Builder to Society Handover : Key Learnings from Legal Experts

Sneha Nagaraj

The Ultimate Guide to Apartment Ownership in Karnataka: Key Learnings from Legal Experts


Owning an apartment comes with its own set of legal responsibilities and complexities. We’ve gathered insights from a recent expert discussion on apartment ownership in Karnataka to provide you with a comprehensive guide to understanding the legal intricacies involved. From handovers to maintenance, pet rules to sewage treatment plants, this blog post will cover 15 key learnings to help you navigate the world of apartment ownership with confidence.

  1. Understanding Undivided Share (UDS) and Conveyance Deeds: When you purchase an apartment, you’re granted an Undivided Share (UDS) in the common areas of the property. This shared ownership allows all apartment owners to collectively own and manage the common areas, such as the lobby, garden, and parking lots. The conveyance deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of the common areas to the apartment owners. In some cases, a separate conveyance deed may not be required since the UDS is included in the sale deed.
  2. The Role of Associations in Managing Common Areas: After receiving the UDS, the apartment association assumes responsibility for maintaining and managing the common areas. The builder is obligated by the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) to transfer ownership of the common areas to the association, along with providing all necessary title documents.
  3. Handover Process Explained: The handover process consists of two main aspects: transferring ownership of the common areas to the apartment association and providing all relevant title documents, plans, and original documents related to the land and building. A smooth and efficient handover process ensures proper transfer of ownership and responsibility from the builder to the apartment owners.
  4. Addressing Defects in Common Areas: Apartment owners have a window of five years from the date of handover to notify the promoter of any defects in the common areas. After this period, if the defects haven’t been rectified, the apartment owners can seek legal recourse through RERA, consumer courts, or specific performance suits.
  5. Dealing with Non-payment of Maintenance: In cases where apartment owners don’t pay their maintenance fees, apartment associations can create a charge on the property under the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act (KAOA) or pursue recovery claims through civil courts. This legal action ensures that everyone contributes to the maintenance of the property.
  6. Essential Services Cannot be Cut Off: Apartment associations are not allowed to cut off essential services like water and electricity to penalize owners for non-payment of maintenance fees. However, non-essential services such as access to common facilities can be restricted for defaulters.
  7. Pet Rules and Feeding Stray Animals: By law, apartment associations cannot dictate which pets are allowed in a building or take action against residents who feed stray animals. Pet owners and animal lovers have legal protection that allows them to care for their pets and other animals without interference.
  8. Transitioning from KSRA to KAOA: Associations initially formed under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act (KSRA) can transition to the KAOA by having all apartment owners sign a Declaration of Deed (DOD). This transition allows the association to operate under the KAOA, which offers more comprehensive legal protection for apartment owners.
  9. Automatic Rights under KAOA: Even if the builder doesn’t explicitly transfer certain rights in the Declaration of Deed, apartment owners are granted automatic rights under the KAOA. These rights ensure that owners have legal protection and control over their property.
  10. Enforcing Handover Rights: The handover process is a legal obligation under RERA. Apartment owners can enforce their rights under general laws, even if their building is not registered under RERA, to ensure the proper transfer of ownership and responsibility.
  11. Addressing STP Issues in Layouts: If there are issues with Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in layouts, apartment owners can approach the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to address the problems. The KSPCB ensures that STPs are functioning properly and in compliance with environmental regulations.
  12. KAOA Registration Certificate: There is no specific registration certificate under the KAOA. However, once a Declaration of Deed is submitted, all provisions of the act apply to the association, effectively registering the association under the KAOA.
  13. Resolving UDS Calculation Discrepancies: If a discrepancy is found in the calculation of the Undivided Share (UDS), apartment owners can file a suit against the builder to resolve the issue. The builder may then confirm that the additional UDS belongs to the apartment owners, ensuring that they have the correct share in the common areas.
  14. Relying on Legal Counsel: Having a competent legal counsel is essential when navigating the complexities of apartment ownership. A lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected, assist in resolving disputes, and provide guidance on the legal framework and compliance requirements. This legal support helps apartment owners make informed decisions and protect their interests.
  15. Importance of Compliance: It’s crucial for apartment owners and associations to comply with all applicable laws, such as RERA, KAOA, and KSPCB regulations, to avoid legal hassles. Staying informed about the latest developments in these areas and seeking expert advice can help ensure smooth management and maintenance of your property. Compliance with the law not only prevents potential legal issues but also helps maintain a harmonious living environment within the apartment community.


Apartment ownership in Karnataka can be a rewarding experience when you understand the legal intricacies involved. By staying informed about your rights and responsibilities, as well as relying on expert advice, you can better navigate the process and enjoy your new home with confidence. From handovers to maintenance, pet rules to STP issues, this comprehensive guide offers essential information to help you make informed decisions and protect your investment.

So, whether you are a first-time apartment owner or a seasoned veteran, these 15 key learnings will empower you with the knowledge needed to address the legal aspects of apartment ownership and ensure a hassle-free experience. Equipped with this understanding, you can focus on enjoying your investment and building a vibrant community with your fellow residents.