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Saturday, May 1, 2021

woes of a flat resident ! - buying common area !!

Woes of a flat-resident !  - Triplicanites know this for sure .. .. the situation may not be any different in most cities – yet the area we grew up offers more nostalgia to us !!

Life in 1970s and in 2020s – certainly has changed .. .. those days, in Triplicane,  1) we had beautiful big houses with staircase inside the hall (just see any old movie of that time) 2) others existed as tenants in houses – that wound their way long from one street to the backside opening in another lane. That used to be butt of many jokes in dramas too.  Tenants co-existed happily with no need for privacy and people taking care of children and elderly .. .. life was so normal and peaceful.

That changed with one of the long house Periyaam [literally big house} that was so beautiful with a thinnai overlooking Kairavini pushkarini and on the other side at VEnkatrangam street, had a nadaibavi [a well with steps for getting inside] – that was converted into ‘Shanti Niwas apartment’ – to my knowledge, that was the first apartment complex that sprung up.  Slowly many houses saw the hammer and flats came up.  Recall those days flat could be as tiny as 400 SFT to sprawling double bedroom flat of 575 SFT – unthinkable these days !! 

illustrative photo 

Flats brought in complex confusions as well – nothing is owned and most of the things are shared by flat owners – not their wall, not their roof, not the ground, not the electrical motor, not the overhead water tank, not the verandah – and it was hard to understand concepts of ‘undivided share of land’ (where is it anyway ?) and common area and common property. Some Resident welfare association would be formed (mostly not registered) and in the first meeting itself there would be some angry Qs – the mentality of the people too meantime changed complex – if the Association were to change the maintenance fee from Rs.100/- to Rs.150/- (it is only in thousands and more these days !) – an angry English speaking gentleman would shout – ‘that is not acceptable – that represents 50% hike !!’ – my dear to put is simply it was Rs.50/- up !!

In bigger and better organized built locations – the builder would draft agreement, handover common property like EB / lift / water motor and the like to the Association – still there can be confusion on who owns what, whether insurance can be taken, for common property like compound wall and how would ‘insurable interest’ be defined ??

Gone are those beautiful houses of Triplicane and its Agraharam – the tall portico ones, the rich architectural beauties, Madras terrace roofs, small functional courtyards, rezhi, verandah, bathrooms and toilets outside the living space generally at the end of house, some garden with trees and beautiful flowery plants and .. .. a well.  My house had a beautiful well and remember that every week, Corporation worker will come with a pot and drop few ‘guppies’ for eradicating malaria mosquitoes.  

As we retire in home [inside the cramped apartment not venturing out during corona] – one hears all sounds cacophony. Someone one feels that there is repair work being carried out all the time, the sounds of hammer, people and din – disturbing tranquilty and online meetings !  .. .. then there is always debate on what needs to be done in maintaining the ‘common area’ – more trouble if you have a car parking [allotted / unallotted but agreed upon] and  more !  - and if you had bought car parking – where does it stand – on the common area ? – and if yes, who sells and who buys [like Central station being on sale along with LIC building to kudavasal sigamani in a S Ve Sekhar drama !!]

The common areas are the undivided parts of the commonly owned premises. The areas such as the parking lot, lawns, corridors, lobbies, elevators, etc are not owned by a single individual owner. The responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of these areas is collective.  

Read this morning that in a landmark order -  Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TNRERA) held a city-based builder guilty of selling common area in the apartment complex to home buyers and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

The order relates to GKS Technology Park Pvt Ltd building an apartment complex ‘Tulive Viha’, comprising 87 flats, at Anna Nagar East in 2017. The allegation was that the builder sold 230 sq ft of common area to the owners of two apartments receiving a sum of Rs 17.25 lakh. Challenging this, one of the aggrieved flat owners K Balasubramaniyam had approached TNRERA. The authority,   said the builder has no right or authority to sell the corridor space constituting common areas to any individual allottee. The authority imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on the builder to be paid before May 31 and also asked the builder to pay the Rs 17.25  lakh collected back to the buyers of the common area.  

Interesting !  .. .. .. but the woes of a common man would be unending ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar, a happy flat resident



  1. In our apartment the builder had sold more than 1 parking space to some owners and allotted the parking space as per their choice. our association had asked those owners to speak to builder and return their space as it is against law. There are more parking space than the number of flats. so it is a minor issue.

    1. may or may not be - but when we buy an allotted car parking - actually paying price for something which is already ours. In our flat too - all the owners have bought 1 parking slot each by paying additional price. BUT - if none had paid this - all of us would have the same without any payment. Only thing is agreement, acceptance, cooperation may not come that easily between people

  2. Very good depiction which is common across flats and flat owners - the ever in repair is so very true😂😂