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People with different culture, taste and habits living in separate dwelling units situateD within a compound is not new to the country as it was prevalent in the past under the name and style as Vatara houses wherein small dwelling units were constructed within a compound for occupation and useD by different families as their residence. Vatarah houses were constructed in horizontal or in L shape rows with single storey structures unlike the present day multiple storey vertical apartments.

Apartment culture:

Apartment culture, though of recent origin, has gained tremendous acceptance by the people in a very short time. Generally, it is seen that in apartments different backgrounds, origin and culture live in good harmony and brotherhood. Shalimar Apartment, built in early seventies was probably the first Apartment that was constructed in Bangalore. Apartment culture further gained acceptance in early eighties when several apartments were built in Malleshwaram and other places. Since-then construction of apartments is in full swing in Bangalore and a large number of reputed builders and Promoters are busily engaged in the development of different Apartment Projects in and around Bangalore to meet the ever increasing demand for commercial and residential apartments.

Merits of apartments:

Apartments have certain advantages in comparison with the independent houses. The first and foremost advantage the purchaser of an apartment do enjoy is that he need not have to worry about the issues like obtaining plan sanctions, finding a building contractor, supervising the construction work, obtaining basic amenities such as water, power, sewerage facilities for the building and so on which is taken care of by the Developer. The purchaser of apartment need not have to worry about any civic problems which he may encounter after his occupation of the apartment, since these problems are tackled by the Apartment Owners Association/Builder for which a nominal charges are levied.

The next advantage an apartment owner gets would be the social harmony he would get due to community living. A sort of bondage is developed amongst the residents of apartments.

Further, for the exclusive use of apartment owners/occupants almost all the apartments now-a-days, do have facilities like gym, health-club, recreational center, sports club, swimming pool, private security system within the premises for which again a nominal fee is charged.

Demerits of Apartments:

Even though living in apartments do have many advantages, they are not totally free from disadvantages. A Person who lives in an apartment generally is deprived of his privacy. Further, the apartment owner is prevented from carrying out any major addition, alteration or modification to his apartment to suit his needs. All such repairs, alterations and modifications are to be carried out with least inconvenience to other apartment owners and any damage or loss caused to the other apartment owners and any damage or loss caused to the other apartment owners are to be compensated. The amount collected by the Apartment Owners Association to meet the expenses for general maintenance and upkeep may be more than what a person would have spent had he owned an independent house and could be much more than what is required for such maintenance. There is every likelihood of such common fund being misused by the office bearers of the Association or over which there could be some misunderstanding amongst the apartment owners leading to unsavory situation.

Apartments would fetch a much less price compared to an independent house during its second sale. Further, any dilapidated single apartment would fetch no buyers since the land on which such apartment is built is owned by all the apartment owners and the seller does not have the exclusive ownership right over the land on which such apartment is situated. On the contrary, a dilapidated independent house would generally get prospective buyers irrespective of the condition of the structure since new structures could be put on such sites after demolishing the existing ones and the seller of such a dilapidated house will transfer his right, title and ownership of the land as well.

How to proceed?

As in the case of purchase of any other property, verification of ownership title is one of the pre-requisites for purchase of an apartment also. Though the builder of apartments provides legal opinion given by his advocate regarding subsistence of marketable and valid title of the vendors, it is always better that the intending purchaser of an apartment gets the title report of the property scrutinized form an advocate of his choice having vas knowledge and experience in property dealings. The legal scrutiny report shall contain detailed information regarding the origin, flow of title, present status of the owner, validity of the GPA, Joint Venture, if any, entered into between the owner and the Developer.

Another very important aspect which requires consideration is to ascertain whether the approval for construction of apartments and the plan has been obtained form the competent authority and to find out whether commencement and completion certificates have been issued by such an authority.

Location of the building is another important aspect which one has to consider before purchasing an apartment. This is mainly because any building which has no proper access to main roads with insufficient public transport and other civic amenities such as water, electricity supply, proper sanitation, parks, market place, hospitals, schools, etc. would pu8t the purchaser of flat to a great hardship and inconvenience.

Apart from all these, the previous history and record of the Builder is necessary to be verified for which purpose, it is always advisable to visit some of the4 projects executed by the builder in advance.

Powers of the Sanctioning Authority:

For grant of approval for building co0nstruction and the plans, different authorities are delegated with this power under different statutes. While, the village Panchayats are empowered to give licence for construction of building consisting of ground and first floor, the City Municipal Corporation can approve plans for ground plus three upper floors. The BMP or BDA can approve building plans of land for construction of multistoried buildings apart from constructing and independent house. In the case of high rise buildings consisting of more than four floors, No Objection Certificates form BWSSB, BESCOM, Fire force authority, BSNL, Airport Authority of India and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board are to be compulsorily obtained.

It must be kept in mind that anyone who violates the building bye-laws and zonal regulations would expose himself to the risk of demolition of such structure any time in the future.

Conveyance/Sale Deed

Normally, before purchase of an apartment, a sale agreement is executed by the Owner, [represented by the GPA Holder where there exists a GPA holder] and the Builder, agreeing to sell an undivided share in the land in favour of the intending purchaser. While at the same time, a construction agreement is also executed by the Builder in favour of the intending purchaser agreeing to construct an apartment for him. Once construction of apartment is complete, a sale deed is executed jointly by the vendor of the land and the builder/Promoter in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Joint Development Agreement, if any, in favour of the purchaser. The sale deed specifically recites the duties and responsibilities of the buyer and the seller. As regards sale consideration, it is arrived at upon consideration of the various aspects such as location, specification of the work, carpet area and percentage of Carpet area to Super Built up Area and as agreed to between the parties.

Undivided Share of Land

Undivided share is the percentage of share conveyed in the total land along with the apartment to the purchaser. This percentage depends upon the built up area of an apartment and the actual extent of land upon which the apartments are constructed. As the built up area increase the undivided share over the land also increases.

Super Built-Up Area

Super built up area is the saleable area generally applicable to apartments. Super built up area consists of actual flat area plus proportionate common areas like staircase cum verandah, balcony, lift area and other common areas etc.

Since the price of an apartment depends upon the super built up area, it is advisable for the purchaser to have some knowledge about Carpet area, plinth area and super built up area before purchase of an apartment. Generally super built up area should not be more than 25% of the carpet area.

Purchaser shall bear registration expenses:

It is obligatory on the part of the purchaser to bear the expenses incurred towards stamp duty, registration charges and other incidental expenses to be incurred in connection with the registration of the apartment. Infact, the Builders are collecting Sales tax, service tax, statutory deposits for Bescom and BWSSB.

Registered sale deed:

Registered sale deed is the primary document which establishes ownership title of the apartment in favour of the purchaser. Relying on the sale deed the concerned Revenue authorities issue other supporting g documents of title such as Khatha Endorsement, Khatha Extract and the Tax paid receipts.

Registration under Apartment Owners' association:

After completion of construction and handing over of the apartments to the purchasers, the owners of such apartments are required to form an association for the general well-being of the owners or residents of the apartments and for maintenance of common areas. Upon formation of such an association, the builder is duty bound to hand over originals of all the relevant title deeds, detailed drawings of electrical, water and sanitary lines to enable the Association to utilize the same for the common good whenever required.

A word of caution:

Do not go by glossy advertisements and tall claims of the builder. There are several instances wherein the apartments purchased by a few are inflicted with certain latent defects which remain unattended to by the builder when once the sale transaction is complete pushing the purchaser to suffer both in terms of comfort and finance. There are many reputed builders available in the market with impressive track records. Choose any one of them and have a peaceful enjoyment of your apartment.