Bottom Line: An ideal builder is a wishful thought that every homebuyer loves to fancy about. In a business that has a historical legacy of poor perception and projection, no one bothers to look at the other side of the table. Ravi Sinha takes a look at what makes you an ideal resident in an apartment.
So, you have been blaming the builder for end-to-end problems that you have encountered before and after settling in your dream home. Cost of apartment, delay in delivery, mismatch in promises & performance, costly maintenance and poor facility management, the list goes endless. More often than not, the grievances are legitimate.
But beyond the builder bashing in WhatsApp groups, social media, inviting journalists, society meetings, even consumer courts and every other possible platforms, how would you feel if someone reminds you that you have also failed to be an ideal resident in apartment. Will you ever bother to check your own conduct as a resident of apartment?
“What? I have paid for everything and I am entitled to avail the house and the common facilities,” would be the most common reaction if one is reminded that he/she is not fit to live in the given society, more so in the high rises where the shared responsibilities are even greater.
Track2Realty notes down some of the most common habits and fallacies that define whether you are ideal apartment resident or mentally & socially still not fit to be living in a housing society. These are:
Balcony Dropping: “It is my balcony and no law on earth can deny me with its use as per my convenience,” argues Mr. Chaudhary. You are right sir! But then balconies are meant for having the comforts of an open air space within the house. You can have a cup of tea, read newspapers, have sunbath or just relax in the fresh air. It is definitely not your extended dustbin that you drop stuff, even combed hair, out in the open.
Some people think living higher ups in the multi-storied apartments make them closer to Sun and they offer water to please the planet from the comforts of balconies down the ground. Please be considerate that people are living down the floors and what is your presumed salvation is definitely a nuisance to them.
Flower Beds: We all love greenery and flowerpots. Isn’t it? But love for greenery and extending your balcony for creating flowerbeds are two different things. If you feel the green patches and gardens in the society are not enough to give you that personal touch, feel free to have them in your balcony. That is legitimate. But what is objectionable and a potential threat is to extend your balcony limits and hang flowerpots outside.
Your bragging of beautification in the balcony might give you appreciation of friends & family but could seriously hurt your neighbours if it accidentally falls from a height.
Extended Hanger: Ms. Sunaina probably finds the cost of a cloth drier too high. For her it is pretty legitimate to hang the water dripping cloths in the balconies without bothering about those who live down the floor. In the process, the poor guy in the lower floor apartment is deprived of his legitimate right of enjoying the sunbath in his balcony.
This practice is mostly banned in the upscale societies but in the affordable and mass housing the absence of dryers in many homes empowers the residents to use the balcony of the lower floor as their cloth dryer and hanger. A cloth drying stand won’t cost you the roof but would definitely make you appear more civilized resident of a housing society.
Door Littering: It is your door, alright! But if the other neighbours on the same floor start practicing this convenient way to clean the house, the lobby of the given floor would turn out to be an open dustbin. Ms. Verma doesn’t seem to think so. For her touching the dustbin after bath and morning pooja is a big ‘No’ and hence she finds it convenient to drop the garbage bag outside, well ahead of the society sweeper visiting the lobby.
Please understand even if your builder has not made the garbage chute on each floor, at least there is a society sweeper who collects it everyday. Your urgency to clean your house before taking bath might be a stinking punishment for neighbours.
Encroachment Mindset: No one would like to take a dirty shoe inside the house. Right Mr. Bhatt? But then no civilized person would like to encroach the staircase area and convert it into his personal space designed for shoe rack. In most of the affordable and mid segment housing societies with not-so-professional maintenance, people buying smaller housing units tend to have this tendency to grab whatever extra space they could.
The mindset to encroach is not confined to staircases alone where shoe racks and parking other stuff is a convenient option. Rather, the look out for ‘more space’ is often the stepping stone to the overall poor standing of the society. For example, balconies are your personal space but not to the point of that absolute ownership where you feel like having an extended carpet area to get it covered, often extending the limits, and violating all the norms and fire safety guidelines.
Pet Terrorism: Facility Management of the society often fails to convince Rachna Shah that her love for the pet dog is actually scary for the neighbours in general and children in particular. “But my doggy is so cute and harmless,” is her oft-repeated argument. “Madam! You maybe right but if your neighbour tomorrow adopts a harmless snake or leopard would you accept the same argument?” The pets are allowed in housing societies by the rule of law. But what is neither allowed nor acceptable is your pet terrorism with an innocent excuse that your pet is cute & harmless to deserve being allowed to roam around free, including in the lift.
Showering this love for pets should not be at the cost of being cruel to the fellow residents of the society. Love is eternal and it can’t be thrust upon your neighbours and force them to love your pet as well. Some of them might not be comfortable with or scared to see a Labrador or German Shepherd. Your freedom of letting loose your pets inside the open spaces might scare others and this pet terrorism definitely does not qualify you as a civilized apartment owner.
Neighbourhood Gossip: Who doesn’t love gossip? It is national time pass in this part of the world. But then, there are bigger national and regional issues to gossip about than keeping an eye over personal life of your neighbours and gossip it loosely with other fellow neighbours. Your gossip about the private life of a neighbour, his boy friend or girl friend, or whose son is roaming around with whose daughter definitely makes you an uncultured neighbourhood gossip times.
And mind you! Mr. Sharma with whom you gossip about Mr. Verma’s wife being dropped from office by a colleague might be enjoying this gossip so long it is about someone else. But he would prefer to keep you at a distance from his close friends and relatives for this habit of poking nose into others’ lives and then spicing it up to broadcast like a newswire service.
WhatsApp Civility: If ever Mr. Mehra thought Society WhatsApp Group is his personal friend circle of like minded people, he was wrong. But before he could realize that, he got himself exposed to everyone in the society with his time pass mentality. It started with a tolerable ‘Good Morning’ wish everyday which by and large was not objected by anyone, even though for most of other residents it proved to be spamming. But soon, Mehra thought his political opinion is more profound than others in the society and started advocating who is the best politician and why.
What the gentleman forgot in the process is that the biggest trait of an opinion is that everybody has it. A couple of counter arguments later he was labeled as a person who has all the world’s time to spread his unsolicited political opinion in society WhatsApp Group. Worse even, the perception gained ground that the attention seeking gentleman lacked recognition in the right places to do so. Please understand that a society WhatsApp Group is meant to discuss the issues related with apartment and its upkeep, often housing market news for competitive outlook, and it is definitely not your drawing room.
Imposing Belief : No one wanted to object it for her age but then everyone in the society was bugged up with the old mother of Mr. Agarwal for her super natural beliefs that she wished to impose on the collective wisdom of residents. Her astrologer’s advice for feeding bread to black dogs turned out to be apartment becoming haven for stray dogs. Her temptation to offer banana to monkeys was a security threat to not only the children playing in the park but even the security guards were at risk trying unsuccessfully to keep the stray monkeys away from the society.
Everyone is conscious of the fact that as a society we produce more bawas & godmen than scientists and no law on earth can force us to be rational in our thoughts & beliefs. But to impose our beliefs & practices over the entire apartment and compromising the security of others definitely does not make any of us a civilized resident of given society.
Pesky Bonding: To meet with the new neighbours and knowing each other well is a civilized society behavior. But there is a limit of being sweet and the moment you cross that line you are a source of diabetes in the neighbourhood. Just because someone is friendly and gives you space, and access to his house, does not mean that you get into a pesky bonding and intrude his/her personal space anytime and uninvited.
Mr. Saxena might be a nice gentleman who wishes to read newspaper along with others. But it does not mean his neighbour Mr. Khurana would like an uninvited guest every morning at his house. Please understand, while you may be having all the world’s time for neighbourhood bonding, the other person might be in a rush to reach office or seeking some rest or solitude.
Crusade Grouping: So, you thought all the slogan shouting and builder bashing is necessarily for the common cause of the residents at large? Well, if that be the case there is nothing wrong in grouping with the fellow residents for a society crusade. But wait! Like in any other sphere of life, pick your friends and society warriors wisely. You may have to repent tomorrow and worse even end up fighting with the same set of people you thought are God’s gift to the society.
All the holier-than-thou reform within the society might turn out to be a façade by some of the vested interests to arm-twist the builder, get paid for taking their heads out and then sit silent. In the long run you will not be seen as reformer or ideal resident but a vested interest even though you joined the group with all the noble intentions.
Ownership Bragging: Of course, you are a proud owner of an apartment. So what? Had you never been a tenant? Did your neighbours or landlord always reminded you that they are superior property owners and you are just an inferior tenant? Apartment ownership is neither about bragging nor it would make you more than equal in the neighbourhood. And, of course, the law of the land will treat you the same as with any tenant, if tomorrow you are caught on the wrong side of the law.
Doesn’t it look not-so-graceful when you brag it in front of the neighbours who are tenants in the society. Mind you! Some of them might be having better financial standing than you and would be living in the apartment as tenant for their own reasons, ranging from short stay in the town or locality to a bigger apartment yet to be delivered. Your bragging doesn’t make them a lesser resident of the society than you but it definitely shows your class, or rather lack of it.
Facilities Abuse: Common facilities are by definition common and meant to be shared. But it seems Ms. Gayatri thought it otherwise when every morning she plucked all the flowers from the society garden for her personal pooja. Mr. Chawla even had a better idea when he insisted for the club to be allowed for his personal office meetings. Similarly, Mr. Gupta wanted to invite his friends & family for a joint swimming pool weekend and insisted that after having made payment for the apartment as well as the facilities it is well within his legal rights.
Unfortunately, neither the law nor the civilized society norms would approve abuse of shared facilities in an apartment. Your apartment is yours but the building and its facilities are shared. Trying to be first among the equals definitely doesn’t make you a civilized resident of a housing society. Mind you! Even if you contest the RWA elections to extract more out of the shared facilities, you would eventually end up getting ostracized in the society.