What does ‘su­per area’ mean?

It’s just a strat­egy for builders to make money, say de­vel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties

HT Estates - - Front Page - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

Real es­tate ex­perts, RWA mem­bers and le­gal ex­perts agree that ‘su­per area’ is a not a tech­ni­cal term and is some­thing of a mar­ket­ing strat­egy for builders to make money.

When Ashish Kaul, res­i­dent of a hous­ing pro­ject in Farid­abad, asked for a def­i­ni­tion of the su­per area in an RTI, the Haryana Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (HUDA) re­sponded with “as per the record of this of­fice, there is no def­i­ni­tion re­gard­ing the com­mon area and su­per area.”

Other de­vel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties, too, came up with a sim­i­lar re­sponse. A se­nior Ghazi­abad De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of­fi­cer said, “Su­per area is not a tech­ni­cal term but a mar­ket­ing gim­mick. No de­vel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties have ever de­fined what su­per area is and how it can be cal­cu­lated.”

“It’s quite dif­fi­cult to work out a for­mula for su­per area cal­cu­la­tion be­cause ev­ery de­vel­oper has his own way of work­ing on a pro­ject. Some will pre­fer to make bal­conies, cor­ri­dors and other com­mon ar­eas more spa­cious while the oth­ers might not. Cal­cu­la­tion of su­per and cov­ered area for each pro­ject will be dif­fer­ent. It’s true, how­ever, that de­vel­op­ers make a lot of money by ma­nip­u­lat­ing built-up area mea­sure­ments.”

Le­gal ex­perts, too, agree that it’s very dif­fi­cult for any de­vel­op­ment au­thor­ity to define su­per area. “The rea­son prob­a­bly is that it is im­pos­si­ble to stan­dard­ise su­per area and it is equally dif­fi­cult to quan­tify the load­ing per­cent­age through a trans­par­ent for­mula. Usu­ally mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties pro­vide FSI/FAR on the ba­sis of well-de­fined built-up ar­eas. But con­sumer/buy­ers or en­dusers re­late best with car­pet area be­cause it gives them the right sense of space avail­able for use,” says Supreme Court lawyer SK Pal.

Many RWA of­fi­cials al­lege that the process of cal­cu­lat­ing su­per area is not trans­par­ent and mea­sure­ments usu­ally ex­ceed the ac­tual to­tal builtup area in a group hous­ing pro­ject. A buyer is not just cheated, he has to pay a steep stamp duty for regis­tra­tion and main­te­nance and cal­cu­la­tions are done on the ba­sis of su­per area.

“You pay stamp duty for the regis­tra­tion of your flat on su­per area. You pay EDC and IDC on su­per area and you pay main­te­nance amount for your whole of life on the ba­sis of su­per area vaguely cal­cu­lated as to­tal area of your flat. Per­haps that’s the rea­son even the de­vel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties in var­i­ous states are silent be­cause they know that su­per area brings huge rev­enues to the state ex­che­quer too,” says a home buyer.

A Noida rev­enue depart­ment’s cir­cu­lar clearly reads that stamp duty for regis­tra­tion of a flat of a group hous­ing so­ci­ety will be cal­cu­lated on the ba­sis of su­per area of a flat. The cir­cu­lar also states that su­per area is the sum of the cov­ered area and the builtup area.

Says Pal, “Stamp du­ties in most states are cal­cu­lated on the ba­sis on built-up area. Su­per area can­not be the ba­sis for cal­cu­lat­ing stamp duty.”

“Ask­ing for main­te­nance on su­per area ba­sis is er­ro­neous. Main­te­nance (pop­u­larly re­ferred to as CAM) is the ex­pen­di­ture on main­te­nance of com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties in the pro­ject as such and it should be based on the share of com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties with other apart­ments,” he adds.

On why buy­ers were not fight­ing for scrap­ping of su­per area costs, Umesh Prabhakar, a home buyer in Farid­abad said, “First of all, home buy­ers don’t go so much into de­tails to dig it out the ex­act size of their apart­ment. Se­condly, in many cases de­vel­op­ers in­form them about the in­crease in the size of the flat ei­ther mid way through con­struc­tion or at the time of pos­ses­sion. By that time the prices have es­ca­lated so much that the home own­ers don’t mind pay­ing the ex­tra money. Some of them have filed pe­ti­tions but those are pend­ing.”

In­dia is the only coun­try where flats are sold on the ba­sis of su­per area.

Says Amit Jain, di­rec­tor gen­eral, Fed­er­a­tion of Apart­ment Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, “Builders are only au­tho­rised to sell apart- ments ie the main dwelling units and charges for the com­mon area and fa­cil­i­ties are fac­tored in the price of the apart­ment it­self.”

“This is a world-wide prac­tice and fol­lowed by ev­ery builder in the world ex­cept our own In­dian builders. Rights of ev­ery in­di­vid­ual apart­ment owner gets crys­tallised through a dec­la­ra­tion called Deed of Dec­la­ra­tion which is a statu­tory doc­u­ment pre­scribed un­der the Haryana Apart­ment Own­er­ship Act. The same doc­u­ment is known as ‘En­abling Dec­la­ra­tion’ or ‘Con­do­minium Dec­la­ra­tion of Con­di­tions’ in the US or ‘Mas­ter Deed’ in the UK. The Haryana Apart­ment Own­er­ship Act or the Apart­ment Own­er­ship Act of al­most ev­ery state is a ver­ba­tim copy of US Apart­ment Own­er­ship Act,” adds Jain.

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