The construction of multi-storied apartment buildings in Delhi has been a constant affair throughout the region’s history post-independence. Being the national capital, Delhi has attracted people from both within the country and abroad, primarily because of the lucrative business and investment opportunities on offer in this region. This has resulted in a strong demand for living in apartment buildings and complexes.

In the past, the regular construction of apartments in Delhi used to cause avoidable litigation, as the rights and obligations of the apartment owners and associations weren’t set in stone, legally. So in the year 1986, the Delhi apartment ownership Act was drafted and passed by the parliament.

The Act clarifies the rights and obligations of apartment owners, such as in relation to inheritance, restrictions on transfers like mortgage and sale, and the right to common areas and facilities.

Understanding the Terms used in the Act

Administrator : An Administrator is an authority appointed to the union territory of Delhi, by the President of India, as mandated by the Article 239 of the constitution.

Authority : An authority is one who is established or constituted under a law.

Bye-Laws : Bye-laws are laws made under the Delhi Apartment Ownership Act, 1986.

Common Areas and Facilities : Common Areas and Facilities constitutes the land on which the multi-storied apartment building is located, the gardens, basements, cellars, parking areas, and any other such creations, and all the structural elements like lobbies, corridors, fire escapes, and beams and columns.

Common Expenses and Common Profits : Common expenses are sums of money, lawfully assessed against the apartment owners, which go into administration, repair, and maintenance or for modifying common areas and facilities.

After the deduction of the common expenses, what’s left after balancing all the incomes and profits are the common profits.

The Key Features Of The Act

Applicability of the Act

The Delhi Apartment Ownership Act, 1986 is applicable to all multi-storied apartment buildings, with at least two stories and four units, constructed by any group housing co-operative society, person, or authority, before or after the commencement of the Act.

The Act is applicable to the whole of the union territory of Delhi.

Bye-Laws to be framed as per administrator’s Model Laws

The bye-laws framed by any association of apartment owners should be exactly in accordance with the model bye-laws framed by the Administrator. In case the association wishes to make any changes, the members of the association require a prior approval from the Administrator.

Apartments to be heritable and transferable

According to the Act, every apartment, including its common areas and facilities, will be a transferable and heritable immovable property. The apartment owner can transfer his apartment and his share of the non-partitioned common areas and facilities by way of lease, mortgage, sale, exchange, or gift.

Common Areas and Facilities to be used by all apartment owners for intended purposes

All common areas and facilities will be available for use by all apartment owners. The common areas and facilities will not be divided or partitioned. Each apartment owner will use it for the purpose that it’s intended for, without hindering or encroaching upon another apartment owner’s right to use the space.

The Common Profits and Expenses to be shared in a certain proportion

The profits will be distributed, and the expenses charged, to all the apartment owners in proportion of the percentage of the undivided interest they hold in the common areas and facilities.

Sometimes it so happens that the apartment owner isn’t an occupant of his or her apartment. In this case, the person currently occupying that apartment needs to pay his or her share of the common expenses.

Certain Works Are Prohibited

No apartment owner can make such changes to the structure of the apartment as would lead to the reduction in the property value and affect the safety and soundness of the property. To do so, one would have to acquire consent from all the apartment owners of the association.

Excavating a cellar or additional basement, or adding any material structure is the kind of works that are prohibited.

What the Act means for the people involved?

An apartment owner can easily transfer, purchase, or gift multi-storied residential and commercial apartments, co-operative group housing society apartments, and private apartments.

Earlier, the apartments in Delhi were monopolized by such parties as the Registrar of the Group Housing Society, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and the builders. With the implementation of this Act, this monopoly comes to an end. All of the rights are now given to the associations of apartment owners.

- Lavish

Fairfield Institute Of Management &Technology,

GGSIPU, Kapashera, New Delhi

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