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Monday, September 30, 2013

Building terrace must be open to all residents: HC

Mumbai: No resident can be allowed to obstruct the BMC's move to ensure access to the building's terrace to all residents and for emergencies, the Bombay high court has ruled. 

    A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel dismissed a petition filed by a resident of a building in Grant Road who had challenged the notices issued by the municipal corporation. 
    The judges also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the flat owner for making false statements and misleading the court that the builder had sold the terrace attached to the seventh floor flat to her. 
    "Such parties cannot be given any discretion
ary and equitable relief, much less [allowed] to obstruct a public body from performing the statutory duties and ensuring that there is free access to all persons to an area called terrace and, particularly, to take care of any emergent situation," said the judges, adding, "thepetitioner wants to usurp this area in the garb of challenging this notice when she has failed to point out her entitlement to the terrace". 
    The court was irked over what it called a "suppression of material and facts" and termed it a "gross abuse of the process of the court". 
    The petitioner Tasneem Dhariwala, who resided on the seventh floor of Amrutulla Lane at Grant Road, had challenged the notice issued by the BMC under section 54 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act. The corporation had said that the grill that barred access to the terrace was unauthorized and sought its removal. 


• A resident of a Grant Road building had erected a grill that barred access to the seventh floor terrace attached to her flat 

• She claimed that the builder had sold her the terrace area in 2005 

• However, the court found no evidence in the sale agreement and refused to go by mere consent terms 
Agreement didn't mention sale of terrace area: Court 
Mumbai: The petitioner, who challenged a notice issued by the municipal corporation, claimed the developer who had constructed the building in 2004 sold the terrace flat to her in 2005 and furnished allotment letters. Advocate Trupti Puranik, counsel for the BMC, denied her claim and said that as per the plans the terrace was not meant for the exclusive use of the flat owner. 
    The court pointed to the sale agreement between the developer and the flat purchaser which did not mention any sale of the terrace area. The petitioner's lawyers then relied on the consent terms in the court case against the builder to show that they were entitled to exclusive access to the terrace. 
    The judges, however, said that mere consent terms were not enough in the absence of any sale agreement. "We do not find any document or deeds executed conferring any title in the terrace as claimed by the petitioners," the judges said. 
    "We find that while challenging the notices (issued by the BMC) parties like the petitioner are bold enough to make false statements," the court said while slapping a fine on the petitioner.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

JAIPUR City’s property scene not in pink of health

 Five years after a turbocharged growth that saw property prices more than double, realty developers say the slowdown is beginning to trigger a price correction. Rates can come down by 10% in the shortterm and the market will remain stagnant for 12-18 months. 

    "Today, flats are overpriced by 30%. The end-user demand has dipped. Investors occupy 70% of the market. The slowdown and high interest rates will make it unsustainable for investors to hold on to property for long. A correction of 10% in the short term is likely. Thereafter prices may remain stagnant for 18 months," says Nagen Choudhary, general secretary, Township Developers' Association of Rajasthan. "The rupee's freefall has not translated into any significant rise in NRI demand," Choudhary adds. 
    "A two-BHK flat in the city which cost Rs 20 lakh in 2010 is now worth Rs 50 lakh," N K Gupta, chairman of Manglam Group, says. 
    "Even if there is a price correction, it won't be deep. The city's fundamental strengths won't change because of a temporary slowdown," Ajay Modi, a realty firm director, says.


BMC reworks FSI of tallest residential tower

Mumbai: A high court-directed report prepared by the civic administration could force the developer of Palais Royale, touted as India's tallest residential tower, to rework its plan. 

    The BMC has ordered that areas exempted from the Worli Naka building's floor space index (FSI) be now counted as part of it. FSI is a ratio that determines how much can be built on a plot. 
    The under-construction tower, planned up to 320m, was embroiled in litigation following allegations of building violations. Refuge areas, passages, swimming pools and structural columns were not included in the FSI when Palais Royale's plans were approved by the BMC seven years ago. 
    Asenior civic official said that municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte's order implied that the tower's total built up area could reduce by about 30%, a contention described as "speculative" by the developer. Kunte completed his report last week following last May's high court directive. 
    A spokesperson of the developer, 
Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd, said the firm had just received the order and would seek legal opinion. "We have all along followed legal sanctions and permissions and acted within 
law. The order appears to be in total vi
olation of the Bombay high court judgment and totally disregards the order of the city civil court. The existing sanctions given by municipal authorities and the state government after going through the torturous process of various departments and after due consideration have been ignored. We are confident that the judiciary will uphold the rule of law." 
    The building reached a height of 56 floors when work halted. An NGO, Janhit Manch, had filed a PIL against the developer, alleging a series of building violations. Although the court rejected most of the points raised in the PIL, it directed the commissioner to review the excessively large areas sanctioned by the BMC. 
    The BMC's report observed, "The builder tried to install the project, at times in defiance of regulations. This act of defiance was evident in the construction of 44th to 56th floors when BMC permission was only up to the 43th floor. This is a very serious matter… The project proponent needs to eschew temptation to take recourse to defiance and then to present a fait accompli to the planning authority.'' 

Last May, the high court refused to order demolition of 13 floors of Palais Royale, which built up to 56 floors while the BMC said it had permitted 43 
    The court observed that the permitted refuge area in the building appeared excessive and directed the municipal commissioner to reconsider the refuge area, which was exempt from FSI 
    It told the civic chief to examine the issue of passages at manor level and entrance, swimming pool, etc 

The total refuge area (fire shelters) in Palais Royale should be reduced from 15% to 4% as mandated by law. Excessive refuge areas (beyond 4%) is to be included in the FSI 
    Passages connecting to flats, swimming pools and covered areas cannot be considered as common areas to be accessed by all and need to be part of the floor space index 

A spokesperson of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd said the firm would seek legal opinion 
    He said the BMC's order was in total violation of the Bombay high court's judgment

Palais Royale at Worli Naka


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mumbai has largest number of green buildings coming up

Pune Fourth On List After Delhi & B'lore

    Mumbai has the country's maximum number of environmentfriendly buildings under construction, a survey has shown. The city has 60% more green building projects compared to Delhi and Bangalore, which are second and third on a list released by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The list has six cities, including Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai.

    Mumbai has 319 registered projects that fall in the green building category and are spread over 229 million square feet, according to the IGBC. Delhi is second on the list with 199 projects, followed by Bangalore with 198 and Pune with 197. 
    The IGBC report says India with more than 2,111 registered green building projects covering 1.54 billion square feet is among the top five countries on the world green map. 
    A green building is one that uses less water, improves energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants as compared to a conventional building. "These are judged on the basis of material used, sites chosen, ventilation and use of lights, among other things," said a member 
of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). 
    Constructing green buildings is costlier. "Earlier, it was 15-18% more expensive than a regular building. Now, the cost has come down to 3-5%," said M Anand, principal councillor, CII. "A green building ought to use minimum quantity of glass. We insist on only 7-8% of glass use. Also, builders are asked to go for high-performance glass that won't reflect much heat."



GAJANAN KHERGAMKER sheds light on the legalities involved, particularly the process of obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC), when a building is slated to go in for redevelopment

    It isn't that incentives in FSI are offered only to fresh proposals. Even existing proposals, housing societies of landlords or occupiers, may convert their earlier proposals in accordance with the modified regulations, provided the redevelopment scheme is in progress and has not been completed, i.e. where full occupation certificate is not granted. 
    The additional FSI is provided only subject to submission of a licensed structural engineer's certificate for structural stability. The submission must ascertain that the building is designed to take the additional load for constructing additional FSI, if granted. It should also certify the feasibility for structural modifications, i.e. it should be feasible to convert the tenements earlier proposed with 180 sq ft carpet area into tenements of 225 sq ft carpet area. 
    A higher FSI does not automatically become permissible in cases where construction is already underway as per old plans, unless a provision was made in the plans, foundation, etc., for the subsequent increase in area of rooms or the number of floors, without endangering the structural stability of the buildings. 
    In order to simplify the cumbersome process for granting NOCs for redevelopment, the procedure of issuance of letter of intent, prior to the issuance of NOC, has been completely omitted. It is no longer necessary to obtain a letter of intent. Now, the landlord or cooperative housing societies or occupiers can directly submit their proposal for the redevelopment of their old cessed properties in A to G wards of 
Mumbai but as per the prescribed format attached, along with the required documents and information. 
    After the proposal with complete documents is received, it will be scrutinised by the board and an NOC for redevelopment will be granted after the board is satisfied that all requirements are fulfilled by the applicant and after an approval has been given in the MBRRB meeting. For each proposal, a scrutiny fee of Rs 5,000 or whatever amount is fixed by the board from time 

to time, will be charged. 
    After all the documents have been received along with the application and all the legal and technical requirements have been completed, the NOC will be issued within three months. In case, even after this, the NOC-holder fails to start the redevelopment work within 12 months from the date of issue of the NOC, the board reserves the right to cancel the NOC. 
    The NOC-holder is expected to complete the construction of new buildings for the rehabilitation of old occupiers within 30 months from the date of issue of the NOC. Should he fail to do so, the extension to the time limit of 30 months may be granted by the board, depending on the merits of the case 
and on payment of an extension of fee of Rs 5,000 or an amount as decided by the board. 
    On being granted the NOC for redevelopment, the onus of carrying out repairs to the old cessed buildings at his own risk and cost, whenever such repairs are deemed to be necessary as decided by the repair board, rests on the NOC-holder.
    An Occupation Certificate (OC) for the free sale buildings will be given after all the old occupants, includ
ing those who may be staying in the repair board's transit camps, have been re-housed in the newly reconstructed buildings. 
    Concessions/benefits granted by the government vide its notification dated January 25, 1999, are quite attractive and make the scheme for redevelopment of old cessed properties economically viable. The benefit of the new scheme of redevelopment is expected to be exploited on a large scale by landlords and co-operative housing societies, thereby aiding the replacement of old and dilapidated cessed buildings with new, well-lit, ventilated and self-contained flats.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Developer fined for selling car parking space

Mumbai: Emphasising that a flat buyer cannot be charged extra for a car parking space, a consumer forum has fined a developer that committed this "unfair trade practice". 

    The Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum last week directed Tata Housing Development Company to refund Rs 50,000 to Ghatkoparbased Suresh Mehta and pay him compensation of around Rs 20,000. 
    "Car parking area is the common area of the society. Therefore, the opponent (the developer) had no right to charge any amount for the sale or use of the parking space," observed the forum. It took into consideration a Supreme Court judgment which held that a developer can only sell a flat and has no right to sell a parking space. 
    In his complaint, filed with the consumer forum last 
year, Mehta had said that he purchased on June 30, 2010, an apartment and car parking space at Betegaon, Palghar, for Rs 17.4 lakh. He maintained that Rs 50,000 was taken from him for car parking and another Rs 50,000 as clubhouse development charges. 
    Mehta said he came across a judgment in August 2010 that held that a builder or developer cannot sell stilt or open parking as the space is part of society common area. The verdict also held that, once the occupation certificate is issued and the society formed, the developer ceases to have any title on the open space. 
    Through a letter dated December 23, 2010, Mehta demanded a refund from the developer. He was told in response that the car parking was not sold; the developer said he was issued a right to use the space. Aggrieved, Mehta filed a complaint with the forum. The developer repeated its stand in the forum. 
    The forum said the agreement showed that the total amount paid by Mehta included charges for the parking space. "The documents on record corroborate the contention of the complainant that the flat's price was Rs 16.44 lakh and that he was required to pay Rs 50,000 for car parking space." The forum held that this amounted to an unfair trade practice.


Friday, September 6, 2013

COMPANY GUEST HOUSE Now in a 5-Star Hotel

 Company guest houses and holiday homes are an age-old concept, with mostly banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and large corporates such as pharma and IT companies opting for the same. 
    Earlier, the concept was ownership of the premises and thereafter gradually shifting to rentals started. Now, it is noticed that banks and MNCs are realising the high value of their real estate. 
    The reasons for selling these assets are simple: realise funds and go for rental. To top this, the hassle of managing the guest houses has also become difficult. With the change in lifestyles, the 'guests' are used to more attractive services like concierge, housekeeping, maintenance, cafes, TV, internet, 24-hour telephone operators and other support facilities, which only hotels can provide. 
    Royal Palms, with earlier expertise from its Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar hotels (1976-1989), used to rent 70 per cent of their hotel rooms to banks and corporates, which included Tata Group, HBB, Glaxo, SBI, BOI, Dena Bank, ICICI, IDBI, among others. 
    Now, looking at the downturn in the hotel market and going by the trend of corporates/banks looking for hassle-free guest house operations, Royal Palms has decided to introduce this ageold concept into a 5-star environment. 
    Royal Palms has launched its first Company Guest House scheme in its newly refurbished Palms Hotel Tower and Villa at 
Royal Palms, Goregaon (East). 
    For food and beverage facilities, the hotel will provide menus of different take-away and industrial caterers who would supply the meals based on the taste and budget of guests. Meals cost would start from as low as Rs 60. In fact, the companies will also have the option to nominate or use a caterer of their choice and for this, the hotel will not charge any service cost. By doing this, the companies can save huge costs as compared to 5-star hotels. The hotel provides a dedicated restaurant for guests to have their meals; alternatively they can eat in their rooms too. However, no cooking facility will be allowed. 
    The 5-star hotel guest house concept offers multi-utility facilities for company guests, clients and could also be used by corporates who have back-to
back conferences and training programmes. This is possible as Palms Hotel has 245 rooms and 12 conference rooms in a newlybuilt convention centre. These could also be booked by the corporate on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. 
    For example, in this situation a conference could cost as low as Rs 990 per person per day with room, three meals and use of the conference hall. However, this cost and facilities are only available to companies having guest rooms in the hotel. All hotel rules and regulations are applicable as it will operate in the 5-star hotel. Also, additional taxes are applicable. 
    In addition, similar benefits can be made available to airline companies as well. The hotel is operational and ready-to-movein. 


For details, contact: 022-66457000/28794000 www.palmshotelmumbai.com Email:sales@palmshotelmumbai.com 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Slowdown hits construction business in state Fall Sharpest Among Key Industries

Mumbai: The construction industry in Maharashtra has been hit by the economic slowdown with fewer developers queuing up for permission across major cities, including Mumbai and Pune. Only Solapur has recorded a growth. 
    Stamp duty registration and other duties show collections have dropped by 12% in the last quarter, compared to the same period last year. Between April and June, the government collected Rs 7,171 crore against Rs 8,152 crore during the same period last year. 
    The decline in the construction sector is the sharpest among other key sectors like automobile (-1.74%), electrical goods (-4.72%), engineering (-1.43%), metals (-2.45%) and garments and textiles (-2.97%), which, too, have reported negative growth for the quarter ending June. 
    The quarterly figures were put up for review before chief minister Prithviraj Chavan last week by the state industry and finance departments. 
    The latest figures show that the downturn is bleeding the construction industry. In Mumbai, only 429 projects are likely to come up in the current year with a total construction area of 19.32 lakh sq metres, while the corresponding figure last year
was 444 projects covering 17.44 lakh sqm. In 2010-11, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had approved 1,065 proposals measuring 69.68 lakh sqm. 
Doppler radar stalls half-built 
tower in Mazgaon 

    An under-construction residential tower at Mazgaon (above) may be the first casualty of the Doppler weather radar at Colaba. Work on the half-built skyscraper (13 of the 26 storeys planned have been built) ground to a halt after the Indian Meteorological Department restricted its height to 75.45 metres. TOI, on August 27, had reported that builders in the island city have been hit hard by the BMC insistence on a NOC from the weather department if their towers are over 70m high and fall within a 10-km radius of the Doppler radar. P 4 
Chavan may approach Centre for assistance 
    In Pune, another fast-growing city, the proposals this year are 4,073 as opposed to 4,623 last year. The construction area covered by projects this year is estimated at 66.13 lakh sqm against 74.02 lakh sqm last year. 
    In Solapur, proposals increased from 2,482 in 2011-12 to 2,942 this year, aggregating construction work of 4.68 lakh sqm being currently carried out in the city. This, officials said, was owing to speedy completion of several infrastructure and roads projects in the region. Only 66 
projects were approved in Mira-Bhayander this year, against 137 last year, and 402 in Malegaon and 972 in Nanded this year, as against 462 and 1,127 the previous year respectively. 
    The state industry and finance departments are seeking a stimulus for affected sectors as early as possible. Chavan has not ruled out approaching the Centre for help if push comes to shove in the next quarter. "I am really concerned about the bearing of the economic crisis on the state in general, especially key industrial sectors. We won't hesitate to approach the Centre for help," he said.




GAJANAN KHERGAMKER lists down the situations when it becomes essential for buildings to go in for redevelopment or for any major structural changes to take place, that can prevent the building from collapsing

    The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Board (MHADA) is expected to undertake structural repairs to buildings which are in ruinous condition and likely to deteriorate and fall. "On consideration of the information given by the municipal commissioner or a report of its officer authorised for the purpose or other information in its possession, if the board is satisfied that any building occupied, is in such a ruinous or dangerous condition, that is imminently likely to fall unless structural repairs which will render it fit and safe for habitation are urgently done, then in such cases, the board shall, subject to provisions of sub-section (3), undertake such repairs to that building. 
    According to subsection 2 of the MHADA Act, the board may prepare a list of such buildings, setting out the order of priority or urgency, in respect of which structural repairs are necessary and may undertake simultaneously or in such order of priority, the structural repairs according to the exigencies of the case and its resources. 
    Also, in case the board is of the opinion that a) the cost of structural repairs to a building per square metre, will exceed such an amount, as may be specified by the state government by notification, in the official gazette, to be the structural repairs cost per square metre or b) the cost of the structural repairs to a building, per square metre, will exceed the amount specified under clause (a) but the size of the
land on which such building is standing in such that for some reason or the other it would not be possible or economical to erect any new building thereon and there is an adjoining building but the cost of structural repairs to such building, per square metre, does not exceed the amount specified under clause (a); the board may not consider such building/s for repairs. It may issue a certificate to that effect to the owner or owners thereof, as the case may be, affix a copy of the relevant certificate in some conspicuous part of the building or buildings for the information of the occupiers and proceed to take actions as provided. 
    In cases of special hardship, the board may, on such terms and conditions as it may deem fit to impose, consider a building for structural repairs even if the cost of such repairs is 
likely to exceed the limit. 
    In case, the occupiers of a building undertake that they shall bear the cost of such repairs which are in excess of the amount specified under clause (a) per square metre and abide by such terms and conditions for payment of the excess cost to the board as it may think fit to impose, the board may carry out structural repairs to such building. 
    The municipal commissioner shall, from time to time, send to the board, full particulars of the buildings which are in a ruinous or dangerous condition and the condition of which is such that they are likely to fall if structural repairs are not urgently undertaken. He may also send particulars of buildings to which a notice has been served under Section 354 of the Corporation Act but the same have not been complied with.


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