The West Bengal assembly, on July 10, 2019, amended an act to enable associations of a housing project to form a federation, to look after the maintenance and management of common areas and facilities enjoyed by all apartment owners of it. The West Bengal Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the assembly. The West Bengal Apartment Ownership Act, 1972, was enacted to provide for ownership to individuals and to make such apartments heritable and transferable.
The envisaged formation of associations of apartment owners, will take care of maintenance and management of common areas and facilities, related with every apartment within a building. Earlier, there was no concept of large complexes or township developments, consisting of a large number of apartments of different user groups, different income groups and the like. There were only stand-alone buildings, consisting of a few apartments, for which a single association was adequate to maintain and manage the common areas and facilities related to apartments.
During the last four decades, the housing industry has come a long way and the last decade has witnessed the development of not only stand-alone high-rises but also large complexes with multiple residential provisions, such as high-rises, row houses, plotted developments, commercial facilities, etc. It is seen that there are some common facilities, which are enjoyed by all the apartment owners of a large complex or township, which are not exclusive to a particular group of apartment owners. The amendment to the Act was needed, as the maintenance of this type of common areas and facilities, requires a federation of all the associations within a project.