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Builders can’t sell open parking space: MahaRERA

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The ruling by the MahaRERA is a reiteration of the rules set in the central RERA Act.

Builders in India are not entitled to sell open parking spaces under the provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016. This fact has once again been reiterated by the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA). The MahaRERA has recently issued a notification, saying developers are not entitled to sell or allot open parking to homebuyers.

According to the central RERA act, open parking spaces in a housing society are part of the common area of the project and provided free of floor space index (FSI). The open parking space must be transferred in the name of the housing society, as part of the conveyance deed. The notification by the MahaRERA makes it mandatory for developers to mark garages, open and covered parking spaces in their projects.

When garages or covered parking spaces are sold, the sale deed must also mention the type, the number, the size, and the exact location of such garage or covered parking space in the sale agreement, the MahaRERA notification issued on July 31, 2021, said.

“Garage and /or covered parking space when sold/allotted for monetary consideration, the type, numbers, and size, as well as the place where such garage or covered parking space is situated, should be mentioned in the agreement for sale being entered into and the plan showing the exact location/allotment along with the particulars as aforesaid, should be annexed to the agreement for sale,” the notification read.

“We have been receiving several complaints from citizens regarding parking being allotted at the discretion of the developers. This notification usher in clarity and transparency between both, the developer and the home buyers, thus, reducing complaints,” MahaRERA chairman Ajoy Mehta said, after the notice in this regard was issued earlier, in August 2021.

In August 2020, the MahaRERA had also snubbed a Pune-based builder for failing to provide standard-size parking space to buyers. It said that parking space was a contractual obligation on the part of builders towards buyers, directing the builder to provide a proper driveway.

What is stilt parking and how does it impact building safety?

Can a builder sell the stilt parking space in a project and are such buildings safe? We answer some of the common questions that home buyers have, vis-à-vis stilt parking

A large number of housing societies nowadays offer stilt parking, in place of open parking spaces. These are most common in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, where space is limited and providing an open parking facility is not an option.

Parking is among the many issues, which lead to confusion and disputes among housing society members. This is why a buyer must have clarity about parking spaces, whether it is stilt or open space. In this context, we elaborate on what stilt parking is, its impact on the building’s structural safety if the buyer can sell it, etc.

What is stilt parking?

In housing societies where space is a constraint, the ground floor space is used to provide parking space. To achieve this, an eight-ft-high floor is constructed, which acts as the partially covered parking space, while also acting as the base structure for the entire building. In project brochures, housing societies that have stilt parking are described as G+3 or G+4 structures and so on.

Housing societies that are built on such structures can use the space only for stilt parking and nothing else, under the provisions of the law. Stilt parking cannot be turned into servant quarters or an area to run commercial activities.

Stilt parking: Legal perspective

In order to provide housing to a growing number of people within city centers, several amendments have been made in existing laws that define apartment construction in India’s big cities, to make stilt parking compulsory. For example, in the national capital of Delhi, stilt parking was made mandatory in 2011 for all new societies between 100 and 1,000 sq meters.

Note here that stilt parking is not considered as part of the floor-space ratio. This means that if a builder has the approval to construct a four-story building, the vertical area used up in constructing the stilt parking will not be included.

This provision is also beneficial for home buyers. For example, in the NCR, buyers can construct one floor after the ground floor, in their independent homes. However, they can make it two floors, if they make provisions for stilt parking.

Can builders sell stilt parking spaces?

All parking facilities are counted among the ’common facilities‘ in housing societies. Apart from the real estate act, the laws governing apartment construction across states also specify that car parking falls in common areas and is not part of the floor area ratio allocated to the developer. Hence, parking spaces belong to every stakeholder in a housing society and the developer has no right to sell the same.

The Supreme Court also made that observation, while passing a landmark verdict in 2010, a time when instances of developers selling parking spaces for a premium was increasing. Developers charged lakhs of rupees from buyers, for selling parking spaces. “The stilt parking spaces cannot be put on sale by the developer, as he ceases to have any title on the same as soon as the occupancy certificate (OC) is issued by the corporation and it becomes the property of the society on its registration. So, stilt parking space is not sellable at all,” a Supreme Court bench of justices AK Patnaik and RM Lodha ruled.

How is a stilt parking space allotted?

As the number of parking slots available in a housing society is limited, members are typically awarded space for a limited period by the residents’ welfare association (RWA) on a first-come, first-served basis. Periodic changes are made by the RWA in this allotment, to accommodate new members. Note that the model building bylaws and the National Building Code specify mandatory parking space for each unit in a housing development. The builder is obliged to provide at least one parking space to a member.

Are buildings with stilt parking safe?

Aspersions have been cast on the safety of structures that stand on the hollow ground in the form of stilt parking. In an earthquake manual titled, ‘Handbook on seismic retrofit of buildings, the Central Public Works Department, in 2007, cited stilt constructions as one of the major deficiencies of building masonry. “A ground story without walls (for car parking) can cave in,” says the manual. Builders and civic authorities on the other hand argue that by applying effective designing techniques that help balance the weight of the building, the structure could be made earthquake-resistant.

Word of caution to buyers

Buyers should ask the builder for the building plan approval if they are buying a house in such a society. This document would clearly state the number of parking spaces, as approved by the authorities. Builders have to submit an undertaking that says that the buildings are well-designed and follow safety norms if the structure has stilt parking. Read the details pertaining to this, to find out if the promise made in the undertaking holds true in reality. In case of a problem, you can approach the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum to seek relief, if the RWA refuses to entertain your request.

Source- https://housing.com/news/what-is-stilt-parking-and-its-impact-on-building-safety/

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