A major task today is getting the right handover from your developer/builder to the Residential Association/Society to ensure that there are no obstacles in the future. Let’s look at a comprehensive handover checklist that you need to cover in this process.
The first point to note is that every housing society has some common areas and as per the RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development Act) the builder is accountable for giving basic society maintenance services to the residents; these charges though quite feasible are billed to the residents.
Formation of the Resident Welfare Association:
The process of taking over from the builder first begins with the formation of the society’s Resident Welfare Association (RWA), only once this is formed the maintenance work can be handed over by the builder.
Once the RWA is formed and the handover process begins it is essential that they demand all the documentation from the builder for the building. This is probably the most important point as once the builder has done the handover to the society, any future compliances of the building will fall under the society’s responsibility. Hence ensuring they have the following documents is critical:
• Occupancy Certificate: Completion and Occupancy Possession certificates is proof from the builder that the building is completed as per the approved plan and government compliances. If the builder is unable to provide you with these certificates, then either the building laws are violated or deviated from the original construction plans. Either way, it’s illegal to occupy a building/apartment that does not have an occupancy certificate
• NOC Certificate: A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is issued where there is no objection to the covenants of the certificate. A builder has to compulsory submit an NOC from the fire safety, water, and pollution departments to the RWA (Residents Welfare Association).
Make a note of the below-mentioned documents as well as they are also a mandatory requirement in a handover –
• Original registration documents
• Audited accounts documents
• Tax-related documents
• Property Insurance details
• Conveyance of property
• Handover of the Corpus fund
• Contracts with vendors
• Approved floor plans
• Car parking allocation record
• Clearance to operate Elevators
• Invoices and Warranties (Pumps, Generator, Transformer, Pool and Gym Equipment, Lift, etc.)
• Architectural and Structural Drawings (Electrical wiring, water piping, etc.)
• AMC Documents (Lift, Generator, Transformer, etc.)
• Maintenance schedule for all the assets
• Staff schedule
• List of amenities offered
• List of services offered post the handover
Besides the certificates and documents, let’s have a look at other areas as well that are important with respect to the handover.
Selecting the right Facility Management Firm:
The next step towards ensuring a smooth transition is the RWA selecting the right Facility Management (FM) firm to maintain the building in the future. This should ideally be done as soon as the RWA is formed. Make sure the FM company selected is able to do a thorough transition on behalf of the RWA.
Snagging and Transition:
Once the FM Company has been shortlisted to maintain the premises post the handover, there should be a comprehensive transition program planned. This essentially means the FM company would deploy a team to identify all the snags in the building and highlight all the issues that need resolving by the builder before they take over, this process would also ensure that all the equipment’s supplied by the builder such as Generators, STPs, Pool, Firefighting Systems, etc. are in proper working condition. Leakage verification should be a huge part of the snagging as well, especially when it comes to your kitchens or bathrooms. It would be very difficult to ask the builder to fix them later on, hence these should be covered beforehand. Once the list of all the snags or defects are submitted to the RWA from the FM Company, the RWA must ensure they force the builder to resolve all of them within a stipulated time period.
Transfer Utility Connection:
It’s the builder’s responsibility to transfer the utility connections such as electricity and water connection to the RWA during the handover of the amenities. In case the builder is unable to do that; he needs to give an NOC certificate for the same.
Usually the quantum of the maintenance charges remains undisclosed during the sale and are revealed only during the time of a handover. Get all this information beforehand as once the RWA is formed, they can formulate their own set of maintenance charges. Maintenance charges are critical as they are applicable for everything that is required for the society’s maintenance and safety for example lobbies, elevators, gardens, parking areas, centralized services like electricity, air conditioning, and more. It is also worth noting here that when the FM Company is taking over they should ideally suggest having a dedicated accountant for the society. This will help in the future when the RWA will be in charge of collecting the maintenance charges and explaining the same to the other residents.
Builders commit to a series of amenities such as a swimming pool, gym, clubhouse, etc. before the sale of the building. However, there is always a possibility that few of them get delayed or are not as per the standards promised. Ensure that all the amenities are available and are also as per the agreement signed during the sale.
Creation of a Resident Manual:
This is the last step towards completing a takeover of the society and this should again ideally be suggested by the FM Company that has been selected. The Resident Manual is basically a comprehensive set of guidelines that all the residents of the building must follow going forward. This is generally created over a few months with the inputs of all the residents. This principally includes the maintenance charges, payments process, funds allocation, clubhouse management, timings for external vendors to work in case of fitout work, parking rules, etc. This manual would be handed over to anyone that moves into the building and shall govern the process and systems that all the residents must follow.
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