Thursday, 29 January 2009

Mumbai uncooperative housing society

I remember reading about the cooperative societies of Mumbai as a kid in social studies. The concept was evolved, apparently, to help middle class folks get affordable housing.

I did not really encounter this epidemic called cooperative housing societies in my initial years at Mumbai. I first stayed as a paying guest with this aunty at Nutan Nagar, Bandra. Her matronly digs were just right for me - home food (even if veg), clothes washed, ironed and put tidily into the cupboard.

I then rented a place at Khar just before we got married. We were there for two years. Again no housing society woes.

We first encountered the mafia when we decided to buy a tiny place at Pali Naka, Bandra. We came across an evil and unhelpful cretin while buying the house. He and his cronies really hassled the gentleman who was selling the house to us. The transaction got delayed. Our first bank loan application fell through and the bank kept back the ten thousand Rupees we had paid as application fees. Money we could ill afford to lose. And I can't begin to describe our trauma at the possibility of losing the place.

Five years later we decided to take a larger rented place. Our plan was to rent our existing place to narrow the gap.

Well the trauma is back and how. The evil secretary has been replaced by another old clown. I checked with him about renting our house and he said there would be no problem. Now that I have gone ahead and taken the place he says that we can't rent out house. When pushed he said that there is some resolution passed years back by the evil secretary saying people can't rent out their houses. I asked him to show it to me and he said he can't show it. Why? Even the government shows stuff under RTI.

Reasoning with them is a lost cause. I have swallowed my pride and tried to sweet talk them. But the old clown goes on and on like a freaking stuck record. He seems to be quite keen to drag this on and on.

What is really ridiculous is that it is our house and we are willing to go ahead with the legal requirements - registered agreement, police NOC - but no, that won't work for this guy. In other words I cannot decide what to do with my house in this supposedly free country.

I don't know what people get from causing harm to others. We are losing out money here as we have to pay our loan EMIs and the rent. But does he care? No. So why call it a 'cooperative' society?

This is the most ridiculous system I have come across. How can a group of unrelated people interfere in other people's property? They take money from the buyer and seller when a purchase happens. They take a higher maintenance if one rents out a house. And what does one get in return? Pure harassment.

I just can't figure out the reason from their existence. The claim of 'affordable housing' is a joke. Bombay has the most expensive housing in India after all.

Plus this leads to unconstitutional policies where people are not allowed to rent out/ sell to Muslims, single people or even non vegetarians at times.

Hitler would have approved of this fascist system.

Any practical suggestions on a way out?


Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions since I don't know anything about how legal stuff works in Mumbai but it sounds horrible so I can only offer some sympathy.

Scarlett said...

Two options I can think of, off the cuff...

If you have the contact details of the person who sold the house to you, you can speak to him about the rules & regulations of the society, i.e., whether you ARE allowed to rent a house you own in that building or not? Could be the new secretary is just a crook who doesn't want tenants staying in the building.

The other option is to get hold of a lawyer who might help you out with some answers - as to whether the new secretary is right in not letting you rent the place out IN THE ABSENCE of a copy of the resolution, and whether the resolution passed by the old secretary is valid in the court of law in the first place.

Doing both might be a good idea. Hope you can sort things out. Bombay housing societies can be a real pain. Been there, done that.

The knife said...

@Jessica: the average person in India avoids litigation. Cases take years to complete. Very different from the sense we get off the American legal system (from movies, soaps and books) where I think it is far more natural to recourse to leagal measures. Even sympathy helps when you are banging a head on the wall :(

@Scarlett: the gentleman who sold it us has expired. So he has taken the secret to the grave. I did mull over checking with a lawyer on the standing of a 'resolution' which doesn't exist. Its just that as I wrote in the comment above we are not used to getting into legal stuff.

Hopefully there will be some developments

k said...

Let's start by kicking Carlos in the balls

Scarlett said...

@Knife - I'm not saying you should get drawn into the legal battle. All I meant was, if things just refuse to work out, maybe you could just check with a lawyer if the 'resolution' will hold in a court of law. If not, you can go ahead & rent your place, no?

The knife said...

@Scarlett: That's the plan. Need to move our butts right now. Mom and brother have just come in. We've started showing the house now in any case. Plus as you can see, K is showing some subtle signs of violence

k said...

should we unleash our final weapons - mummy and mummy?

The knife said...

your ruthless streak gets meaner

firefly said...

You may read teh Model Bye Laws -- there are 3 clauses as per which an owner may sublet an apartment. If you fall under those categories - CHS cannot stop you (they may obstruct) - but you can take legal recourse!!

The knife said...

@Firelfly, thanks for dropping in and thanks for your suggestion. We have read the three conditions recently and are planning to apply soon once we get a tenant. We have got a letter from the deputy registrar of housing societies which will hopefully help us fight the goons. Thanks for your wishes