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While the open plots in Mumbai no more available to the developers for constructions, the Redevelopment scheme within last few years that has hit Mumbai with great potential. However, it is bitter fact that by and large, when the proposal of redevelopment is taken up for decision in a General Meeting, has culminated in disagreement from Members of the Society time and again.

Every Housing Society need to know that in Redevelopment of Housing Society - all that glitter is not gold. Redevelopment projects have often collapsed due to the growing demands of the Members in majority. There is a high level of diffidence amongst the Members when the idea of Redevelopment is proposed. There is persistent fear of insecurity whether the developer will deliver the redeveloped property or leave it intermediately.

First and foremost, the Housing Society Members must ensure that their Office Bearers and the Members of the Managing Committee are elected as per the provisions of Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, Rules and Bye-Laws. In short, please ensure that the entire Managing Committee is lawfully constituted.

There are numerous instances where firstly, the Members of the Managing Committee are hooked and enticed of unlawful gratifications in substantial amount by certain unscrupulous developers and use these Managing Committee Members as their agents to pursue and pass over the rosy dreams and benefits to innocent Members of the Society and criminally ensure that the redevelopment project is bagged by them.

The corrupt Members of the Managing Committees also resort to arm twisting, harassment and threatening method to the flat owners into submission as per the developer’s orders. Scared by such hounding tactics, most Members of the Society accept and offer their consent towards the redevelopment without any protest and prefer to go along with whatever the Office Bearers and the Members of the Managing Committee decides.

It is well known fact that the illegal gratifications and lavish spending by a large cartel of unscrupulous developers entice the Members of the Managing Committees of Cooperative Housing Societies and provoke them to turn against their own Members of the Society in the matter of obtaining consent and force implementation of redevelopment.

It is often observed that the Managing Committees do not have the required knowledge of redevelopment compelling them to be at the mercy of the Professionals who are equally incompetent in the integrated areas and intricacies of Redevelopment of Housing Societies.

Please remember that going in for redevelopment without knowing the precise procedures and processes involved is like walking on the edge of a cliff blindfolded and any single wrong step could send the whole Society tumbling downwards. Essential information is one concept where half knowledge is infinitely more dangerous than ignorance.

If any step taken without following the necessary guidelines, all the efforts would be rendered null and void. Clearly, the need of the hour is that those standing on the threshold of redevelopment receive advice from counsellors who have the experience and expertise to direct the Society in achieving the desired goals.

On the front of redevelopment, in a fair and above-board transaction, the developer should pass on some of that value to residents of the building, either through money paid as a corpus, or additional space in the flats, or both. Here’s where the Managing Committee can be lured into agreeing to a raw deal for their neighbours of decades. Two-crore rupees passed on by the developer is a very small amount for him, while for the Members of the Managing Committee, it’s an amount they’ve never seen before.

There are, of course, guidelines laid down by the Maharashtra government to ensure that all residents of a Housing Society get a fair and market-driven deal. A Housing Society cannot be handed over to a designated developer unless it is agreed to by at least 70% of the Members. The process of selection of a developer has to be preceded by the appointment of a Project Management Consultant (PMC), who is an architect and knows the exact value of the property and how much residents should get as their share of the benefit of redevelopment.

But as is the case with deviant India, this process is almost always subverted by appointing a PMC who gives a doctored report to favour a certain developers. Housing Societies with literate and aware residents will make sure that there is transparency in the selection of the PMC.

This is to be done by asking some PMCs to send in their profiles with track record of work done and the value they brought to residents in Housing Societies that they have previously advised. This must be crosschecked with references from residents of Societies who have availed of their services and can vouch for the veracity of the PMC’s claims. The developers short-listed are also asked for a similar profile and a list of projects successfully delivered.

None of this exercise done in case the Managing Committee wants to cream off some of the money for themselves, in which case they typically end up with a selection of a developer who has little experience, virtually no capital and is hungry to make a break. As we all know, the land is very expensive in Mumbai and a Redevelopment Agreement grants a developer access to that asset of his saleable are for free.

With regard to enforcing the Law & Order against the fraud and cheat builders, the Indian Police has always remained in forefront to protect the cold-blooded builders and milk them as often as needed. Even basic functions like lodging a FIR against the deceptive and dishonest builders is firstly not registered, victims are encouraged and even threatened for not to file an official complaint. If a case somehow gets registered, the police usually do not take any action. The con developers, corrupt politicians and policemen go like hand in glove, often resulting in exploitation of the gullible and naïve Buyers / Members of the Society.

It is not expected of a common man to analyze the hidden risks in a redevelopment scenario. His knowledge is zero to know the judiciary system and its intricacies. The developers on the other hand, have fleet of highly paid advocates and experts to advise and protect them. 

Last, but not the least, the successful execution of any redevelopment project primarily depends on the management by the Members of the Managing Committees with transparent efforts to protect the corporate interest of the Society and 100% co-operation of each and every Member. This, in turn, again depends on the capacity of the Members of the Managing Committees who are entrusted with the management of entire process of the redevelopment with their honesty and integrity.