MAINTENANCE OF APARTMENTS AND COMMERCIAL COMPLEXES.

An artical From Advocates about Maintenance of Apartments 

The trend for the high risebuildings in Bangalore started during late eighties when the builders from Bombay launched. Building projects in Bangalore. The attraction was rapid  growth of Bangalore between 1971-81 which was the highest in Asia in addition to the salubrious climate, beauty,(this is almost lost today) cheaper land and higher F A R permissible compared to Bombay and the hospitable citizens of Bangalore. Rahejas, Ranka, embassy, mittal, Bhaktavar are some of the builders who started their activities in Bangalore during that time Local entrepreneurs also started building activity like .Prestige, India Builders and others. Their intention was to make most of the situation.
Due to enormous potential for building activity, hundreds of building activity, hundreds of apartments and considerable number of commercial complexes had come up in Bangalore. Those who lived in flats were mostly outsiders. Local people even now like to have independent house.
To enable regulation of apartments, the following two acts were passed in Karnataka on the lines of Mumbai acts.
1 Karnataka ownership Act, 1972, 2 Karnataka Ownership flats (Regulation of the Promotion of construction, sale management and transfer) Act, 1972.Even now majority of the apartment dwellers are not aware of these acts, and rules issued under these acts, which came into force from 2.04.1975 No one is following these ACTS.In Bangalore the Co-operative Housing Societies or the Owners Associations are being followed the choice being left to the group of buyers of flats.
Most of the Co-operative societies were registered under the Co-operative Societies Act.
Associations are registered under the Karnataka societies Registration Act, 1960. In Mumbai a group of persons form a housing society, mobilize funds, purchase land, build apartment, live in the apartment and maintain the building. Where as in Bangalore, builders build the apartment sell the flats during construction and later. The buyers form apartment Housing Society Owners association for only maintenance purposes. The builders register the flats in favour of the buyers. Later transaction is between the owner of the flat and the subsequent buyer. The seller relinquishes his membership in the Society/Association and the buyers become a member of the Society/Association.
After registration, the Apartment Society frames its bye laws and gets it approved from the Co-operative Department or under society act. The byelaws should be in accordance with the Act and provisions. The byelaws provide for election of Committee and office bearers for management of the society Elections to the committee in case of housing Co-op Society are conducted by the Returning Officer appointed by the co-operative Department as per procedure. In the case of Association or Society the General Body elects the office bearers. Byelaws provides for membership. General Body Meeting, Special General Body Meeting.
Committee, powers of the committee, accounts & audit and in general management of the Housing Society or Association. The Department of Co-operative approves the Byelaws and returns to the Society for following the provisions.In case of an Association, the Registrar of Societies along with the Memorandum approves Rules and Regulations of the Owners Association.
The services provided by the society/ Association are water supply, general lighting, lifts, security, cleaning of the premises, garbage removal, gardening, colour washing, periodical painting, civil works repairs, water supply and drainage repairs, electrical repairs etc. As there is power shortage in the state with power cut twice a day, generator service for lift, common area lighting,and pumping of water is provided in some buildings. Intercom facilities from the flats to the security area is also provided in some buildings, club, health club, swimming pool, dish antenna & library facilities are provided in luxury apartments. Some societies also organize social activities for the benefit of residents
a. Security: Security arrangements are made through a security agency or by appointing security personnel directly by the Society! Association. Two or Three shifts are arranged to the convenience. The security personnel are also entrusted with the water pumping duties to maintain water supply throughout the day from borewell and B.W.S.S.B. water, responsibility of common area lighting, reporting in case of lift problem etc., is also entrusted to the security-men. Collection of milk at security gate is also entrusted to the security men. For additional income, the security men clean the vehicles of the occupants during their off period. They also get tips when they help the occupants for odd jobs. Occupants help useful security men with food, clothes, tips loan etc. the security men are also used to send messages and letters by the occupants.
b. Sweeper: Sweeper is entrusted with removal of garbage baskets from the doors of flats, which are dumped on the roadside garbage bins, or other arrangement to clean the garbage. They sweep the common area and are supposed to maintain the premises clean. They are also useful for odd jobs of the occupants
c. Gardeners: Gardeners maintain the plants and lawn where garden is maintained. In case of only a few plants frequent supervision by a gardener or watering of plants by the sweeper is arranged.
d. Plumber/Electrician: The services of a plumber are arranged in some apartments! complexes for one or two hours fixed according to convenience. He will help in. replacement of washers in taps and stoppage of minor leaks. Similarly services of an electrician, or a plumber-cum- electrician service is arranged.
e. Secretary / Manager: A paid Secretary in case of an apartment Society / or a Manager in case of commercial complexes is employed. His duty is to send maintenance bills to the occupants, collect maintenance charges, maintain accounts, supervise the work of security men, sweeper, gardener, plumber, and electrician and provide liaison between the occupants and the office bearers. He will also arrange for maintenance repairs and replacements. He will assist in the conduct of meetings, payment of water and electricity bills, and correspondence. Good maintenance depends of an effective and useful Secretary Manager.
Maintenance Charges: Maintenance charges fixed to cover the routine charges like salaries, water and electricity bills, minor repairs, correspondence, overheads, and extra amount to maintain a development fund to meet major repairs like replacement of motors and pumps, water supply and drainage arrangement, replacement of bore well pipes, replacement of water proof course, replacing electrical wiring system etc. Fixation of maintenance subject, which attracts arguments between the office bearers and the occupants. In some cases additional resources are generated by leasing additional parking spaces, advertisement hoardings, S.T.D. booths etc. transfer or N.O.C fee is also collected whenever, there is resale of flat office on its / shops. Good management enables availability of adequate funds of good maintenance and major repairs. Occupants should elect service minded officer bearers in their own interest for good facilities and living environment. Absentee land lords:Normally 10% or more flats in apartments of Bangalore are owned by outsiders from Bombay, Cal-cutta, Hyderabad and other places in India as well as from abroad. The percentage being more in the apartments of Cantonment, Central areas, and Bangalore south. Nowadays apartment constructions has spread all over Bangalore including out skirts.
The problem with the absentee land lords is that regular payment of maintenance charges is not possible and payments is arranged at their convenience. This affects regular income of the Society / Association. Another problem in such cases is that if water or sullage is leaking in those flats, getting it repaired to avoid loss of water or dampness is difficult. Absentee land lords also affect quorum in meetings of the Society / Association. Non-residential uses n apartments: In the byelaws of the Society Association non-residential uses are prohibited to see that Municipal Corporation and B.D.A. Acts are not violated. But invariably in apartments located in central areas and important localities non-residential uses are existing and such uses increase from time to time.
Doctor’s clinic, advocate’s offices, travel agencies, company offices etc., are normally observed in apartments. Society / Association should discourage such non residential uses as it affects security & peaceful residential nature of the apartment. The Corporation officials also assess such flats to collect more house tax and such uses get regularized. This affects the other flat owners as rental value is increased in such apartments and owner occupants are forced to pay more taxes. Social problem is another problem in case of families with young daughters when non-residential uses are permitted. Water supply Problems Residential apartments require large quantity of water for domestic purposes.
While one bore well is compulsory more than one bore well are located depending on the number of flats or yield of the bore well. In the beginning separate sump tanks, separate motor & pump, separate overhead tank and separate pipes for distribution are arranged to separate B.W.S.S.B. water and bore well water. But, later due to lazy security men and inactive office bearers separate water supply is not continued. Consequently, in some apartments a tap is provided near the pump room to collect only drinking water required by some occupants.
The sump tanks and overhead tanks are to be got cleaned frequently to supply safe and pure water. But very rarely this is being done forcing occupants to use aqua guards or other water purifiers for drinking and cooking water requirements. Like electricity arrangement where meter and main switches are provided separately for each flat, for water supply separate control values and meters are not provided. Delays by occupants to get water leakage repaired or leakage in locked flats will affect other occupants by higher water bills and dampness in adjoining or lower flats. If roof in a lower flat is damp due to leakage in the upper floor flat, the lower flat occupant has to get the same repaired at his cost.
This is the practice observed in apartments. If car parking floor roof is damp the society. Association has to get the repairs done as otherwise the Car parking area will be affected due to dripping of water, dirty appearance and damages to electrical wiring in the car parking area roof. As the water supply and drainage pipe arrangements are complicated, dampness in the roof and walls furniture is a common problem in most of the apartments Due to long hours of pumping, large quantity of water required by number of flats, the motors, pumps, and foot valve get affected and frequent costly repairs become necessary. Maintaining water supply with spare pumping set or by requesting occupants to collect water from ground levels taps becomes necessary quite often.
Electricity room is located in the basement!ground floor of apartment! commercial complexes. As large numbers of wires are connected to the electric room; safe meter board with sufficient clearance from meter and main switch system of each flat is necessary for safety from short circuits.
The K.E.B. meter reader issues bills according to meter numbers. The Secretary/Manager has to distribute the bills indicating flat number in each bill. Sometimes due to oversight wrong flat numbers are written on the bills, which will result in arguments with affected flat owners. Whenever tube lights and bulbs are fused quick replacements has to be arranged to avoid objection from occupants. It is necessary to have an arrangement to get an electrician at short notice. In some apartments/ complexes services of plumber- cum- electrician for one or two hours in a day is arranged to attend to minor electrical problems in the flat or common areas.
The occupants expect a good lift service in multistory buildings as they do not like climbing the stairs when lifts are not working especially by aged and obese persons. In apartments and busy complexes we observe use of lifts continuously. In view of power shortage only one lift is allowed to be used alternatively after few days. Older busy lifts give trouble frequently. Service contract for lift service is a must. Lift companies maintain their own brand oflifts and provide parts only if they maintain. There are a few service contractors who maintain any brand oflift. How they manage to get parts from companies is not understood. Their secret understanding with lift company officials is suspected.
The private lift contractors charge from Rs.5S0/- to Rs.800/- per lift per month depending on service only or including minor parts. Their mechanics attend to repairs when called or once/ twice in a month for check up. Established general lift contractors maintain lifts of more than 100 buildings. When there is no repair during a month their mechanic mayor may not visit to check up. But promptly claim the bill. As result of this, in some buildings the office bearers insist obtaining signatures of Manager/any occupant as proof of their visit.
Service contractors having covert deals with the Secretary/Manager/ Security man are common.The lift service contractors make easy money by maintaining two or three mechanics paying about Rs.ISOO/- to Rs.2S00/- p.m. This business does not require investments. But good income is possible.
In addition to this they also make false claims. As there is heavy demand for service contracts and only a few are in the field, some of the lift contractors dictate terms and suddenly stop lift by removing fuse or any other part to create inconvenience if their demands are not met. Some secretaries/Managers collude with them. The office bearers of the Society/Association should be vigilant about this matter.
Gardening:
Whether there is enough space or not landscaping/indoor plants in common areas is necessary to beautify the premises to avoid dull concrete surfaces. Full time Gardener in case of adequate area/plants or part time/additional duty to supervision by gardeners are to be arranged according to the requirements.
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