Developer increased maintenance charges without prior notification

I am a NRI with a plot of land on the outskirts of Mumbai. I haven’t paid maintenance charges on the property for 10 years. The developer did not notify me of the charges annually even though my telephone and email address haven’t changed in the last 15 years. I have followed up with them by email since 2013 for details on how much I owe, but got no response from them. In Jan'18 I visited India and went to their office and was given an invoice of Rs 1,80,000, being maintenance charges from 2006 to 2018. I have been given time until Aug’18 to pay the dues. I would like these charges to be waived considering that the developer failed to notify me of the charges on an annual basis and despite me following up with them since 2013. I am financially not in a position to make the payment by August. Also, the annual charge has increased from Rs 7k in 2008 to Rs 20k in 2018. Does the developer not have to notify us of the increases before implementation? Do I have a case to argue these points?

Answers (1)

Hi. Firstly I would like to know your status in relation to the plot of land. Are you allotted the land on ownership basis or on lease or in some other position. Only then I will be in a position to comment further. Generally what happens is that the developer sells the plots or apartments to various purchasers against valuable consideration and then as per law the developer is obligated to form an association of allottees like a society or other organisation within the stipulated period mandated by law. Until such organisation or society is formed, the allottees or purchasers are required to pay the outgoings of their respective premises to the developer and on the society or organisation being formed, the developer has to handover the management of accounts in respect of the sums collected from the purchasers, to the society or organisation. I would suggest to request the developer to give you a break up of what all is included in the invoice given to you. Please keep in mind that once you are allotted a plot or flat on ownership or lease basis then you become liable for it's outgoings. So that liability of yours does not get absolved just because you have been writing emails to the developer. In case of statutory dues like property tax levied by the local body or municipal corporation or land revenue, you need to be extra vigilant as non payment of the same can render your plot liable to be attached by the statutory authorities which will thereafter be sold for recovering the arrears from you. However if the developer has been collecting the maintenance charges then in case if there is any increment in the same then he is obligated to notify the purchasers about such increase with proper details as to why the increase has been made. You will have to provide me additional details like your agreement copy and other relevant papers to enable me to give a more holistic advice. Thanx

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