CHENNAI: The 550 owners of the Tamil Nadu Housing Board’s tenements in Ambattur pay nearly 10 lakh in maintenance fees each month, but residents claim that the majority of issues go unresolved.

Prior to the maintenance fee being increased to 1,800 six months ago, residents claimed they had each been paying 1,600 per month for maintenance since 2020.

According to them, the complex does not offer amenities like a gym, party rooms, a mini-theatre, or a swimming pool for such high prices. Residents’ associations within the tenements had declined to take on maintenance on their own, claiming that not all the homes were occupied and the towers had numerous quality issues. According to Block Eight Residents Welfare Association President Suresh C. Nair, the walls had extensive cracks, cement dust was constantly falling, the lifts weren’t working, and trash had been dumped beneath the tiles. Why do they charge so much for maintenance when nothing is done? “Every month, we have to visit the TNHB office in Thirumangalam (6 km away) to pay maintenance,” he said.

There were only two sweepers for the 266 houses, according to Malar, who lives on the 11th floor of Block 9. There have been just over 100 homes sold. The entire building cannot be cleaned by two sweepers. Secondly, there is poor quality wiring on most floors above the 10th. Even when we use our own lights, they don’t work.

Little was done to address the many issues, but money was being collected, she said. “Some owners are spending their own money to fix their homes because they have to leave them for rent.”

The homes were purchased in 2016 for a total of Rs 19.9 lakh each, and they were delivered in 2020. In order to provide the sale deed, they are now demanding an additional Rs. 3 lakh. “We have refused to pay because we are unsure of the purpose of this,” she said. A Palanisamy from Block 9 reported that the steps were broken and there was no garbage collection. “The 1800 is not worth paying,” he said. Residents shared images of hollow staircases without concrete plastering on Saturday. 

Neither executive engineer Manjunathan nor assistant engineer Muruganandam of TNHB were available for comment. Prior to this, TNHB Chairman Poochi S. Murugan said that he would talk with residents about maintenance and sale deeds.

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