Restrictions on bachelors and members of certain minority communities are unfortunately rampant in Housing societies. Several societies put up intimidating notice boards directing flat owners to not let out their flats to such persons. As a consequence not only do students and young professionals face a shortage of quality accommodation but it also aggravates the communal divide in society.
What to do Against Such Interference?
Remember- if you are a flat owner your housing society has no say in deciding how you use your flat. Under the Maharashtra township Flats Act, 1963 and the Real Estate Regulation Act, 2016, the domain and role of a housing society are limited to maintenance and upkeep of the common areas of the flat. The flat owner’s right to property is protected under Article 300 A and the housing society cannot infringe it.
Can Your Housing Society stop You from selling or renting your Flat?
No, the housing society’s right of ownership only extends to the common areas such as gardens, lift, the lobby of the building. It has no say in the ownership of the flat. Whenever a flat in the building is sold, the housing society’s duty is to register the transfer of share certificates and nothing beyond.
How to Counter Interference from Society?
If a housing society tries to obstruct the flat owner from renting it out to a bachelor or a member of the minority community, then the flat owner can file a complaint about mischief u/s ____ of I.P.C. S/he can also file a petition under section 91 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Housing Societies Act, 1960. Moreover, they can also seek injunctive relief under Section ____ of the Specific Relief Act u/s ____ of the CPC, 1908. Through an injunction, the civil or cooperative court can restrain the Housing Society from interfering with the property rights of the flat owner or obstructing the deal.
Section 295A IPC – Prohibits Communal Disharmony
Finally, Section 295A of the I.P.C prohibits creating communal disharmony between communities. The flat owner, as well as the tenant or buyer, can file a police complaint against harassment or interference by a housing society. An FIR can be registered to this effect or a private complaint lodged in the Magistrate Court u/s 200 of the Cr.P.C. Such legal steps will go a long way to counter the interference of errant housing societies and protect the rights of flat owners and tenants in the times to come.
For Every Wrong, There is a Remedy!
Given the fact that we are already in the 21st century, such illegal practices have no reason to exist. Yet there are innumerable instances across India where the archaic mindset still prevails. Given the time-honoured doctrine of Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium or ‘Where there is a wrong, the law provides is a remedy’, it is imperative that the people should invoke the legal process the moment they encounter any sort of discrimination or harassment. Such small steps will go a long way towards strengthening the rule of law in the country and ensuring that the goal of ‘housing for all’ is achieved.