Non-payment of dues in housing societies can imply major legal consequences for the defaulter. If a flat-owner fails to pay his maintenance on time, the society can initiate legal proceedings to recover the bill amounts.
If a flat-owner fails to pay his maintenance for three months, he will be labelled a ‘defaulter’ under the Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Societies Act, 1960. In such a case, the procedure prescribed in Section 101 of the Act will apply.
Under Section 101, the housing society will file an application before the Registrar of Co-operative Societies (Or Deputy Registrar). In such an application, the society will request the Registrar to issue a certificate for recovery of the amount against the defaulting member (flat-owner).
The certificate issued by the Registrar under Section 101 is final and conclusive proof of the arrears of maintenance due from the defaulting flat-owner. After receiving this certificate, the society will submit it in the office of the Collector to recover the amount ‘as arrears of land revenue’.
Once the certificate is filed with the Collector’s office, he will initiate invoke his powers under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1960. This means that he can attach the flat of the defaulter and even sell it in order so that the maintenance due to the housing society is recovered. The balance amount will be returned to the flat-owner after deduction of any applicable charges or penalties.
Therefore it is advisable to pay the maintenance on time. If the amounts are disputed, the flat-owner can approach the Deputy Registrar of Housing Societies, Mumbai or the Co-operative Court for relief. Further, a member can also pay under protest and the excess amounts can be refunded if the ruling comes in the flat-owner’s favour.