Can Housing Societies Restrict Bachelors
Housing societies too have been in the news for discriminating based on religion, community, food habits and Marital Status. Out of these, the most common issue is the issue of permitting the stay of bachelors. Some societies allow working executives but do not allow students where as a few others do not allow both.
Can Housing Societies restrict the members of the society from renting it out to Bachelors? Is it legal?
Under the Consumer Act, the Society is classified as a Service Provider. The Society’s responsibility is to provide Common Services & and to provide and take care of the Common Amenities to its members, which also include the tenants of the members. The society does not have ownership of the property. Therefore they do not have any say on the type of tenants that can be allowed to stay in the property. It is the sole discretion of the owner to rent out his property to any type of tenant.
As per the Fundamental Rights, under the Indian Constitution, all citizens have the fundamental rights to move or stay anywhere in India except for Prohibited or Restricted Areas. Housing Societies and Apartments do not come under the Prohibited or Restricted areas. Therefore for no reason, can there be any restriction on a Bachelor Tenants from moving into society. By not allowing bachelors it is a gross violation of the Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India.
The societies have the power to make bye laws and resolutions approved by the majority of the votes for smooth functioning of the society. These provide specific guide lines for the registration of the society, Do’s & Don’ts, common area maintenance, rules regarding leasing and selling of houses in the society, fines for non payment of maintenance on time and other practices. There is a tendency of the housing societies to deny tenancy to bachelors based on their byelaws / resolutions.
The Legal Experts say:
1. The Society cannot discriminate against bachelors and cannot charge any extra fees / fine for renting it out to Bachelors. The society can impose fine on non payment of the maintenance charges.
2. The Society can only impose restrictions on whether the property can be let out for commercial purpose.
3. The Society can fix conduct rules for the safety of the dwellers.
4. There is no law in the Constitution that a property cannot be rented out to Bachelors.
5. Any regulation which infringes on the fundamental rights of an individual can be challenged in the court of law.
6. Even if your society takes a decision based on the majority of the votes, these decisions are not valid in the court of law.
7. The Housing Society regulations do not have the same stature as that of a law.
8. The Societies cannot overrule the fundamental rights or create a rule which is against the constitution.