Come March – the typical fiscal year end, most Apartment Complexes in India get busy with their annual elections – to elect a new Management Committee of the Apartment Owners’ Association or the RWA – Resident Welfare Association.
But many of us Apartment Owners / Apartment Residents have often resurfacing questions on what exactly is the definition of an Apartment Owners’ Association? What is its purpose? Its powers? Its duties? Its alignment with the legislation?
Here is an attempt at compiling answers to the above questions . This is in relevance to Apartment Owners Associations in Karnataka. For other states in India, information is most welcome!
The terms Association and Society in this post are used interchangeably.
How is an Apartment Owners Association (referred to as the ‘Association’ hereafter) formed in Bangalore?
The Association is formed by 7 or more owners group in the Apartment Complex approaching the Registrar of Societies together and make an application that:
- Says that they desire to form themselves in to a society under Karnataka Societies Registration Act 1960.
- Encloses a memorandum with following details: desired name of the Association, aims and objectives of the association, and who in the association will be authorized to correspond with the Registrar of Societies (typically the President of the Association).
- Encloses the Bye-laws (rules and regulations) of the Association.
- Encloses the prescribed fee.
All applicants sign on the application, along with a witness’ signature and Voila! an Association is born.
Note: The Association can also be formed under The Karnataka Apartment Owners Association Act – 1972. Documents to be produced include the certified building plan of the building as-built and proof of the property being registered under the Registraton Act – 1908.
What are the various roles in the Apartment Owners Association?
The Member: Every owner of the apartment complex is a member of the Association. In the case of joint ownership, the first person named in the title document is typically the member. No person who is not an owner of an apartment in the complex can be a member of the association.
The Associate Member: Any person, or persons, other than the owner, who is wholly residing, occupying or otherwise in lawful possession of any apartment in complex becomes an Associate member of the association. The Associate member pays maintenance charges to use common facilities, but does not have right to vote, unless authorized by the owner of the flat in writing.
The General Body (GB): All members of the association form the General Body – this is the supreme authority of the Association. The GB may alter, rescind, add, or amend the bye-laws, with the approval and consent of at least 13 members voting in general body. All members of the association are bound by the bye-laws. The decision of the GB is binding on all members.
The Management Committee (MC): A board of members elected by and from the GB, that represents the Association before all government and other official or non official bodies in all matters concerning the building and other rights and interests of the members. The MC is typically composed of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer (together known as the Executive Committee) and 8 other members. The period of office of the elected members is typically 12 months. Such members are eligible for re-election for another term. The work of the MC is reviewed by the GB at the annual general body meeting or any other meeting.
As a member, what are my duties and rights?
Duties: Attend all General Body meetings, pay the dues decided by the General Body in a timely manner, abide by the Bye-Laws
Rights: Vote in the elections – each member, irrespective of the apartment type & size has a single vote at Annual General Body Meeting or in any other official meeting, elections, of the association. Should a member have ownership of more than one apartment, the number of votes shall be in proportion to the number of apartments owned. The member has a right to authorize a proxy to vote in his absence.
Each member of the association has the right to inspect all records, books of accounts of the association with 3 days prior notice to the Management Committee.
What are the duties of the Management Committee?
- Organize, social, cultural and recreational facilities and amenities for the resident, supervise the same and maintain or organize the maintenance of all common areas and amenities thereof.
- Assign the responsibilities for carrying out day to day administration of building and affairs of association to the employees appointed for such purpose
- Represent the members of the Association, in the matter relating to the building or arising in relation to it, with the aim of protecting their rights and interest
- Encourage and promote religious, cultural and educational activities and promote charitable feelings amongst members.
- Join hand with any other association for common and mutual benefits.
- Open and maintain one or more bank Accounts of the association in the name of the association with any nationalized bank as decided by the committee.
- Ensure that the income monies received by the association are applied in promoting the objectives of the association and are not available for distribution on any account amongst the members.
- Keep in custody of all original documents connected to the land and building, licences issued by any authorities in relation of the said building or land
What are the duties and powers of the President, Secretary and Treasurer?
- The president presides over all the committee meetings and has general control over all the affairs of the association. He/she is the person who can sue with the consent of the general body or defend any legal action against the association on behalf of the association, after taking appropriate legal advice.
- All legal proceedings are instituted and continued or defended by the president. He/she signs all documents and papers and vakalats relating thereto in the name and on behalf of the association.
- The president enters into contracts approved or delegated by the committee.
- In the absence of the president, for any reason whatsoever, the committee may authorize the secretary or the treasurer to sign all such documents, papers etc for and on behalf of the association.
The secretary is responsible for the executive administration of the association subject to the control of the committee.
- The treasure has custody of all properties of the association including the funds of the association.
- Heshe is empowered to operate the bank accounts of the association jointly, but not severally, with president, or secretary. Any such account operation is only for bonafide and authorized purpose of the association
- The treasurer maintains a petty cash account for meeting the immediate petty expenses.
On the question of alignment of the Apartment Owners’ Association with the Courts of Law, here is a good article from The Hindu, albeit a bit dated. The takeaway from this article: “it is important that the association be held together by close bonds of trust and goodwill. ”
So, go ahead! Elect your new Association Management Committee, and let them assume office with the re-assuring knowledge that by their side is you, and is Apartment Adda*!:)
* Apartment Adda helps Apartment Owners’ Associations / RWAs achieve their goals by providing efficient communication and management tools online. For more information, please do visit us at www.ApartmentAdda.com
Note: The above article has been compiled from Karnataka Societies Registration Act and typical Bye-Laws of Apartment Owners’ Associations. Please be aware that each Association has its own set of bye-laws and there are chances that the definitions & duties in your Association is different from those laid out above. You are advised to study the bye-laws of your own association for an accurate understanding of your duties and rights.