In a significant move, the Maharashtra state cabinet has given the green light to an amendment that promises to reshape the landscape of housing redevelopment. Soon, private housing societies registered under the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act will have the power to forcibly evict members who stand in the way of rejuvenating their aging apartments.
The backstory to this change lies in a critical development from July 2018, when Section 6A was introduced to the Act. It allowed buildings over 30 years old, on the brink of ruin, to propose a revitalization plan. But here's the catch - if an association of apartment owners agreed to this transformation by a simple majority, it still left a crucial question unanswered: what to do when some members resist redevelopment?
Enter Section 6B, the newest addition to the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970. This section is poised to become a game-changer, making it mandatory for apartment owners to vacate their premises if their fellow residents have voted in favor of redevelopment under Section 6A.
What's truly groundbreaking is the enforcement mechanism. Suppose a resident refuses to vacate voluntarily, and the apartment owners' association can formally approach the planning authority. In that case, the planning authority can enlist the help of law enforcement to ensure eviction.
This amendment draws inspiration from a similar provision in the Mhada Act. In the case of disputes, MHADA appoints a legal officer to mediate and, if necessary, orders the eviction of dissenting members.
The impact of this change could be profound, given that a significant percentage of buildings in various cities across Maharashtra operate under the purview of the Apartment Ownership Act. For instance, ground-plus-two or -three-floor structures in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, and other parts of the state can benefit from this amendment.
Ramesh Prabhu, President of the Federation of Cooperative Housing Societies, highlights the significance of this move. With over 40% of buildings in Pune, 60-70% in Nagpur, 30-40% in Nashik, and a staggering 90% in other parts of the state falling under the act, it's clear that this amendment is poised to transform the way redevelopment is carried out, streamlining the process and potentially redevelop aging housing societies across Maharashtra.
This development has opened a new chapter in the state's housing sector, promising a smoother path to renewal and ensuring that members of apartment societies can no longer obstruct the journey to safer, more modern homes.
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