Tamil Nadu’s Apartment Ownership Law Lacks Teeth Sans Rules

Posted On - 9 April, 2024 • By - Agnel Leona

The Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act, passed on March 6, 2024, seems inadequate in dealing with the redevelopment of apartment complexes. The absence of rules for this act in Chennai is impeding the redevelopment of apartment complexes, causing uncertainty for developers and residents’ associations trying to navigate legal challenges posed by dissenting residents.

The primary objective of this legislation is to remove the constraints present in the Tamil Nadu Ownership Act 1994 and provide feasible remedies for the existing issues it entails. It aims to address the lacunae or shortcomings of the previous act (Tamil Nadu Ownership Act 1994) by offering effective solutions. Additionally, apartment owners are required to adhere to all agreements, resolutions, and decisions formulated by the association in accordance with the provisions outlined in this Act or the associated bylaws.

The housing and urban development department of the state released an official notification in the gazette declaring that the Act would be effective starting from March 6, 2024. Nonetheless, despite the Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act taking effect on March 6, 2024, it proved ineffective in addressing the redevelopment of apartment complexes.

The legislation proposing the Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act, 2022, was introduced in the assembly by Mr. S Muthusamy, the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, in 2022. President Droupadi Murmu approved the revocation and re-enactment of the Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act, 1994, on December 15, 2022 to eliminate the limitations and to offer practical solutions to the inadequacies of the 1994 Act. Nevertheless, its execution proves inefficient owing to the lack of regulations, persisting over a year since its approval.

Urban planning expert Mr. K P Subramanian stated that the sections related to redevelopment and the operation of apartment associations, among other aspects, will remain inactive until guidelines are issued, despite the anticipation that rules would accompany the notification.

The lack of rules has impeded the redevelopment of variety of apartment complexes in the city and state, for over three decades. There is a pressing need for redevelopment of several buildings in the city. Without the necessary rules in place, carrying out these projects will be difficult. Mr. S Ramaprabhu, chairman of the Builders Association of India committee (municipal and DTCP), emphasized the necessity for clarity regarding the project advancement process, particularly when encountering opposition from certain quarters.

Although the Act specifies that consent from two-thirds of residents suffices for the demolition and redevelopment of buildings, uncertainties persist regarding provisions or legal options available to residents who dissent from such initiatives. This matter should be clarified through the formulation of rules or guidelines. Without such clarity, developers are unable to move forward. Mr. V S Jayaraman of the T Nagar Residents Welfare Association stressed that no builder would initiate the project unless there is unanimous agreement among residents, as legal obstacles could potentially arise.

The residents’ association proposed that the government should solicit input from residents/apartment associations regarding the finalization of rules. Mr. J M S Nagarjunan, the general secretary of the Alliance of Residents Welfare Associations, recommended conducting a stakeholder meeting for this purpose.

Hence, it is crucial to appoint an authority responsible for addressing the rules for the Tamil Nadu Apartment Ownership Act passed on March 6, 2024.