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Redevelop your Building - Approach and Do’s and Don’ts for the Society members

21 April 2016

In a city like Mumbai, the redevelopment of old buildings has now become quite common. People have started realizing that every building has its shelf-life and it is necessary to get it redone from scratch, for the safety of your lives and your homes. A few years of trouble that involves shifting and waiting for the redeveloped building to be ready, helps you to get a lifetime of happiness in a new home. However, there have been numerous cases during redevelopment projects, where tenants have been taken for a ride because of unclear clauses or lack of approvals.

It is important to understand that the responsibility of a society redevelopment project lies equally on the shoulders of the builders (real estate developers) as well as the society members. Many society members take things for granted, and by the time they realize their folly, it may get too late. And your house is perhaps the biggest thing that you are likely to buy or invest in your life. So, it makes sense to be aware of all the key points related to redevelopment guidelines and rules.

The best approach is to have an extremely detailed agreement, where every clause is discussed upon and written down after mutual understanding. Let us go through some of the important dos and dont’s that tenants need to remember for the successful redevelopment of their building.

Do’s

Before you finalise a developer, get your facts right with regards to the incentive limit against FSI (Floor Space Index) that varies across different cities and areas. Your efforts should be to get more incentive limit that benefits all the society members.

Make sure that when the building redevelopment plan is laid out, there is a clear transparency about which society member is getting how much space from the builder, and / or is buying how much additional space. This would help to avoid any discrepancies later.

Keep a tap on the reimbursement parameters with regards to your house rent, which should be equivalent to the prevalent prices in and around your locality. For this, you need to do a bit of research on your own by going around and asking the actual house rents that are being paid by tenants in other buildings.

You also need to check whether the builder agrees to pay for the relocation (movers and packers) in any of the clauses.

You need to get your information right about the annual increase in house rent near your locality. This will help you to get the correct rental escalation clause in the agreement, as the redevelopment process will take a few years.

Openly discuss about the additional amenities that the builder plans to provide after the completion of the redevelopment project. This will have a direct impact on your post redevelopment maintenance costs, which are bound to be higher than earlier. Hence, it is necessary that every member of your society is aware about it and agrees to it. Accordingly, you can ask the builder to reduce or increase amenities like garden, play room, covered parking, additional lift, etc.

Ensure the builder deposits the right percentage of the collected amount in a separate account only for your building. This way you can keep a track on the expenditure and make sure that your funds are not being utilized for any other buildings being developed by the same builder.

Ensure that the exact time-frame for development of the building is clearly stated in the agreement by the builder. And get a proper delay penalty clause, mutually agreed between your society members and the builder.

Be smart enough to make it clear to the builder about having the approvals in place for any additional floors that he wishes to construct. This has often been the reason of delay for several projects.

Dont’s

Do not be in a hurry to select a developer to handle your redevelopment project. Get in touch with several builders and patiently look at what they have to offer.

Do not approve a builder quickly after his offers are liked by every society member, without any legal consultation from atleast two different qualified professionals. This helps you to ensure that all approvals are in place, and that you are not being offered something that may not be legally possible.

Do not opt for a builder who has delayed atleast one of his earlier development or redevelopment projects. A proper check of the history of the builder’s work is extremely important for this purpose. And this can be done by interacting with the existing residents of some of the builder’s residential properties.

Do not allow the builder to place the non-compliance or non-approval responsibility on some one else. Ensure that the builder has right contacts and is confident of getting all regulatory approvals in time.

Do not wait for a problem to arise before visiting the housing society registrar or civil / consumer court. You can pay few visits in advance to know about the likely problems that tenants face, which can make you take the necessary precautions beforehand.

Do not ignore or compromise on matters related to flat height, bore well, three-phase meter, etc.

Do not allow any changes to the building plan after it has been finalised and agreed upon by everyone. Any changes have to be approved by everyone, including the legal consultants and advisors.