Apartment management: How to avoid problems post handover

In the second and last part, some tips to avoid messes - after the maintenance is taken over by the RWAs.

Record and file everything.  It is essential that the MC (Management committee) formally document and file everything pertaining to the handover.  Many problems, which have their roots in ineffective handovers, crop up only after several years.  During the intervening period, people change – both in the MC / Association as well as the Builder. 

Further, vendors’ memories are notoriously short when it comes to delivering on promises made.  All important documents should be copied and filed properly – in a logical manner, which allows easy retrieval at a subsequent date.  Originals and copies should be stored separately – e.g. the Originals can be maintained at a safe, central location (Association office) while the copies can be retained by the Secretary and handed over to his/her successor at the end of his/her term. 

All communication with the Builder – especially that pertaining to outstanding defects – should be in physical form (i.e. typed letter) with an acknowledgment from the Builder that he has received the same.  Critical emails should be printed and filed along with the hard-copy documentation.

Apartment Complex Management System.   Given the breadth and depth of activities that a MC has to deal with in today’s typical apartment complex, it is fast becoming essential for them to have proper tools to assist them in their task.  Today, there’re a range of software packages – most of them online – to help MCs better manage the affairs of an apartment complex (Refer Citizen Matters’ guide to apartment management tools). 

Almost all of these have some features that would be very useful during the handover phase itself – e.g. Issue Tracker, Complaint Tracker, Document Repository, etc.  It would be a good idea for the first-time MC to adopt usage of such a tool, right from the beginning.  Apart from creating a good precedent for subsequent MCs, the tool would help record all issues pertaining to the handover in a central place for subsequent reference.

Handover Workload Management.  The activities listed above, even though potentially an incomplete list, clearly bring out the amount of work involved in ensuring a proper handover.  Given the low occupancy and consequent limited resources available to the MC, it would be very difficult to do everything required, within the short warranty period that builders offer.  Here are some strategies that can be considered, singly or together, to manage this issue:

1.    Consider External Help: Consider recruiting a facilities management agency to do all the handover activities.  This, of course, would be at a cost – maybe, a significant cost – but it’s up to the MC to decide whether the expense is worth it.

2.    Involve AMC Vendors: Most of the major sub-systems (e.g. Lifts, DG Sets, and Fire System) require AMCs from professionals to keep them running smoothly.  In some cases, like Lifts, the same vendor (normally the manufacturer) continues the AMC.  In others (e.g. DG sets, Fire System), however, a third-party vendor can be considered.  As part of this third party’s process of taking up the systems for maintenance, the MC can get them to do a due diligence, to clearly identify all possible defects, which can then be reported to the Builder for rectification.  A little bit of clever negotiating – with both the third party and the builder – can ensure that this exercise has minimal or no cost impact for the Association.

3.    Pool in members from the General Body:  As mentioned before, it is unreasonable to expect a handful of MC members to do all handover activities by themselves.  The MC should identify those activities that can be done by a larger body and then courteously (but firmly) request the larger resident body to help out.  A good example for this is the Fire System testing.  The MC can ask residents to gather together and walk them through a sample testing exercise of the Smoke Detectors and Alarm Panels and then request them to get this done for their respective floors / apartments within a set period of time.

4.    Prioritize: Finally, the most obvious strategy is that of prioritizing key areas and only handling these in the time available.  An additional step could be to formally notify the builder of this prioritization and also of the fact that some aspects of the building would be verified only after the Warranty period is over.  This may not prove to be of much use, but it can’t hurt, and it just may help in post-warranty disputes over significant lapses on the builders’ part.

All in all, effecting a proper handover from a builder does seem a daunting task.  But, a little bit of effort and a structured approach in the early days may reap dividends several times over in later years, by avoiding lakhs of rupees of expenses, and more importantly the significantly more effort and stress required to resolve issues that should rightfully have been taken care of by the Builder himself.



  1. B Dutta says:

    Appreciate this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

City Buzz: Delhi’s water crisis, heatwave | NEET exam again for 1,563 … and more

In other news: Property prices spike in Tier-2 cities, 10 million urban houses under PMAY in 5 years and menstrual hygiene rules for schools.

Battling Delhi's water crisis amid heatwave The Delhi High Court on June 12 directed Haryana to reply to a contempt plea over its non-compliance of the court’s earlier order regarding water supply to Delhi. But the Haryana government on June 12 had told the Supreme Court that no excess water was released by Himachal Pradesh to send to Delhi. Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on June 11 formed “quick response teams” to manage main water distribution networks and prevent leakages, according to Water and Revenue Minister Atishi. Additional district magistrates (ADMs) and sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) were deployed to…

Similar Story

Councillor Talk: Menaga Shankar of Ward 197 promises access to education and government services

Menaga Shankar, Councillor of Ward 197 has a vision of improving the standards of corporation schools and bringing e-Sevai centres to her ward.

Menaga Shankar was born, brought up and married in Uthandi, now a part of Ward 197. She contested on an AIADMK ticket and was elected as a first-time councillor from the same ward. A political science student in college, she entered politics to bring good educational infrastructure to the people. She says she is particularly invested in the education of girl children. Ward 197 has upmarket localities with posh bungalows along the coast, while on the other hand, it is also home to marginalised communities who depend on fishing and farming for their livelihood. The ward’s boundaries begin in Akkarai…