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The rates for consent from owners have been slashed from 100%. Experts said move will reduce delays in projects.

Redevelopment of old buildings or a complex of old buildings across the state can now be undertaken with consent from 51% of those owning apartments there, as opposed to consent of all owners earlier. This amendment to the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act (MAOA) was approved by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The move is expected to speed up reconstruction of old buildings as earlier, projects used to get delayed even if a single resident opposed the project. Buildings registered for redevelopment under the MAOA would benefit from the move, said housing industry experts.

Currently, there are around 90,000 housing societies in the state, in addition to which 75,000 are registered under MAOA. The move is likely to benefit 11,000 housing societies in Mumbai – especially those with less than 11 members.However, dilapidated and cessed buildings – around 14,000 in the city – will not be included in the act.

Sanjay Kumar, additional chief secretary, housing department, said, “The amendment in the [Maharashtra] Apartment [Ownership] Act was carried out long back…which has now got the President’s assent. Now, whenever many of these buildings need redevelopment – excluding cessed buildings – consent of 51% of the residents would be required.”

Meanwhile, activists said that the reduction in the number of consenting tenants would benefit only the builders and is unfair to the occupants of the society who have opposed the redevelopment plan. Chandrashekhar Prabhu, housing activist, called the move a “bad idea” that would give a free-run to the builders.

“Builders with 70% consent (as per the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA) 1963), also fudged the process and now that consent requirement is further reduced, the builders will have a field day and the original occupants will never get a house. The intent of the law, if it is to give better houses to the original inhabitant, would be lost,” Prabhu said.

However, housing department officials said that the number of consenting tenants has been reduced in accordance with the norms of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), which mandated consent and registrations by 51% of the tenants while safeguarding their interest on various fronts.

Devang Varma, director, Omkar Realtors, welcomed the move. “It is in the right direction to facilitate reconstruction thousands of buildings in Mumbai, currently not being redeveloped due to consent and ownership issues. This is resulting into loss of lives owing to building collapse. The clearance of the bill will ensure speedy redevelopment of old buildings in Mumbai.”

Advocate Vinod Sampat, who works on cases related to housing societies, argued that it is a positive move and pointed out that with MahaRERA in force, it would protect the interest of the owners.

“Under RERA, all precautions have to be taken by the developer and this is beneficial for the original occupants. The decision is beneficial for housing societies and for overall development. Mostly decisions within the housing societies are passed with 51% majority; so, on that basis it is a good move,” he said.