Is your housing society registered under the Maharashtra Co-opera tive Societies Act? Has your society maintained a legal sanctity all along? Are all the requisite documents in place and duly registered? If not, it is of utmost importance that you take cognizance of the situation and ensure that all the legal documents and procedures are in place. Dhaval Ajmera, director, Ajmera Realty says, “It is a mandate for all the co-operative housing societies to maintain their documents and records related to their transactions, entries and legal permissions to ensure that their buildings comply with the law. Currently, the BMC too, is keeping a close watch on the construction activity and encroachment around the city.“

WHY SHOULD IT BE DONE?

The responsibili ty of the housing society members starts since the day the builder handovers the documents to them. Vinod Sampat, legal consultant adds, “Make sure that the builder has completed everything that he had committed to. If not, the members should hold him liable early-on, so that he completes the work even after the handover is done.“ The next step for the members is to get the society registered. A source in the cooperatives department said that there are over 1.2 lakh residential buildings across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) but only about 75,000 have registered housing societies. According to Arun, owner of Geeta Estate Consultant, Juhu contact no “The law requires housing societies to be duly registered with pertinent government authorities and there is a good reason for this. The activities being conducted within a housing society are subject to them being legal and not contrary to any existing rules of law. Also, it is important for the pertinent government authorities to know who is residing within a housing society and whether the interests of all the residents are being met. For this, maintaining and updating records, which can be accessed as and when the need arises, are important and any failure to do so, can be deemed as a failure by the housing society to rightly abide by the law. If proper records are not maintained, it can indicate that the housing society has not been holding regular meetings of all the stakeholders and is not being run efficiently.“

PRESERVE THE DOCUMENTS:

Thus, it is necessary that the managing committee of the society prepares all registers, books of accounts and files as mentioned in Rule 65 and bye-law No. 142 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Rules, 1961. It is the responsibility of the secretary to take the entry in time in all registers kept in the society (byelaw No. 144). Arun, Owner of Geeta Estate Consultant adds, “The society members are not professionals and they are nominated to perform the job. But with increasing demand from the authorities, societies have to understand that they need to outsource work to these professionals to maintain the records.“

DIGITAL RECORDS:

Nibhrant Shah, director of Isprava explains, “As a society advances, the quantum of records piles up and makes its storage and usability a big problem for those involved. Technology is allowing us to maintain documents systematically in a hassle-free manner. Easy access to digital records enables swift conflict resolution.“Anil Parekh, a resident of Juhu adds, “Due to the floods in 2005, all our society documents were damaged. But now, we have started getting all our documents scanned and are saving them in the digital format for easy storage and retrieval.“