports and other crucial developments. Additionally, you are rightfully allowed to read the minutes of the meeting of any annual, general or special meetings of the committee in case you have not been able to attend them.
6. Right to vote
Every housing unit gets one vote in the society’s election. If you have defaulted any payments, your right to vote remains intact. You also have the right to nominate members for various roles in the governing body and second any nominations you see fit. (If you are not a defaulter, you can nominate yourself in the election.)
7. Right to transfer shares, exchange and sublet apartments/housing units
After giving a prior notice of 15 days to the managing committee, you can transfer shares and interest in the capital/property of the Society to another person. However, a transfer fee of Rs.500 applies along with the requisite paperwork. You also have the right to exchange flats with a joint application and a valid reason for doing so. You can sublet your residence or give it on lease after intimating the committee and submitting a copy of the leave and license agreement, along with a copy of the intimation report to the police station.
8. Right to resign
You can resign from membership of the society after giving three months notice to the Secretary. Once the resignation is accepted, the Society acquires your shares and interests the capital/ property of the Society and pays you the value thereof. An associate member, nominal member, subletter, etc. can resign any time by writing a letter to the Secretary.
Why should you know your rights as a housing society member?
Model bye-laws can be quite bewildering if it is your first time as a member of a co-operative. However, with a little personal effort and research, the law can most definitely be turned into a trusted ally rather than a tormentor. Knowledge of your rights makes your life easier; not just because it encourages compliance with model bye-laws, but also because it helps you handle regular life scenarios more effectively.
We often face uncertain or unwanted situations in life that demand attention, forcing certain changes in our schedules and plans. Knowing your basic rights with respect to your living situation makes you well-prepared for such times.Whether you need to relocate to a different city, want to rent your apartment, suspect any malpractice in the society’s committee, feel the need to voice your opinions and ideas for the betterment of the society, or simply just wish to be a part of the bigger picture of a gated community, it makes complete sense to know your rights as a member first and foremost.
Co-operative societies are largely a voluntary endeavor and the committee members are more often than not law abiding citizens. It only behoves individual members to do their part and contribute positively towards the idea of communal living.