The department of town and country planning (DTCP) on Thursday issued a long-awaited clarification regarding the charging of maintenance fees from allottees of affordable housing projects in the state. The department has outlined the mandatory services for which the some expenses have to bore by the builder and some by the allottees. The Punjab and Haryana High Court in March last year directed the department to issue a clarification on this matter.
For the last several years, home buyers have opposed the maintenance fees being charged in affordable projects. They claimed that when the policy was launched in 2013, it was promised that there would be no maintenance fees for the initial five years. There are around 150 affordable housing projects in Gurugram and the allottees have been paying the maintenance fees at the rate of ₹3 psf to ₹4 psf due to lack of clarification on the issue of maintenance fees and the five-year free period, said the federation of affordable home buyers.
Senior DTCP officials said that the department has divided the services into two categories, which costs have to be borne by the developer, and which needs to be paid by allottees.
As per the directions issued by Amit Khatri, director general, town and country planning, on Wednesday, the developers of affordable housing will have to bear the cost of maintaining common areas, open spaces and other infrastructure. On the other hand, the homebuyers have been asked to pay for their individual consumption of electricity, water and other services, which also include some common services as well. The direction also says that any charges decided through bilateral agreements will be settled through bilateral agreements.
As per the detailed order issued by DG, DTCP, the developers will have to bear the cost of maintenance and upkeep all roads, open spaces, public parks, maintain public health services, annual maintenance of lifts, bear the cost of cleaning common areas, bear the cost of providing electricity in common areas, upkeep of electrical equipment in common areas, including electric poles, bulbs and lights, lamps posts, light installed in parks, green areas, internal roads. The builder will be responsible for maintenance of the DG sets, generator sets (excluding) the running cost of diesel). The developer will maintain the parking space, running of sewage treatment plant, expenses incurred upon salaries of management staff and engineering manpower.
On the other hand, the department has mandated that the affordable home allottees will have to bear the cost of individual electricity bill and water bill as per consumption, pay property tax if project is under MC limits, pay for door-to-door waste collection, garbage collection and upkeep of each floor, repair inside the flat either done through developer or any other agency, diesel cost for power backup, electricity bill for lifts, running cost of generators for power backup and taxes to be charged by central and state government.
Rajesh Kaushik, district town planner, Gurugram, said that the clarification issued by the department will clear all the doubts about the payment of maintenance fees by affordable allottees as every issue has been clearly defined.
“There is absolute clarity on what can be charged from the allottees and what the builder has to pay. This services have been divided in two categories and this direction will help in resolving the problems being faced by allottees,” he said, adding that detailed directions will be issued for the implementation of these directions.
The allottees, however, were not satisfied with the clarification and said that the the directions gave little relief to allottees, who bought homes because they were lured by the promise of free maintenance of five years for affordable projects. “Now what is free for the home buyers they have to bear all the expenses of running the services. The department has also inserted the clause of bilateral agreements, which will be used by developers to push their decision on hapless owners. The key problem of defect liability has also not been addressed,” said Ritu Barihok, legal advisor, federation of affordable home buyers and federation of apartment owners association.
Another affordable home buyers association said that this order should be implemented in letter and spirit and the excess money charged from allottees should be returned on priority.