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YOUR HOME IN AN APARTMENT

The apartment culture is of recent origin and has become very popular. This type of group housing is not alien to the human culture. Earlier people used to live on riverbanks in groups sharing common facilities.

In the early twentieth century it was known for such group housing but in a different manner. Group housing popularly known as "Vatara" was very common where small dwelling units were constructed in a single compound and families lived in perfect harmony and unison. The Vatara, used to be horizontal or L shaped with single storey buildings whereas the apartments are vertical with multistoried buildings.

In Bangalore in the early seventies, the first Apartment constructed was Shalimar Apartment. In the early eighties Apartment culture began to show its presence in Malleshwaram. Apartment Culture is rapidly picking up.

Advantages

Flats have certain advantages when compared to independent houses. Community living offers security and certain amenities and facilities, which an individual cannot afford and which can be shared with other occupants as common facilities at minimal cost. Facilities like gym, recreational center, swimming pool, sauna; Jacuzzi, full-fledged security, clubhouses, sports and games come at nominal cost. Generally Apartments have Owners Residents Association, which attend to the problems of the residents and carryout repairs.

The purchaser of a flat need not worry about issues like obtaining plan sanctions, finding a contractor, supervising the construction, getting water, power, sanitary connection and other related formalities, which the Developer takes care. Purchaser may have the interior done according to his needs on payment of some additional fee.

Sanctioning Authority

With respect to sanctioning of plans, various approving authorities have powers with some restrictions. The village Panchayat cannot approve a plan of a multistoried building; High Rise Building Complex or a Building more than 8000 sq.ft of land and any building plan exceeding the prescribed height has to be approved by Town Planning Authority. It must be kept in mind that any massive violation of the sanction plan will face the threat of demolition of the building at the future date.

It is also necessary to ascertain whether the building has complied with the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), that is, total built up area permitted on the plot with prescribed setbacks vacant space that is to be left around the building.

Financial institutions are currently offering long-term loans at a very low interest rate. Housing finance companies and banks also prefer financing the flats as multiple beneficiaries live in a single compound and it would be easy for them to follow up and they need not spend much on legal formalities.

Any high rise structure should have clearance from BWSSB, BESCOM, Fire force, Telephone department, Pollution Control Board and also from the Airport Authority of India.

Disadvantage

No doubt, there are certain disadvantages also. Most important is the lack of privacy which is available in independent houses where the resident is the king of the house and has unlimited freedom. The owner of a flat cannot have additional construction and alteration. Even in order to repair a leak on the ceiling one has to obtain permission of the association and the person living on the upper floor. Whereas, in the case of an independent house, the owner may add additional construction as per his requirements and let out the same to supplement his income without any hindrance.

Generally local people prefer independent houses. The resale value of flats is less, since the building gets depreciated and demolishing a flat and reconstructing it is also not possible. In case of independent house, though the building gets depreciated, the land value appreciates. If necessary the old building may be demolished for new construction. Then the resale value of an independent house is always more. Flat owners have to pay monthly maintenance charges, which at times will be equal to or quarter or half the value of rents paid to a house, depending upon the amenities provided.

Process of Purchase

The purchaser of a flat has to take into account the location of the flat, its proximity to civic amenities and also select the builder according to his track record. It is always advisable to visit some of the projects completed by the builder before booking a flat.

Verification of the title of the property is one of the important aspects of purchase of property. Though the builder provides legal certificate from their advocate, the purchaser should always independently get the title verified by his own Advocate. Only advocates with a minimum of 7 years of experience are eligible to issue legal opinion for the apartment to the Developer as per the Karnataka Apartment Act.

If the property is sold by a general power of attorney holder, verify the terms of GPA and whether the owner who has given the GPA is surviving or not, should also be checked.

Validity of the GPA, Joint Venture and other Title deeds are most important factors that should be kept in mind. Agreement with the developer should contain the ownership details, sale price, payment schedule, Specifications of the construction, car parking details, undivided share of land, common amenities, Penalty clause for both parties, what are the other deposit charges to be deposited, Registration charges, whether Sales Tax is applicable or not, any other expenses etc., should be mentioned in the Agreement. Further, it must also contain the layout plan, sketch of your portion of the apartment, with specifications, date of commencement of construction work, date of handing over of the apartment, penalty for delayed construction and payment defaults, no escalation clause, guarantee for the quality of construction and construction materials used.

Conveyance/Sale Deed

After completion of the apartment construction the sale deed should be executed by the vendor of the land and the Promoters jointly as per the understanding. The sale deed must also mention the duties and responsibilities of the buyer and the seller, the purchaser has to pay the required stamp duty and complete the registration formalities. Registered sale deed is the main document that confers on you the ownership of the flat. On the basis of the sale deed the Revenue authority issues documents of title like the Khatha Certificate, Khatha Extract and Tax paid receipts.

Price of a flat is determined, based on the various factor like location, specification of the work, carpet area and percentage of Super Built up Area.

Undivided Share of Land

When you purchase an apartment you are entitled to an undivided share in the total land area. The undivided share depends upon the built up area of the apartment and the land area. As the total built up area increases the undivided share decreases and vice versa.

Share Certificate Method

Purchase of the flat by share certificate method is very popular in Maharashtra. A registered Co-op. Societies acquires land, constructs flats which are allotted to its members; whereas in Karnataka, the share certificate method is not accepted by general public, financial institutions, State Government, etc. Karnataka Government is of the view that individual flats should be registered by regular conveyance. When tracing the title of this type of share certificate method, verification of the society record, its byelaws and share certificates is very important.

Super Built-Up Area

You must also know what certain areas are called with reference to a building. From the floor area ratio and site area, we can work out the total constructed area. Plinth Area is the total area of construction. This includes all the floors as well as the wall thickness. Carpet area is the area inside the constructed building between the walls and the area actually usable. Super built up area is the saleable area generally applicable to apartments. This includes the wall thickness, projected common areas and the set back area. Some promoters will adopt certain methods to arrive at more Super built up area to reduce the sale price. The purchaser should be very cautious about the Super built area, on which the price of flat is determined. Super built up area consists of actual flat area plus proportionate area of common areas like staircase cum verandah, balcony and other common areas etc. Carpet area is the area available for actual residing. Generally super built up area should not be more than 25% of the carpet area.

Apartment Owners' Association

After the construction and handing over of flats, the owners of apartments form an association to take care of the needs of the residents and to upkeep of the common areas. The builder must hand over detailed drawings of electrical wiring, piping and drainage system to the association. The builder must also hand over to the Association all the original Documents of Title and Sale deed including plan, drawings etc., as without proper drawings, it would be difficult for the association to maintain the apartment building.

The building should have lift facility. One has to examine the provision for water supply and sanitary connection. In many cases, though bore wells are drilled, the yield is much less. So the residents have to purchase water from outside agencies at exorbitant costs.

The apartment must strictly adhere to the building byelaws. It must comply with all rules and regulations laid down by the pollution control board, corporation or municipality, housing development board and other authorities. Violation of laws will create great problems for the occupants of the apartment block.

At the time of commencement, the builder should obtain work commencement certificate and occupation certificate, at the end of the completion of construction, from the authority which sanctioned the plan.

These are the general important points one should look into before purchasing a flat. Right choice of the builder is very important. Do not go by glossy advertisements and tall claims. There are many reputed builders in the field with impressive track records. Choose one of the good developers to satisfy your needs.