MUMBAI: Residents of a plush new Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) tower, Signia Pearl, and the builder, Sunteck Realty, are at daggers drawn over the formation of a housing society. The dispute escalated earlier last week with bouncers stationed outside the 18-storey tower with the two sides accusing each other of arm-twisting.

Residents said they had to call the police after the developer brought bouncers in front of the builder. The developer, though, accused the residents of threatening and preventing the staff of the tower’s facility management from leaving the premises on Saturday evening.

Signia Pearl, one of the most expensive residential properties in the commercial business district of BKC, was built by Sunteck Realty. Luxury flats were sold for Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore each. Families moved in a few years ago and the dispute started soon after over registration of the society.

Last August, the district deputy registrar of cooperative societies ordered the registration of the housing society. The developer, though, challenged the order before the divisional joint registrar, stating the Signia Pearl Condominium was already registered on September 16, 2020, two days before the deputy registrar’s order was received. A condominium agreement allows the builder to control the property even after flats are sold and the building occupied. It also allows it to control its future development benefits. On the other hand, registration of a society gives the entire control of the building to flat owners.

A Sunteck spokesperson told TOI the agreement of sale clearly mentioned the building will have a condominium of flat owners, not a housing society.

Amarpal Sethi, one of the flat owners leading the fight, alleged the builder now also wants to add six more floors on top of the already-occupied tower.

The developer, though, said the residents were aware of plans to build the tower till 24 floors with 96 flats. The building currently has 18 floors with 80 flats. “We already have FSI for the additional floors but were unable to build because of aviation height restrictions. Recently, the civil aviation ministry relaxed these restrictions and we can now build those additional floors,” said the Sunteck spokesperson.

In its appeal before the joint registrar, the developer said the deputy registrar hastily issued the registration certificate for the formation of the society without verifying the proposal and documents on record. It accused the chief promoter of the society of submitting an incomplete registration proposal. The developer claimed the criterion of minimum members needed to form a society was not fulfilled.

It accused flat buyers of using the order and registration certificate in an “illegal and mala fide” way to “illegally” and “unlawfully” usurp the maintenance of the building taken care of by the developer along with Jones Lang LaSalle and Clarissa Facility Management.

The divisional joint registrar, in his order, though, ruled in favour of the flat owners, stating the builder was already in a high court-appointed mediation process in respect of registration of the society. The order said the condominium was formed after the society had already been formed by the flat owners.

“We will challenge this order,” said the Sunteck spokesperson.



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