Amending bye-laws

Amending bye-laws

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Your property-related legal queries answered by S.C. RAGHURAM, Partner, RANK Associates, a Chennai-based law firm

My son and I jointly own a flat near Chennai (promoted by a reputed builder), and the project was completed on time and around 80% of the flats were sold out.

As mentioned in the construction agreement, the flats were maintained by the builder for the first year, and as per a clause, the owners had to form an association and the burden of maintenance would be passed on to the said association. We formed the association, and got it registered with a government agency.

As the builder has quoted very high maintenance charge, we have invited three vendors, and short-listed one. After paying a month’s maintenance for the unsold units, the builder is now refusing to pay the charges. Even after several discussions, the matter is yet to be resolved.

Is it necessary for the builder to pay maintenance for the unsold flats? Also, after going through the bye-laws of our association, the builder wanted to amend them to include another clause, and flat owners are willing to contribute funds for certain services like installing CCTV cameras, etc., but the builder says work can commence only after an approval from his technical committee. Is this legal?

V. Kanagasabapathy


It is not clear from your query as to when the possession of the apartments were handed over to the buyers and the period of initial maintenance undertaken by the Builder.

If you have registered the association, the bye-laws should have been filed with the Registrar and any modification to bye-laws can be made only in the AGM or EGM of the Association and it will not be possible for anyone to change any part of the same to suit their convenience.

The relevant clauses in the bye-laws have to be looked into in respect of payment of maintenance for unoccupied or unsold flats. This aspect is dealt with differently by different associations. The Builder has to be treated as the owner of the unsold flat(s) and the charges payable as per your bye-laws would be applicable to the Builder as well. Subject to the said clause in the bye-laws, you can notify the fact of arrears of maintenance in the notice board so that any prospective buyer would be aware that the said sum would be payable to the Association on his purchase and would act accordingly.

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