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Can a clinic be permitted in a residential apartment?
Source : The Hindu Property Plus Published On : 2009-01-31 City : Chennai

Change in use is not possible without proper sanction, writes C.H.Gopinatha Rao

In an apartment complex in Chennai, one of the eight apartments was converted into a 24 hour clinic.

The other residents of the apartment complex filed a petition in the Court praying that the clinic functioning form 9 am to 7 pm and 11 pm to 9 am and offering services such as ultrasound , ECG, X-ray and Scan be directed to be closed.

They argued that the clinic attracted a large number of patients and the residential character of the apartment complex was converted into commercial. In addition, the residents complained that the hospital waste was badly managed and causing environmental distress and nuisance.

The flat in contention was not used as a mere consulting room. It was almost functioning as a full-fledged hospital generating a lot of waste and the open common area was also used.

It was argued by the counsel for the clinic that the building regulations allowed professional consulting office to an extent of not more than 40 sq, metres within a residential area and the flat in question was less than 40 sq.m. Hence there was not any need for permission to use the flat as a clinic. However, the Court observed when planning permission was given; it was given for eight residential apartments as indicated in the approved drawings.

While building rules allow for non residential activity including professional consulting office not exceeding a floor area of 40 sq, metres, the flat in contention exceeds it and is about 90 sq.m.

For the above two reasons, the court found that the flat owner must have got sanction from the authorities before he used the apartment as a clinic.

However, the Court permitted the owner of the hospital to approach the competent authorities to seek permission for use of the said residential portion for a different purpose. The authorities, in turn, shall decide the issue by following the guidelines as enshrined under section 49(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act. The authorities were also directed to give an opportunity to the other residents in the apartment and pass appropriate orders.

Finally the Court made it clear that pending decision by the authorities, the flat in contestation shall not be used for any other purpose other than residential for which approval was granted by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority ((2008). 4 MLJ 528).

The author is former National President, Institution of Valuers.  

Courtesy: The Hindu property plus in Chennai Date: 31-Jan-2009.

 
Applicability of urban land tax

            I am an NRI and own a property in Chennai. I would like to know if I have to pay vacant land tax. I had applied for patta 8 months back and yet to receive it. Who pays for it if it is a collective patta? Shanthakumar, ZambiaI am an NRI and own a property in Chennai. I would like to know if I have to pay vacant land tax. I had applied for patta 8 months back and yet to receive it. Who pays for it if it is a collective patta? Shanthakumar, Zambia

Our panelist, Mr.R.L.Narayanan replies: If the property is in excess of 2 grounds, then you have to pay Urban Land Tax. Normally, this may be the only tax which is payable. In case Patta is jointly held with others, all the owners are jointly and severally liable to pay tax.

Non-payment of maintenance

One of the 12 flat owners passed away three years back, his wife passed away earlier. He has 3 sons and 2 daughters. One son is not mentally sound. The other two have locked the flat [ground floor] with individual locks. We have contact details of one son only who does not respond. The house is under lock and key for the past 3 years. No one visits the flat. No one pays for the maintenance. All the flats badly need renovation We Live in a Colony Called “Kumbam Colony" in Kilpauk comprising two towers, each tower comprising 6 flats. In total there are 12 flats. We plan few live in a colony called "Kumbam Colony" in Kilpauk comprising two towers, each tower comprising 6 flats. In total there are 12 flats. We plan for expansion or reconstruction under joint venture or reconstruction. We have not formed an association so far, but now we want to. Can we form an association and register with 11 members alone? Balachandar

Mr. Narayanan replies: You have to file a suit for recovery of maintenance and other charges in respect of the complex as a whole. Insofar as expansion and reconstruction are concerned, the owners concerned have to consent for the same.

We live in a colony called "Kumbam Color expansion or reconstruction under joint venture. One of the 12 flat owners passed away three years back, his wife passed away earlier. He has 3 sons and 2 daughters. One son is not mentally sound. The other two have locked the flat [ground floor] with individual locks. We have contact details of one son only who does not respond. The house is under lock and key for the past 3 years. No one visits the flat. No one pays for the maintenance. All the flats badly need renovation or reconstruction. We have not formed an association so far, but now we want to. Can we form an association and register with 11 members alone? Balachandar

Mr. Narayanan replies: You have to file a suit for recovery of maintenance and other charges in respect of the complex as a whole. Insofar as expansion and reconstruction are concerned, the owners concerned have to consent for the same.

Legally valid?

I am sending this query on behalf of by friend Mr. Raja of Chennai. My friend’s father Mr. Viswanath made a Settlement Deed of his self- earned property to his daughter Mrs. Lalli Siva Raman. This lady made a settlement deed of the same property to her brother Mr. Raja. However a week before this was done Mr. Viswanath had cancelled the settlement deed made to Mrs. Lalli without her knowledge. But the sub-register registered the settlement deed between Mrs. Lalli and Mr. Raja after studying the cancellation deed of Mr. Viswanath. Mr. Raja wants to know whether the cancellation of settlement deed by Mr. Viswanath is legally correct.

Dr. Bala

Mr. Narayanan replies: The settlement deed executed by your friend’s father in favor of his daughter as well as the deed executed by the daughter in favor of her brother has to be perused. It has to be seen whether the settlement deed was really acted upon and the powers were reserved under the deed to revoke the same.

 Giving a PoA

I am in U.S for a work assignment. However I have a property in India which I wanted to sell while I was in India but could not do that. Now my lawyer in India says I can send a POA to my father. So I have got the documents (POA provided by my lawyer) notarized in US and have send it back to my father. Can you tell me what the next step is? Can my father go ahead without taking any lawyer’s help in India?

Manoj

Mr. Narayanan replies: Please make sure that you sign every page of the Power of Attorney, as it is not unusual to find powers of attorney having signature only in the last page. Your father can have the document adjudicated (a process of payment of stamp duty) within three months after receipt in India.

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