What Are Maintenance Charges For Flats?
You get annoyed when you see the park in you housing society splattered and littered, in spite of you regularly paying the maintenance charges. It is even more annoying to see that the basement, too, is not properly managed, and the residents park their cars using their whims and fancies. You rush to complain about poor maintenance to the management of your housing society. After all, you pay a substantial amount every month as maintenance charges year after year, and you would like to see it used for the purposes it is collected.
What are maintenance charges?
In gated communities, residents pay a fixed amount every month that is used for the upkeep of the common areas in a housing society.
Why the payment?
Typically, common areas in a housing society are all community and commercial facilities and may include swimming pools, staircases, elevators, lobbies, fire escapes, common entrances and exits, basements, terraces, parks, play areas, water tanks, etc.
Basically, every part of you housing society, be it the park or the lobby, the community centre or the pool, the elevators or the children's playground, is maintained using the money you pay on a month-on-month basis.
How it is calculated?
In India, real estate developers charge anywhere between Rs 2 to Rs 25 per square foot (psf) as maintenance charge.
Suppose you live in a housing society that is spread across 15,000 square foot and there are 50 residents. If the developer charges Rs 2 psf as maintenance charge, each of the members would have to pay a monthly maintenance charge of Rs 600 every month. Housing societies in national capital Delhi, for instance, levy that kind of maintenance charge since they are smaller and offer only a certain number of amenities.
Now, if the developer charges Rs 25 psf as maintenance charge in a housing society with similar measurement and the same number of resident, each one will have to pay Rs 7,500 every month. Housing societies in Gurgaon and Noida typically charge monthly maintenance in that range because of the facilities they offer.
Also Read: GST On Maintenance Charges
What is the timeline?
Homeowners in a housing society have to pay an amount periodically for the regular maintenance and operations of these common facilities. In most cases, you have to pay maintenance charges on an annual basis. However, these charges may vary from case to case. Home buyers must read their sale agreement carefully so that they know what kind of money they will be expected to pay as maintenance charges in future.
Is it legally binding?
Many of us, given a choice, would not be willing to part with money towards maintenance charges, if truth must be told. Is it not the responsibility of the project developer to maintain the housing complex? The fact is as the residents of a housing society and as the users of the common areas, it is our duty to pay these charges—and the law says so.
According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, “every allottee, who has entered into an agreement for sale to take an apartment, plot or building shall be responsible to make necessary payments within the time as specified and shall pay the share of the registration charges, municipal taxes, water and electricity charges, maintenance charges, ground rent, and other charges”.
Is it worth the money?
Apart from the fact that it is legally binding on you to pay maintenance charges as specified in your agreement to sale (mostly, the document does not specify the amount), you must contribute to enjoy uninterrupted services provided in a housing society. It would not make any sense if you buy a house in a project that offers a swimming pool, but does not have proper arrangements to allow the residents to use it. What is the point of having a un-manned parking area where nobody is bound to play by the rules?
Also, you can also claim tax benefits on the maintenance charges if you have given your property for rent. Do note here that this facility is not available to self-occupied properties.