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A brief guide to the maintenance charges
A brief guide to the maintenance charges
The general wear-n-tear, colouring, plasters, lifts, lobbies, garden-areas, shared amenities, security are some few names which require some financial attention from the dwellers.

Any physical body needs maintenance, be it the human body or a natural or artificial entity. Buildings that we live or work in are the similar story, and since they are concrete structures their maintenance is one thing we can't avoid. Else, we pay a higher cost in terms of losses. There are many aspects to the term maintenance when real estate in concerned. It varies from paced-interval checks of the structure itself as well the general up-keeping of this visible state. In simple words, general wear-n-tear, colouring, plasters, lifts, lobbies, garden-areas, shared amenities, security are some few names which require some financial attention from the dwellers.

When one buys a plot of land and makes a house, the whole maintenance bit is supposed to be taken care of themselves. It gets slightly tricky when people live in multi-storied buildings along with many other families. Mumbai realty scene has a term known as Cooperative Housing Society (CHS), which are registered collective bodies and are constituted of members who share the same building as their shelter. The CHS is formed when the builder passes over the entire possession to the buyers and they acquire their say in the land they partly own. As a general convention, the builders charge some preliminary lump-sum maintenance charge at the time of booking, no law prescribes the money or the percentage chargeable; though the market rate prevailing in the vicinity should be taken into account.

Mumbai's maintenance floats around at about 0.75% of the cost of purchase. For example, if a 2BHK apartment is bought for ₹2,00,00,000 with 1000 sq. ft. of the area, the maintenance cost shall be ₹1,50,000 p.a. (₹12,500 per month) which is supposed to include the basic maintenance elements which are mentioned above. This is to give the buyers an idea of how much is the acceptable maintenance charge in proportion to the total cost, which also varies depending on the number and quality of amenities and the number of residents sharing the cost.

Although RERA doesn't note down any strict guidelines to safeguard homebuyers, it assures them to redressal shall any ambiguity arise. The homebuyers can ask the developer to offer them a close approximate at the time of booking as well as a breakdown of the cost during the possession. A steep and unreasonable jump in the cost should ring a bell and alert the buyers to report it to the authorities. Despite it being a grey area, there is prudence which we expect from in the prospective buyers.

Paying maintenance charges is not compulsory either, yet a market practice. This lets us advise you that you can always challenge the maintenance charges and opine your justifications. Once the CHS is formed, the committee gets to decide the costs and adapts a formal channel to raise the funds, also where your opinions and complaints count.

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