For the first time ever, members of housing societies will directly earn revenue from cell phone towers and advertising hoardings in society premises. The co-operatives department has come up with a new set of by-laws for housing societies, which will make it mandatory for societies to share with members 50 per cent of the revenue generated through towers and hoardings on society premises.
The new rules also make it mandatory for the society to seek the consent of 70 per cent of flat owners to allow erecting towers or hoardings. A society is also not allowed to lease out more than five per cent of its open space.
The Co-operatives Department has also proposed comprehensive changes in housing society rules with regard to parking space to ensure equitable distribution of space among members. However, the draft is yet to be finalised with the department studying the Supreme Court directive, as well as other Acts included in the Maharashtra Ownership Of Flats Act, on the issue.
"On mobile phone towers and advertising hoardings we have already drafted rules, but those will have to be approved by the minister, and only then will we issue a directive under Section 79 of the Co-operatives Act in this regard. The new rules will ensure society members directly get benefit. This will help members, who pay various charges to the society," said Co-operatives Department principal secretary Rajgopal Devara.
The draft rules also makes it mandatory for societies to obtain a structural audit report stating that the building would be able to withstand the weight of the cell phone tower or advertising hoarding, and present it at the general body meeting for members' consent. Only if 70 per cent of the members agree will the society be allowed to go ahead.
More importantly, the changes in rules also make it mandatory for the society to bear the expenses for repairing any damage, such as leakages, suffered by flats on the top floor from the 50 per cent revenue generated from the lease. The society will have to take care of damages to flats both internally and externally if they are caused due to erection of towers/hoardings.
The policy on cell phone towers and proposed changes in society rules were proposed by the Urban Development Department, however, it was the Co-operatives Department that took the initiative with regard to advertising hoardings and revenue sharing proposals.