Property buyers in the city have finally started asking for what should have rightly come free like parking slots,something they were unaware of till recently. At least a few have taken recourse to legal action as well.
When Preeti Kadam booked a one-bedroom flat worth Rs 15 lakh in Warje a year ago,the builder had demanded additional money for parking slot. And Kadam had agreed to the conditions in December 2007. But five months down the line,she took on the builder,armed with additional knowledge on parking rules,and refused to pay for parking.
I figured that since he is asking for money in black,it cannot be legal, Kadam said,adding that she had also been able to motivate two other buyers in the building of nine apartments not to pay extra for parking. We took legal advice and found that the money for parking slot is included in the price of the apartment, she said.
Almost a year after the Bombay High Court ruled that builders couldnt sell stilt parking slots,little seems to have changed on the ground with wannabe house owners continuing to pay in lakhs for parking slots and builders not issuing a receipt against them for obvious reasons.
The Grahak Panchayat,the citys leading consumer forum,will taken up the issue on the Consumer Day on March 15. The Pune District Housing Federation is also planning to amend the by-laws of the cooperative housing societies.
It was in April 2008 that the Bombay High Court ruled that parking did not fall under the floor space index (FSI) granted to the builder,and therefore could not be sold. The ruling further clarified that the developer is obliged to provide the same when the carpet area of the house is a minimum of 35 sq m.
When contacted,Lalit Kumar Jain,president of Promoters and Builders Association of Pune said the ruling pertained to a specific case. The cost of the parking lot is anywhere between Rs 1.75 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh,depending on the type of parking. We can either ask for parking charges separately or incorporate it in the cost of the flat. We will discuss in the association meeting on how to go about the charges, he said.
Lawyers do not agree. Said Jayant Kulkarni,one of them,According to the Development Control Rules,the parking area and common amenities are incorporated in the cost of the flat,which is why the corporation does not charge an extra tax for parking or any of the common amenities. Kulkarni is the legal adviser for Pune District Cooperative Housing Federations,a registered body of 2,000 housing societies in the city.
The Pune City Development Control Rules,and more recently a Bombay High Court judgment on Nehalchand Laloochand Pvt Ltd vs Panchali Co-operative Housing Society Ltd,clarifies that under the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act 1963,builders are obliged to provide parking space to all apartments in the society and cannot charge buyers for the same.