Who’s Responsible for ‘Leakage’ Repairs in societies
By Legal Bureau
Introduction-Everyone is waiting for rainy season and now finally after a long wait the season of rainy is finally going to be arrived. But what is the first thought which comes into general public minds when we have our anticipation about the rains??? Hmmm… hold on… let me share you my intuition about it. It’s about leakage, flat’s walls getting wet during the monsoon and the list goes on. There is often a lot of dispute and complaints about it between the society and its members and the society and its committee do not respond to any of the complains of its members that who shall be really held responsible for it. And now here is the answer for it.
The answer of your each and every questions and dilemma is cited under section 160 of model bye-laws which says that the following Repairs and Maintenance of the Society’s property shall be carried out by the society at its cost:
A)(i) All Internal Roads
(ii) Compound walls
(iii) External water pipes
(v) Water storage tanks
(vi) Drainage lines
(vii) Septic tanks
(ix) Terrace and parapet walls
(x) Roof of flats
(xi) Staircases lights
(xii) Street lights
(xiii) Outside walls of the building/buildings
(xiv) All leakages of water (xv) electric lines up to main switches in the flats and (xvi) lifts if any
(xvii) Roofs of the flat and ceiling and the plaster thereon on the top floor on account of the leakages of the rain water through the terrace.
(B) All these are exhaustive in nature and the repairs not covered by the underneath Bye-law, shall be carried out by the members at their cost.
Accordingly, if there is leakage on the external walls of your flat leading to leakage within, the onus of repairs falls squarely on the Society at its cost. Send the managing committee a legal notice for the same through a lawyer and follow up with the secretary of the society. There is also a prominent judgment referring the above matter given by Bombay high court in the case of Humble Home Co-Op Housing Society Limited V/S Sham Balani And Another Decided On Wednesday, June 28, 2006 and its being ordered in the above matter that Terrace repairs is the responsibility of the society .The first issue has been answered by holding that the terrace which forms the roof of the disputant’s lat is the property of the society and therefore, in reply to issue No. 2, the society has been directed to pay an amount of 8.458/-
As per the old Bye-laws it was stipulated that internal leakage as well as external leakage of the premises was the responsibility of society. However, in the new Bye-Laws it is specifically mentioned that internal leakage will be the responsibility of the member.
If the resident above and/ or society is not co-operating to solve the internal leakage problem, you can complaint to local BMC ward office. BMC has the power to inspect and then issue a notice to the resident staying above, under section 381 of the BMC Act. If the member or the society still does not act, then there are several district court orders (Vile Parle district court order on Prashant Trivedi v/s Bansi CHS, as reported by DNA newspaper on 22/1/2011) also in such matters of internal flat leakage.
Other solutions for solving internal flat leakage problem:
- File police complaint.
- Mandatory injunction against him/her for carrying out the repairs to the seepage or file a civil suit for injunction and obtain stay order restraining that resident from using the area which is the cause for the seepage
- For quick response file a petition u/s 133 crpc in the court of local 2nd Class Magistrate.
- Criminal cases can also be filed against him/her with charges of criminal intimidation and verbal abuses/insult.