In Mumbai, it is the cooperative society model which has been the most popular so far. However, in recent times, the concept of a condominium is slowly gaining momentum. Buyers who purchase premises on an ‘ownership’ basis require to come together to manage the building and for that purpose, one of the ways is to form a cooperative society, which is governed by the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960. An alternative to a cooperative society was introduced by the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970, which provides for the formation of a condominium. The buyers of premises in a condominium are called apartment owners who form an association known as an ‘association of apartment owners’, in case of both, residential as well as non-residential premises. Although the basic purpose of both the models is similar, there are many differences between a society and condominium, some of which are:
FORMATION: To form a society, generally 10 persons, each from a different family who reside in the area of operation of the society (within the same city) and who have taken premises in the building, would be required. However, even one person who owns the entire building can form a condominium, provided there are at least five apartments in the building.
OWNERSHIP: In the case of a society, the title of the land and the building is conveyed to the society, which becomes the owner thereof. Persons who have purchased premises are made members of the society and are allotted the particular premises. In the case of a condominium, the title of each apartment rests with the apartment owner, who also has a proportionate undivided interest in the land on which the building stands, the common areas and facilities of the building.
BYLAWS: A society adopts the model bylaws in which little can be changed. While adopting the bylaws in a condominium, suitable changes can be made, so long as the provisions of the Act are not contravened.
SHARE CERTIFICATE: A society issues certain shares to its members, as per the bylaws and the share certificate becomes an important title deed, since the allotment of the premises are related thereto. This is not so in a condominium.
MANAGEMENT: The affairs of the society are managed by the managing committee, which is elected by the members of the society. The managing committee elects a chairman, secretary and a treasurer. Similarly, the affairs of a condominium are managed by the board of managers, who are elected by the members of the apartment owners association. The board also elects a president, vice-president, secretary and a treasurer.
TRANSFER FEES: Under the model bylaws, a society can charge only Rs 500 as transfer fees and a maximum of Rs 25,000 as a premium. In case of a condominium, the bylaws can be more flexible and the amount of transfer fees can be provided therein.
PERMISSION TO LET: In a condominium, the owner can give his apartment on lease or leave and license basis without the approval of the board of managers, while in a society, permission is required.
VOTING RIGHTS: In a society, every member has one vote, irrespective of the area of his premises. In a condominium, every apartment owner has a voting right in proportion to the value of his premises, which is generally as per the area of the apartment owned by him and which is defined while forming the condominium.
DISPUTES: In a society, disputes are generally referred to the registrar appointed under the Act or to a cooperative court, depending on the nature of the dispute. In the case of a condominium, the court having jurisdiction over the area in which the condominium is located, hears the disputes.
EXPULSION: A society can expel its member under certain extreme circumstances. In case of a condominium, there is no such provision. However, if an apartment owner fails to comply with the bylaws or the rules and regulations, either damages or injunctive relief or both can be claimed against him.
NOMINATION: In a society, a member can nominate a person in whose favour shares of the society should be transferred upon the member’s death. No such facility is available in a condominium. An apartment can be transferred to a person to whom the apartment owner bequeaths the same by his will or to the legal representative of the apartment owner’s estate. Source-TOI
Alok Kumar Upadhayay