When apartment owners decide to form an apartment owners association (AOA), they do so for the protection of their proprietary rights and the administration of their newly received building property. An AOA is an association voluntarily established by apartment owners and does not need any official sanction. There is no mandatory requirement for an association to be legally registered. However, if it remains unregistered, it cannot avail certain benefits available only to registered associations.
Under Article 19 (1)(c) of the Indian Constitution, citizens of India are free to form associations or unions, subject to reasonable restrictions mentioned under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution. Thus, we have the fundamental freedom to establish associations for the safeguarding of our interests and for fulfilling certain objectives that guide our cause. A legally formed AOA is a creature of this exercised freedom. This article seeks to provide some interesting facts about AOAs and explain certain mandatory requirements for registered AOAs.
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What is the purpose of an apartment association?
An apartment owners association is formed for:
- Ensuring the protection of the proprietary rights of the building residents who form the association and safeguarding their interests.
- Securing the management of the building association’s affairs and administration of the building property and the auxiliary amenities.
These are some of the main objectives of the AOA and may be listed in its memorandum of association.
Why should apartment associations be registered?
An AOA needs to be registered for the following reasons:
- A registered AOA has the ease of handling its financial affairs and compliance with taxation laws due to the legal recognition it received under different laws in force in India. With the documentation of the association for the reason of statutory compliance, the examination of these documents is made easy for the banks and the tax authorities also.
- A registered AOA is in a legal position to enforce its bye-laws on its association members/building residents and take penal action against those who violate these bye-laws. It can also take legal action against builders who have poorly constructed the building property or have violated the building codes in some illegal way.
- The registered AOA can protect its building premises from strangers or unauthorised people by restricting their entry. This measure is also for securing the safety of the building residents and thus is an important function of the association.
- A registered AOA is a body composed of the building residents or apartment owners as its members. As such during general meetings, these very members can decide on proposals introduced and more resolutions for their benefit. The minutes of these meetings are maintained by the association Secretary and can be examined and kept for evidentiary value. The decisions taken in these meetings are binding upon the members.
Who forms an apartment association?
An apartment owners association is formed by homebuyers who have purchased apartments in a building project completed by a builder or promoter.
- This is because the home buyers are apartment owners who own the apartment property in the building and thus have interests in the residential building property.
- However, one owner or a small group of building residents cannot be saddled with the complex responsibility of administering the building’s affairs and ensuring the supply and maintenance of the amenities that allow the members to enjoy their property.
- Therefore, the apartment owners or building residents form an association to administer the building property and safeguard their interests in the residential building property.
Is PAN mandatory for a Housing Society?
A Housing society is a legal entity that
is legally registered under the law of the land and thus requires compliance with regulatory requirements to function and achieve its objectives.
- Because of housing societies falling under the cooperative society laws of their respective laws, a housing society is also an association of persons (AOP) and an entity subject to the tax laws of India.
- Since it is subject to the tax laws, it is required to have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) as the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1960 also apply to this society.
- A PAN is also required for a housing society to open a bank account for the case of banking transactions.
How do I get a PAN card for a Registered Apartment Association?
It is very easy to get a PAN these days, for an online method of application has arrived!
- Under the IncomeTax Act, the legal definition of “person” under Section 2(31) states that the definition includes within its ambit “association of persons”.
- A Registered Apartment Association is an association of persons and thus required to get a PAN card.
- This can be done by applying online for a PAN card or through a PAN application centre.
- If you are making the application online, you need to do so on the website of UTIITSL or NSDL. UTIITSL stands for UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited. NSDL stands for National Securities Depository Limited.
- When you are on any one of these websites, like for instance on the UTIITSL website, you need to go to the PAN card section and select “Apply for PAN Card”.
- Once you select this option, go to the option “PAN Card as an Indian Citizen/NRI-Click to Apply”.
- You will be directed to Form 49A, which is the application form for the allotment of PAN for Indian Citizens/Indian Companies/Entities incorporated in India/Unincorporated entities formed in India.
- After filling in the required details in the required form, you can mention your preference for a physical PAN card or an e-PAN card as per requirement in the form itself.
- After filling the details, submitting the required documents, paying the online charges and finally submitting the form, your part of the transaction is done.
- After processing the request, the Tax Department may dispatch your card within a minimum of 48 hours!
- Your association has its PAN card!
The apartment association formed and registered under the respective state laws is an entity that possesses certain advantages over an unregistered association. Apartment owners by getting their association registered can avail legal benefits that allow them to safeguard their interests in the building property and deal with the financial and legal aspects with greater ease. Thus, it would be more beneficial for an AOA to be registered under the law of the land to fulfil its objectives stated clearly in the memorandum for the welfare of its members/building residents.