The Government of India will soon consider the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy that has been put up before it. One part of it talks about asking states to enact legislation for ownership of apartments. The legislation will be to meet the persistent demand for statutory recognition of an apartment as a unit of property. It will also allow ownership of the common areas and land proportionately. The Government feels this will lead to more efficient use of land and help reduce to a certain extent the demand-supply gap. It was noticed that many a times, an individual does not have the resources to build the full permissible floor space on his land. The new legislation will enable him to do so and sell off partial space along with proportionate common space. The Policy also proposes to increase the floor area ratio in line with international practice of allowing very high-rise buildings. The Union Government may frame the model acts, rules and regulations for the state governments to adopt.

Incidentally, an Apartment Ownership bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2001 but lapsed. Presently, in case of cooperative housing societies and buildings of housing boards, the apartments are conveyed to the allotee while the land title vests with the society or the development authority. This means the seller will always have to approach the land title holder whenever he wants to sell the property. The new proposal intends to give proportionate land ownership to the apartment owner. As a result, stamp duty to be paid will get reduced. If the buyer purchases the land before construction, he will be paying stamp duty only for his share of the undivided land and will pay nothing for the construction. All in all, a fair habitat policy that needs to go through.
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