DELHI: Buying a house is a cumbersome task. Some people may feel overwhelmed even after the purchase, thanks to hefty maintenance bills that can make a hole of up to Rs 4,000-5,000 per month in the pocket. Of course, the amount varies from building to building, but can become aburden for a person who is also bearing the burden of the home loan.
Usually, the purchaser is aware of these charges right at the beginning, or should ask what they are at the time of purchase. However, it is highly unlikely that this will induce a change in the decision to buy. What makes up the maintenance expenses?
Security and Technicians
A large portion of the maintenance bill includes the costs associated with upkeep of the society/building and security. In large societies, the costs are higher because provision has to be made for the services of an electrician, a plumber and guards.
Technicians are often hired as regular employees to get away from the problems of finding someone whenever a contingency occurs. This increases costs. Hiring securityguards through an agency or employing full-time guards is obviously more expensive. So too with electricians and plumbers.
The other issue is to take into account the credentials of the person being hired. The background and other details are sometimes difficult to get. This is why some resident associations prefer hiring guards from authorised agencies.
As buildings grow older, issues like seepage, painting, wiring and repairs come up. Maintaining lifts also costs money. Lift maintenance charges can sometimes run to Rs 80,000-100,000 a month. Then again, electricity charges for the building need to be met. Power back-up is a cost consuming feature. All this gets added to the total maintenance cost paid by the resident.
Water supply in metropolitan cities is a grave issue. In tier 2 towns, the situation is not that bad. If a building gets its water supply from a tanker, that adds to maintenance charges. Building societies without borewells or supply from municipal corporations tend to have higher maintenance costs.
Issues and challenges
The main issue with esident welfare association is defaulters or those who do not pay for maintenance. Affordability can be an issue. Sometimes, a homeowner who is not willing to pay higher charges may try and form a lobby within the apartment block or society.
The challenge for the RWA is to recover the money and treat such cases with a firm hand. Failure to deal with the issue may motivate others to not to pay the maintenance charge, due to which the society/building will suffer.
The appreciation of rates is the biggest concern for some homeowners. They want to the maintenance charge to be fixed on square foot basis, and so resist any additional costs.
Some societies these days try to tap additional sources of income. This includes the installation of mobile towers in the building, and renting out the flats of NRI owners or whose details are not known and who have not paid for the maintenance of the society. Penalties on defaulters that can go up to cancelling the possession and selling of the property are also enforced in some cases.
Whatever the case, it’s rarely that these funds are siphoned off or not charged. Keep saving and setting aside the maintenance amount, because non-payment after reminders can cost you your sweet home.
As the end user of property you can analyse the charges better than an investor who rarely visits the property. If you are an investor and looking forward to holding the property for a long term, then extra maintenance cost can prove to be a hole in your pocket.
You must calculate and ascertain the actual benefit after adjusting such costs before acquiring the property. Many builders offer attractive discounts by increasing the maintenance cost; buyers should be alert.