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Being a member of a housing co-operative

How to become a Member of Housing Cooperative?

An individual can become a member of a housing cooperative provided he/she fulfills the conditions as stipulated in the Act, the Rules framed by the concerned State and the Bye-laws of the cooperative. Admission of new members can however be refused under the circumstances when a housing cooperative has no capacity to render any more services to new members due to limited number of plots/flats or housing units. Any individual who is competent to contract under Indian Contract Act, 1872 can become a member. The application for membership must be in writing, duly signed by the member with full details and Particulars as required in the prescribed performance specified for the purpose. He/she must:

(i) have necessary qualifications as provided in the Bye-laws of cooperative;

(ii) reside or intend to reside permanently within the area of operation of the housing cooperative;

(iii) have paid necessary admission fee;

(iv) have purchased minimum number of shares of the cooperative and paid other stipulated charges as per the Bye-laws;

(v) make necessary down payment within the time limit as per the norms laid down in the Bye- laws; and

(vi) make necessary declaration whether he/she owns any plot, flat or accommodation in his/her own name or in the name of any other family member. Under such circumstances, he/she must state the reasons to become a member of a housing cooperative.

What are the different types of Members of Housing Cooperatives?

Every member of a housing cooperative should be in a genuine need of a dwelling unit for his own use. Such a member is known as the “Ordinary Member”. The member admitted should not be a member of any other housing cooperative functioning in the same area. In some of the State Cooperative Societies Acts, provisions have been made to admit certain other types of members who differ from an ordinary member. Such members do not enjoy full rights and privileges as enjoyed by the ordinary members. These members are known as:

(i) Associate/Joint members;

(ii) Sympathizer members; and

(iii) Nominal members.

‘Associate/Joint Members’ in housing cooperatives have to make a declaration of the first person as to who will be the second associate member. The second member will become operative only in the absence of the first but  liability towards the cooperative will be borne jointly and severally as per the Act, Rules and Bye-laws governing the  cooperative.

‘Sympathizer’ or ‘Nominal’ members in housing cooperatives are not vested with the right to vote or to become member of any committee of the cooperative. This type of members are admitted on sympathetic ground to use their influence or seek their guidance on technical, legal or any other matter or for providing effective leadership to  cooperative. These members are called as non-participating sympathizer members.

“Nominal” members, in spite of the fact that such members, do not hold any flat or residential accommodation in the housing cooperative but on certain occasions occupy a shop, godown, garage etc. in the cooperative, are also  admitted. This helps the cooperative in the event of dispute arising out of the transaction with nominal members to  bring them under the purview of Cooperative Law governing the State.

What are the rights of Members?

(i) Every member of a cooperative has the right to vote and to take part in the affairs of cooperative irrespective of the number of shares held by him;

(ii) To contest the election for the membership of Managing Committee/Board of Directors/other committees;

(iii) To participate in making or amending Bye-laws;

(iv) To receive the minutes of meetings, check accounts and audit report and make comments;

(v) Take part in the discussions in the meetings and make suggestions which the member feels, are in the interest of the cooperative;

(vi) Make request to include certain matters in the Agenda to be placed before the annual general meeting/other meetings;

(vii) If majority of members agree for certain course of action but one of them differs, he can object and seek his objection to be recorded in the minutes;

(viii) To demand convening of Special Meeting of the General Body if he doubts the integrity and propriety of the cooperative. However, such of his rights shall be accepted only when a prescribed minimum number of members as stipulated under law support his proposal;

(ix) To voice for the removal of the President/Chairman or any Managing Committee member along with a specified number of other members as may be prescribed in the bye-laws, if he feels that one is acting beyond the stipulated powers or his actions are detrimental to the interest of cooperative spirit;

(x) To prefer an appeal to the next higher authority concerned if he discovers that steps and action of the resolutions passed are against the interests of the cooperative;

(xi) A specified number of the members as may be mentioned in the bye-laws may move a no confidence motion against any one or more officials or managing committee members for which management has to call special general body meeting to discuss the said motion and in case the motion is passed, an ad hoc committee has to be formed which shall arrange to conduct elections within a period specified in the Act, Rules and Bye-Laws,   which is generally 90 days;

(xii) A specified number of the members as may be mentioned in the Act, Rules and Bye-laws can request the Registrar for holding inquiry into the affairs of housing cooperative for the irregularities or fraud committed by its official or the management;

(xiii) To occupy a house, plot or flat in the cooperative after making necessary payments.

(xiv) To get share in the profits and achievements of housing cooperative.

(xv) To nominate a nominee for transfer of his shares or interest in the cooperative to such nominated person.

(xvi) Is entitled to withdraw his membership from the cooperative after giving due notice as provided in the Bye-laws.

 What are the duties of Members?

The rights and duties of a member in a housing cooperative are complimentary and supplementary to one another in nature. Both together keep a member watchful and more responsible in the affairs of a cooperative. Broad classification of duties states that a member shall

(i) be loyal to the cooperative;

(ii) be well acquainted with Laws, Rules, Regulations and Bye-Laws governing the housing cooperatives

(iii) be thoroughly conversant with the cooperative principles;

(iv) educate himself to enable him to be more effective in participating in functioning of the cooperative in furtherance of its objectives

(v)  faithfully assist the management in carrying-out their assigned duties;

(vi) be well disciplined and maintain proper decorum while dealing with other members/committee members

(vii) attend all the meetings called by the housing cooperative;

(viii) pay back the loan or other dues to the housing cooperative if any, well in time;

(ix)  also campaign for the collection of the dues from defaulting members;

(x)  It is the duty of the member to create favorable atmosphere among the members and public at large about the housing cooperative and its principles;

(xi) In the event of bankruptcy, every member is liable to the extent of his/her share capital or to such an extent as may be prescribed in the Bye-laws towards the debt of the cooperative; and

(xii) All members are duty bound to maintain social and harmonious relations amongst themselves and their families and to promote community development as a part of cooperative principles.

 What are the liabilities of Members?

(i)  All members are liable to pay dues in time and ensure that others too follow the norms framed by the general body.

(ii) Membership in two cooperatives of the same nature in same city is prohibited.

(iii) Any member who has defaulted in payment of loan and other dues is ineligible to contest and vote in election.

(iv) A member is liable for disciplinary action, such as expulsion, if will fully deceives or bring disrepute to housing cooperative or has done such acts which are detrimental to the interest of cooperative. However, no member can be expelled unless a proper show cause notice has been served upon him and he has been afforded reasonable opportunities to present his defence.

(v) A member of housing cooperative is liable to be disqualified on his being declared insolvent or his being sentenced for dishonest and/or immoral act.

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