Every member of a co-operative housing society demands dignity

Image: Commercial Property

Most co-ops are a nuisance because the lobby rules. No one here has a legal obligation or personal right to harass others. These committee positions are not entrusted to them to govern but to carry out the work. These members volunteer and participate in elections and obviously they have the support of their group and other people are trying to vote for a lesser evil. What everyone wants is a peaceful stay in their own home. The case of harassment cannot be tolerated; this may become grounds for disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. But the committee members usually use indirect methods to dominate the residents.

For example, me and my friend who is also a woman, are neighbors, we are single women. One of the company members rang my doorbell in the middle of the night and he was drunk. It was very scary, the moment I called my friend and alerted the others that he had just left the place. What if I had opened the main door? Similarly, a drunken man from below her apartment knocked on her door when she opened the door, he was in a hurry to get in, but she cleverly yelled at him and he realized his house was under her apartment. Well, we filed a complaint, and at the time the president was a lady from his gang. She checked the common elevator camera and everything and agreed that the man got out of the elevator late at night but again the onus was on me to prove that a drunk man came to my house after getting out of the elevator.

Well! these two men were from good families, so one way or another; we didn’t make it a problem. Since then, this alcoholic man avenges us. Unfortunately, he was in a key position on the committee and the groups split. Dogs started biting dogs. The old committee came on the radar of the new committee. There are legal issues, and the drama has continued but the pain for us has not yet ended. There is always non-cooperation or overreaction. Alright, I’m strong enough to face my challenges, but imagine what the threat must be to single women residing in a housing company and especially if she’s not a member of any lobby or group. We feel in danger and threatened. This is just one example, but imagine it from a broader perspective. Another big problem is character assassination.

If a member of the cooperative housing society faces the problem of harassment by another member of the society or the staff of the management committee of the cooperative housing society must take action against him. If some people feel that they are doing more than others, the impartiality is broken and the negotiation resumes. Keeping fairness in mind is the solution, but it rarely happens.
Negotiating equity is the hardest part. Housing companies aren’t always the safe, trouble-free havens we imagine them to be and have their own share of misfortunes and disguises, like everything else in life.
Some problems have a way of appearing, reappearing and repeating themselves in the life of the average resident of a housing corporation. Some of the problems that co-operative societies face are noisy neighbors, tyrant committee members, careless departments and irresponsible committees. The houses are leaking and the corridors are distributed with garage but the maintenance is lacking. But for every problem, there is a foolproof solution. There are predefined items for which the member must pay maintenance charges, such as water, service, common electricity, etc. However, in many cases, it has been observed that the management committee randomly and illegally charges members excess charges under false pretenses. , such as pet-sitting costs, use of elevators to transport new furniture, etc.

By entering into an agreement with the developer, despite the verification of the calculation of the maintenance charges, that is to say an equal distribution, a calculation per square foot or a hybrid charge. Although you have the company’s standard articles of association to know what to pay legally, you are not wrongly charged, inform the management committee immediately. In the event that the MC refuses to cooperate, you have the right to file a complaint with the clerk and finally with the district collector and now the police station.

It is no secret that corruption is rampant where power is centralized. In the case of the management committee of housing corporations, some dishonest members or officers embezzle funds for personal gain and some committee members pay no attention to such misconduct. Incidents such as embezzlement of company funds and submission of falsified statements, charging unnecessary bills to members, cancellation of pending membership dues of some members, theft of funds from redevelopment loans, corruption of officials for fraudulent expenses, etc. are usually registered as complaints.

In many cases, the management committee charges massive non-occupancy fees to unsuspecting residents, even when the apartment is occupied by a relative or is locked. Fraudulent/incomplete audits: Some companies appoint morally dishonest auditors who turn a blind eye to the embezzlement of funds by the management committee, taking part of the funds. Even if the auditor is honest in reviewing the finances, thousands of companies in Mumbai and other cities fail to submit audited accounts to the authorities, leading to deregistration and penalties. Poor management of financial statements and cash books results in ineffective audits. Poor accounting by the committee prevents auditors and residents from having a clear and fair view of the company’s financial commitments.

Check all complaint committee websites for almost every state in the country, you will find members complaining about disruptive neighbors such as loud music at unholy hours, blaring stereos in cars, litter on premises of society, throwing leftover food from the pantry, feeding the birds on the balconies, children and sometimes adults playing cricket and other extremely noisy sports after prescribed playing hours in the gardens, members fighting with guards and other staff, tenants or even landlords behaving in an unsavory and disrespectful manner, smoking and drinking on company premises, among other things. The list is seemingly endless and even renewed with new complaints describing the strange and uncivilized behavior of the residents. There are problems and there are solutions. Problems are inevitable and concrete, finding solutions is the task of Hercules.

Virginia S. Braud