Thursday, March 29, 2012

Senior citizen takes on management of retirement home, wins case

Senior citizen takes on management of retirement home, wins case

CHENNAI: A senior citizen took on the management of a retirement community for "stonewalling" her efforts to get them to refund the security deposit after her sister died - and she won.

Fifty-nine-year-old Kamakshi Pant has succeeded in getting an order from the State Consumer Disputes' Redressal Commission against the management of 'Classic Kudumbam' in Sholinganallur where her sister, Lakshmi Chander, 61, was staying. Even after she died in February 2010, they were unwilling to repay a security deposit of 10 lakh and a caution deposit of 50,000.

A bench of J Jayaram, presiding judicial member and Vasugi Ramanan, member, has directed the management to refund the security deposit, 40,000 towards the caution deposit, 10,000 as compensation and 5,000 for costs of the complaint.

In her complaint, Kamakshi said her sister moved to the home in December 2008. After signing an agreement, she stayed there till November 2009, paying a monthly rent of 11,000. Despite repeated requests later, only 11,500 was refunded from the caution deposit of 50,000 and 7 lakh from the security deposit in June and October, 2010, respectively. The management maintained that most part of the caution deposit was deducted towards repairs. Representatives also stated that the deed of licence - signed at the time of admission - contained a clause which said that only 70% of the deposit of 10 lakh was refundable.

Passing orders, the bench observed that no bills were produced for the repair works allegedly carried out for 39,500. Members also noted that the deed of licence did not have signatures of any witnesses nor were any witnesses examined "to prove the validity and genuineness of the deed".

Even if such a deed did exist, its terms and conditions - namely a refund of 70% of the deposit, without any interest - to someone who surrendered their apartment was "not a fair deal," the bench added. "We filed the case because we thought we shouldn't let it go. We didn't want to challenge them at all. It was when they started stonewalling on what should have been legitimately returned to us that we decided to approach the consumer court," Kamakshi said.

20, DESCANSO, APRT 1321,

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