New Karnataka Law For Apartment Ownership

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar has announced that the government has been working on a new uniform law across Karnataka to safeguard the rights of apartment buyers and owners. The existing Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972 while subsuming the Karnataka Real Estate Regulation and Development (RERA) Rules 2017 is expected to be replaced by Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act which will have uniform application in all cities and towns. This announcement has come in response to a calling attention motion raised by Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya on ensuring property ownership in Bengaluru. The anomaly pointed out by the MLA is that some portions in the apartments are retained by the owner (of the land) and the ownership still remains in that person’s name. The apprehension is that after 30-40 years, redevelopment cannot be taken up since the ownership rests with the original owner. The view expressed by Subramanya is that the registered associations should get ownership. It must be noted that buyer of a house or more houses will be the owner of the house or houses he buys. The registered absolute sale deed makes mention of the land share that accompanies the house or houses purchased. No building can be separated from land on which the building has come up for the purpose of selling. When the buyer is at liberty to sell the portion of the building purchased by him in the apartment, that portion of the building with the land share attached to it invariably belongs to the vendor and will pass on to the buyer upon registration of the property. Even when an independent house is purchased, the sale consideration is fixed to or agreed upon both land and building. Land cannot be separated from building. The registered absolute sale deed does not contain a clause wherein the value of land and building is separately valued and mentioned. If a building is sold, it means both land and building have been sold. The analogy is the same in respect of houses purchased in apartments also. When an apartment needs to be demolished after its expected life is over, the buyer of the house or houses is entitled for the land to the extent the land share is mentioned in the absolute sale deed. If the registered association becomes the owner of the apartment or if the ownership of the apartment still remains with the original owner, the buyer who becomes lawful owner after purchase is going to be disentitled from selling the building at his choice. At present, the house purchased by one is sold to the other without any hiccups in the law. There is no case that original owner has come in the way of the purchaser selling his house in times of his need. If the original owner comes in the way, it will not stand the test of legal scrutiny also. Therefore it is a misconception that the land share mentioned in the registered absolute sale deed does not belong to the buyer. If the new law seeks to make this point still clear stating that the land share mentioned in the absolute sale deed passes on to the buyer, it is very good. The replacement of law is a good move and welcome if it can protect the interest of the buyers of the house or houses in apartments with added strength. For this the Government has to be applauded.
Yours faithfully,
K.V. Seetharmaiah

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