We updated our FAQ recently with the questions that Association Committees evaluating ApartmentAdda often ask. Here are the top two.
1. Will our personal data be secure?
This, for very good reason, is the foremost question on responsible Association Committees' mind. We have all been victim of spamming - via email, snail-mail and phone - obviously our data was misused by someone we trusted it with.
Yes. We at ApartmentAdda understand that the information you provide is of a personal nature and we respect your privacy.
We have employed the most advanced technology in Internet Security. When you access your Adda, information is encrypted using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is the Industry Standard. This is the reason why our Login Page loads separately, with the URL starting with 'HTTPS:' - where S stands for Secure.
The storage of your data is in a Top Tier Data Center with the Hosting Platform providing a Virtual Private Server to ApartmentAdda.
Finally, the Terms of Service of ApartmentAdda states without any ambiguity - We do not sell, rent or otherwise make available your email address, phone number, address, or any other personal information to any third-party for any reason whatsoever.
2. Over time we will build information assets on ApartmentAdda. Is there a clearly defined exit route?
An apartment community may want to build a dedicated website in future, or, they may just want to switch to any other service. This will require them to extract existing information assets from ApartmentAdda.
We respect this choice of our customers. Below FAQs together answer this question:
Yes, the typical route of switching is from Basic Adda (Free of Cost, limited features) to Premium Adda (Annual Subscription, all features). ApartmentAdda executes a Commercial Agreement with you and the access to Premium features open up.
If you need to switch back from Premium Adda to Basic Adda for any reason, we assist you with the same. You will have sufficient time to export the relevant data from the Premium features, before the access to premium features is discontinued. You can then continue on the Basic Adda.
Last week Apartment Adda received an overwhelming testimonial from Mr. Anil Joseph - the Treasurer of Oasis Breeze (treasurer for two continuous terms). We want to share this reward with our blog readers:
"Taking charge of the Association to manage the affairs of 165 flats seemed a daunting task. The introduction of Apartment Adda to serve as a communication medium initially, is today the lifeline of the Association. Adda is an extremely user friendly, efficient and amazing portal which makes management of the Association effortless. The Executive Committee at Oasis Breeze Apartment Association is indebted to the ApartmentAdda team for their valuable contribution through this tool. We hope every Apartment Association makes use of this wonder portal to manage their Associations better. The Alert section, Online Dashboard, Notice Board and most importantly the SMS alert facility for maintenance fee dues and other communication are just amazing features. " - Anil Joseph, Treasurer at Oasis Breeze Apartment Owners' Association; Vice President & Centre Head at WNS Customer Solutions. If you are also a user of ApartmentAdda.com and are bursting with a feedback, please do write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last weekend the election for Office Bearers of the Apartment Owners' Association was conducted by Oasis Breeze - ApartmentAdda's founding customer. What made it special is that Oasis Breeze provided an online secret ballot along with the paper-ballot so that EVERY owner, irrespective of where he was during the voting, could exercise his/her right to vote!
The Secret Ballot was hosted on the Oasis Breeze Adda, which reflected the exact operations of the paper ballot. It maintained the confidentiality of a secret ballot, gave exclusive powers to the election officer to create and view the poll results, opened and closed automatically on the announced time, and made it possible for results to be manually verified on authorized request!
Of course, there were the obvious benefits of an online poll - extended poll duration (2.5 days) since no manning of a poll booth is required, no manual counting, automatic prevention of double voting from a flat, in-built verification if the voter is authorized to vote, and printed reports with due regard to confidentiality.
The best part - residents who were temporarily out of town did not miss the Association election!
The online secret ballot was conducted first, followed by the paper ballot. Since Oasis Breeze Adda contains the complete residents' database online, a simple printout of the same provided the Attendance List needed for the Paper-Ballot - with the residents who had already voted online marked accordingly.
We would let the Election Officer of Oasis Breeze, Mr.Shenoy have the last word on this:
"The Online secret ballot [on ApartmentAdda] was simple and easy to use/understand. It has useful reporting tools and saved a lot of manual effort. What's more, it is Green... no ballot paper." - Balakrishna Shenoy, Director at Deutsche Bank Operations International ( DBOI ) Global Services.
Come March - the typical fiscal year end, most Apartment Complexes in India get busy with their annual elections - to elect a new Management Committee of the Apartment Owners' Association or the RWA - Resident Welfare Association.
But many of us Apartment Owners / Apartment Residents have often resurfacing questions on what exactly is the definition of an Apartment Owners' Association? What is its purpose? Its powers? Its duties? Its alignment with the legislation?
Here is an attempt at compiling answers to the above questions . This is in relevance to Apartment Owners' Associations in Karnataka. For other states in India, information is most welcome!
The terms Association and Society in this post are used interchangeably.
How is an Apartment Owners' Association (referred to as the 'Association' hereafter) formed in Bangalore?
The Association is formed by 7 or more owners in the Apartment Complex approaching the Registrar of Societies together and make an application that:
Encloses a memorandum with following details: desired name of the Association, aims and objectives of the association, and who in the association will be authorized to correspond with the Registrar of Societies (typically the President of the Association).
Encloses the Bye-laws (rules and regulations) of the Association.
Encloses the prescribed fee.
All applicants sign on the application, along with a witness' signature and Voila! an Association is born!
What are the various roles in the Association?
The Member: Every owner of the apartment complex is a member of the Association. In the case of joint ownership, the first person named in the title document is typically the member. No person who is not an owner of an apartment in the complex can be a member of the association.
The Associate Member: Any person, or persons, other than the owner, who is wholly residing, occupying or otherwise in lawful possession of any apartment in complex becomes an Associate member of the association. The Associate member pays maintenance charges to use common facilities, but does not have right to vote, unless authorized by the owner of the flat in writing.
The General Body (GB): All members of the association form the General Body - this is the supreme authority of the Association. The GB may alter, rescind, add, or amend the bye-laws, with the approval and consent of at least 1\3 members voting in general body. All members of the association are bound by the bye-laws. The decision of the GB is binding on all members.
The Management Committee (MC): A board of members elected by and from the GB, that represents the Association before all government and other official or non official bodies in all matters concerning the building and other rights and interests of the members. The MC is typically composed of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer (together known as the Executive Committee) and 8 other members. The period of office of the elected members is typically 12 months. Such members are eligible for re-election for another term. The work of the MC is reviewed by the GB at the annual general body meeting or any other meeting.
As a member, what are my duties and rights?
Duties: Attend all General Body meetings, pay the dues decided by the General Body in a timely manner, abide by the Bye-Laws.
Rights: Vote in the elections - each member, irrespective of the apartment type & size has a single vote at Annual General Body Meeting or in any other official meeting, elections, of the association. Should a member have ownership of more than one apartment, the number of votes shall be in proportion to the number of apartments owned. The member has a right to authorize a proxy to vote in his absence. Each member of the association has the right to inspect all records, books of accounts of the association with 3 days prior notice to the Management Committee.
What are the duties of the Management Committee?
Organize, social, cultural and recreational facilities and amenities for the resident, supervise the same and maintain or organize the maintenance of all common areas and amenities thereof.
Assign the responsibilities for carrying out day to day administration of building and affairs of association to the employees appointed for such purpose
Represent the members of the Association, in the matter relating to the building or arising in relation to it, with the aim of protecting their rights and interest
Encourage and promote religious, cultural and educational activities and promote charitable feelings amongst members.
Join hand with any other association for common and mutual benefits.
Open and maintain one or more bank Accounts of the association in the name of the association with any nationalized bank as decided by the committee.
Ensure that the income monies received by the association are applied in promoting the objectives of the association and are not available for distribution on any account amongst the members.
Keep in custody of all original documents connected to the land and building, licences issued by any authorities in relation of the said building or land
What are the duties and powers of the President, Secretary and Treasurer?
The president presides over all the committee meetings and has general control over all the affairs of the association. He/she is the person who can sue with the consent of the general body or defend any legal action against the association on behalf of the association, after taking appropriate legal advice.
All legal proceedings are instituted and continued or defended by the president. He/she signs all documents and papers and vakalats relating thereto in the name and on behalf of the association.
The president enters into contracts approved or delegated by the committee.
In the absence of the president, for any reason whatsoever, the committee may authorize the secretary or the treasurer to sign all such documents, papers etc for and on behalf of the association.
The secretary is responsible for the executive administration of the association subject to the control of the committee.
The treasure has custody of all properties of the association including the funds of the association.
He\she is empowered to operate the bank accounts of the association jointly, but not severally, with president, or secretary. Any such account operation is only for bonafide and authorized purpose of the association
The treasurer maintains a petty cash account for meeting the immediate petty expenses.
On the question of alignment of the Apartment Owners' Association with the Courts of Law, here is a good article from The Hindu, albeit a bit dated. The takeaway from this article: "it is important that the association be held together by close bonds of trust and goodwill. "
So, go ahead! Elect your new Association Management Committee, and let them assume office with the re-assuring knowledge that by their side is you, and is Apartment Adda*! :)
* Apartment Adda helps Apartment Owners' Associations / RWAs achieve their goals by providing efficient communication and management tools online. For more information, please do visit us at www.ApartmentAdda.com
Note: The above article has been compiled from Karnataka Societies Registration Act and typical Bye-Laws of Apartment Owners' Associations. Please be aware that each Association has its own set of bye-laws and there are chances that the definitions & duties in your Association is different from those laid out above. You are advised to study the bye-laws of your own association for an accurate understanding of your duties and rights.
Finally some good news if you are in the home buying market! After a few months of stagnation the real estate market has started seeing activity. In the past few years with the economy booming, Apartment prices in Bangalore had reached the stratosphere. Now as a fallout of the global recession and ease in demand - prices are returning slowly down to earth.
Things are looking up for a new home buyer because of the following reasons.
Builders like DLF, Shobha have slashed their prices by approx. 30% in select locations of Bangalore. This will have a cascading effect and may see all around price reduction. Buyers in the market for a 2BHK can now consider buying a 3BHK apartment.
Government has cut the stamp duty to 6% from 8.48%. This will result in a saving of upto 80,000Rs on a 50 Lakh house.
Home loan rates are also sliding down and the market is expecting further rate cuts. Most Public Sector Banks are providing home loan rates in the vicinity of 9.00% for a 20 Lakh loan.
Prices of construction materials have decreased in the last one year. Cement price has reduced by 7% Brick price has reduced by 20% Gravel price has reduced by 20% Sand price has reduced by 27% Glass price has reduced by 12.5% Plywood has reduced by 10%
Now the question on every one's mind is will the rates go down further, or has it reached the bottom. However, it is time to pack a water bottle, wear a cap and go visit the Apartments and start looking for a good deal.
It is the Buyer's market in real estate now !
On a lighter note, this somehow reminds us the starting line of this 1971 Coca-cola TV commercial: "I'd like to buy the world a home, and furnish it with love... " :)
Sources : Times of India, Indian Express, BBMP website.
Disclaimer : While Apartment Adda makes every effort to provide up-to-date factual information, readers are encouraged to take decision based on further market information catering to their specific requirements.
As the SAS (Self Assessment Scheme) Property Tax in Bangalore can be payed from tomorrow (February 10), the Property Tax calculator of BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) is available for use from today.
For all other questions on Property Tax in Bangalore, please refer to this useful handbook published on the BBMP site: http://www.bmponline.org/propertytax/Hand%20Book.shtml Especially useful is the Frequently Asked Questions on Bangalore Property Tax, which is part of this handbook.
All of us who have purchased an Apartment in Bangalore, know that Khata Transfer is an important to-do to complete the set of official property documents. Khata Transfer is also important for paying the property tax and avoid incurring any fine for negligence. This article tries to compile more knowledge about Khata transfer in the context of Apartment bought from the builder.
What is a Khata / Khatha?
A Khata is an account of assessment of a property, recording details about the property such as size, location, built up area and so on for the purpose of payment of property tax. It is also a kind of identification of the person who is primarily liable for payment of property tax. It is one of the required documents in case you require a building license, trade license or loan from banks or any other financial institutions. (courtesy: propmart.com)
What is the process of Khata transfer?
BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) publishes a Khata Transfer Quick Reference guide at this link:
A friend who has pursued the Khata Transfer process successfully in the month of Dec-2008, reports the below:
The Khata Application form and the Khata Application Acknowledgment form can be downloaded from this link. Alternately, it can be purchased for Rs.20/- from the Citizen Service Centers.
Below are the property documents which must be attached along with the filled application form:
(i) Notarized Sale Deed
(ii) Paid up Betterment/Improvement Charges Receipt (collect this from the builder)
(iii) Latest paid up Property Tax Receipt (it is possible that you have been paying property tax after registration of your flat. In this case, you need two receipts (a) the latest receipt paid by you (b) the last receipt paid by the builder before registration)
(iv) Encumbrance Certificate (get this from the place where Sale Deed Registration took place)
(v) Occupancy Certificate (collect this from the builder)
(vi) Conversion Certificate (collect this from the builder)
In the Khata Transfer Reference BBMP mandates document number (i) - (iii) to be attached to the application form. However, certain panchayat offices require rest of the documents as well. It is advised that you collect all of them so as to have a complete set of your property documents.
The official Admin fee to be paid is 2% of the Stamp Duty payable by DD in favour of Commissioner, BBMP.
After the application is submitted you need to wait till a Khata Transfer Order arrives. You are informed once the order arrives, after which you need to make the payment of the property tax due and apply for the Khata Certificate and the Khata Extract.
Officially, the whole process should take 20 working days.
Note: Please do provide your inputs if you find the process significantly changed or if this article can be enriched further.
Apartment Adda was talked about in bangaloreinc! Praveen Karoshi did a great job of covering all our features and the business model.
Praveen also raised a question regarding the positioning of Apartment Adda. Here is the question along with our response (also posted as a comment against the same post on bangaloreinc).
Why would anyone use Apartment Adda and not any other general networking site (e.g., Orkut)?
If you do not like reading long posts, here is a one line answer:
It is the same reason why a chef would use a dedicated knife like a Wusthof Classic or a Sabatier to cut his meat and not a multifunction pen-knife.
If you want more, read on!
Apartment communities have unique communication requirements, very different from general networking.
From the viewpoint of the Resident: The Apartment resident lives in harmony with his neighbours and pays for common maintenance. Many residential issues directly impacting him are decided jointly. To facilitate this joint decision making and info-sharing, a secure, private network is required.
As a simple example, if Orkut is used for residential networking, you may think many times before discussing sensitive topics such as "Our security guard was found sleeping yesterday night". :)
Since Apartment Adda gives the control of the network in the hands of the Association Committee of the Apartment complex, there is clear accountability of who is let in and who is not. The fields that Apartment Adda makes mandatory when a user tries to register, ensures that the Association committee can easily verify the residential status of the user.
All other features for the Apartment resident are simple, effective and fun to use.
From the viewpoint of the Association Committee/RWA: This is a cause very close to our heart. Any Apartment resident who is also an active part of the Residents' Welfare Association (RWA) is a social reformer in his own right! He volunteers to dedicate his personal time and money (in terms of hidden costs such as mobile airtime) to ensure a smooth day to day residential maintenance as well as take bigger decisions to make the neighborhood better.
He is held accountable for common funds worth crores but does not have any dedicated tools to make his life simpler. Most of his time gets lost in running after maintenance fee defaulters and AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) contacts.
Apartment Adda provides the Association with a maintenance fee tracker that can automatically calculate dues, track receivables as well as inform defaulters via the online noticeboard, email or sms. Other features such as the Issue Tracker, Admin Forum and Maintenance contacts gives them an online shared workspace so that residential issues can be resolved, without having to wait for the next committee meeting.
For more information on Apartment Adda, please do get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you.
Apartment Adda is a month old now! It is hardly a milestone when we compare ourselves against business giants who have seen centuries go past while they strive incessantly to serve their customers.. But then, you cannot blame the first-time-parents of a newborn for cutting a cake for every month that their baby survives and grows.. :)
So, what did Apartment Adda do in the past month. We added new features (the Adda Profile, Batch upload of residents database, Apartment Complex Income and Expense trackers and an improvised Poll), we demonstrated Apartment Adda to interested Association committees and spoke to many apartment residents who are excited about using Apartment Adda.
Oasis Breeze, our founding Adda, went live a few weeks back. It also happens to be our home and a neighbourhood full of enthusiasm and life. Of a total of 165 flats, 163 residents are already online on the Oasis Breeze Adda. We, at Apartment Adda, wish Oasis Breeze all the best with building a great neighbourhood together!
That's all from us as of now.. As always, do write in!