What’s a maintenance agree­ment?

This doc­u­ment for the up­keep of your build­ing and apart­ment is very im­por­tant. Go through it care­fully and en­sure you make all pay­ments on time

HT Estates - - NEWS - Su­nil Tyagi

Given the space scarcity in ur­ban ar­eas, more peo­ple are in­vest­ing in apart­ments in hous­ing com­plexes and group hous­ing so­ci­eties. Though al­lot­tees scru­ti­nise the terms and con­di­tions in the al­lot­ment let­ter and buyer’s agree­ment care­fully, many fail to scru­ti­nise terms and con­di­tions in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing maintenance agree­ment. A buyer’s agree­ment gen­er­ally stip­u­lates that the buyer will also be re­quired to ex­e­cute a maintenance agree­ment at the time of ex­e­cu­tion of the con­veyance deed in his/her favour.

Broadly speak­ing, the maintenance agree­ment gov­erns the pro­vi­sion of maintenance ser­vices in com­mon ar­eas, ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties and sets out rights and obli­ga­tions of both al­lot­tees/buy­ers and the maintenance agency. In mul­ti­storey build­ings and hous­ing com­plexes, com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties re­fer to ar­eas re­served for base­ments, park­ing, roofs, stair­ways, el­e­va­tors, wa­ter tanks, ter­race, open spa­ces, etc. For the ef­fec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion, maintenance and up­keep of the hous­ing com­plex in­clud­ing its com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties, a maintenance agency un­der­takes the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing es­sen­tial ser­vices like light­ing, lifts/el­e­va­tors, power back-up, san­i­ta­tion, re­pair works, se­cu­rity, etc.

Un­der rel­e­vant atate-spe­cific apart­ment own­er­ship leg­is­la­tions, an apart­ment owner not only owns the apart­ment but also has a cer­tain per­cent­age of un­di­vided in­ter­est in com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties of the build­ing/apart­ment com­plex. Hence, all apart­ment owners are re­quired to bear maintenance-re­lated ex­pens- es pro­por­tion­ate to their own­er­ship and in­ter­est in the com­plex. Al­lot­tees may care­fully note the time­lines of pay­ment of maintenance charges, penalty and in­ter­est payable on de­layed pay­ment, grounds of breach as well as con­se­quences of breach by al­lot­tee. For in­stance, some maintenance agree­ments stip­u­late that in case of con­tin­ued non-pay­ment of maintenance charges, sup­ply of wa­ter/elec­tric­ity ser­vices may be dis­con­nected to the de­fault­ing al­lot­tee’s flat and would only be re­stored on pay­ment of maintenance charges along with in­ter­est and penalty, if any. Owners may also note the time­lines and amounts to be paid to­wards con­tri­bu­tion to the sink­ing fund and maintenance se­cu­rity de­posit (which may be in­ter­est bear­ing or non-in­ter­est bear­ing).

More­over, maintenance charges are payable ir­re­spec­tive of whether an apart­ment is va­cant/un­oc­cu­pied or oc­cu­pied. If the owner has leased the flat to a ten­ant, he/she may pro­tect its in­ter­ests by clearly stat­ing in the lease deed that it will be the lessee’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to com­ply with the terms of the maintenance agree­ment and pay­ment of maintenance charges for the du­ra­tion of the lease term.

Maintenance agree­ments for prop­er­ties sit­u­ated in com­mer­cial com­plexes and of­fice build­ings are usu­al­ly­more com­plex given the na­ture of ac­tiv­i­ties car­ried out there. Maintenance agree­ments for th­ese prop­er­ties may pre­scribe dif­fer­en­tial rates of maintenance charges for op­er­a­tions dur­ing usual busi­ness hours and be­yond usual busi­ness hours in ad­di­tion to park­ing charges, power backup charges, in­surance etc. In some cases, the agree­ment may also be ac­com­pa­nied with house­keep­ing rules, rules for car­ry­ing out fit-out/in­te­rior works, rules for putting up any sig­nage/pro­mo­tional dis­plays, etc. En­joy­ment of maintenance ser­vice and fa­cil­i­ties makes a prop­erty hab­it­able for one­self and other oc­cu­pants. Hence, it is im­por­tant that oc­cu­pants (be it owners or ten­ants) com­ply with the terms of the maintenance agree­ment.

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