Legal action against Building Association
I alongwith my family residing in a flat(first floor)at Paikpara, Kolkata-700002, constructed by West Bengal Housing Board(1978) and we the flat owners are under WB Apartment Ownership Act. Our outlet pipes are inside the Flat. For the last one year water is leaking from the floor/pipes of upper flat(2nd floor,just above my flat). I alongwith my wife had repeatedly requested them to do the necessary repairing work including taking pipe outlets outside the flat(almost 80% of the flat owners had already did it long ago)but they did not pay any heed to it. Finally I had given a letter to the President/Secretary of the Association to sort out the problem.After inspection of my flat by the board members they were very sympathetic including Secretary/President and tried in many ways to sort out the problem but could not solve it till now.As per Association decision we also agreed to pay 50% of the cost but still the Upper Flat owner is not giving entry to their flat for undertaking the repairing work.The Association had also informed the OC of Local Police Station, they visited both the flats and finally said they had nothing to do in the upper flat owner does not give entry to their flat.Day by Day leaving in the flat is really becoming unbearable. I would be highly obliged if you kindly advise me what legal action is available under these circumstances. With thanks and regards, ASOK TARU CHOWDHURY MOB : 9433038733 E Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
For the purpose of this answer, we need to look at West Bengal Apartment Ownership Act, 1972 .
Section 5(6) of the act clearly says that The Association of Apartment Owners shall have right, to be exercised by the Manager or the Board of Managers on behalf of the Association, to have access to each apartment from time to time during reasonable hours, for-the maintenance, repair and replacement of any of the common areas and facilities therein or accessible there from, or for making emergency repairs herein lo prevent any damage to the common area and facilities or to other apartments.
Section 7 of the Act says that, no apartment owner shall do any work which would be prejudicial to the soundness and safety of the property or would reduce the value thereof or impair any easement or heriditament. (that is, no owner must do or prevent something, such that the calue of the house decreases.)
After a reading of both the sections together, it is correct to say that no apartment owner should do anything which would reduce the value of the property, which in this case is the leaking water pipe and for the purpose of maintenance the board of managers can access any common area or apartment. In the present case, non maintenance of the leaking pipe is depreciating the value of the flat which becomes a major concern in case there is a resale of the said flat.
The board of managers on behalf of the apartment committee can approach to the competent authority to register a complaint against the apartment owner regarding the said leakage issue. Section 16A of the said act gives out penalty in case of contravention of Section 7 or any other by laws which are framed by the competent authority. Therefore the competent authority can fine the apartment owner staying above for Rs. 1000 and give him imprisonment for 6 months or both. In case the contravention still continues after conviction, Rs. 50 will keep on adding per day as fine
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