While residential units can be used for other purposes, one must be aware of egulations and fee governing this use
The master plan of a city/region, formulated by government authorities, envisages the vision and policy guidelines for planned development of that particular city/region. For instance, the Master Plan Delhi 2021 (MPD) is currently in force in Delhi and the GurgaonManesar Master Plan 2025 is in force in Gurgaon and Manesar. Certain critical areas that a master plan usually focuses on and relates to include optimum utilisation of land; regulation of development/redevelopment of housing; regulation of commercial, infrastructural, industrial and agricultural areas; regulation of unauthorised colonies; special zones; conservation of environmentsensitive areas and heritage zones, to name a few.
To meet the growing demand of commercial activities in the scenario of limited availability of land in urban areas like Delhi, the MPD also provides regulations for `mixed use’ of immoveable property. Mixed use essentially means the usage of residential premises in mixed use zones/streets for non-residential activities, allowing access to commercial facilities in such residential colonies. The principle underlying mixed use of properties is to help communities meet their daily needs without having to commute large distances, thereby mitigating the environmental impact of such travel. At the same time, it is essential that mixed use of premises does not lead to congestion, increased traffic and pressure on civic amenities in residential areas. Keeping this in mind, the MPD has provided comprehensive mixed-use regulations, some essential features of which are provided below: Extent of mixed use permissible differs on the basis of categories of colonies specified by MPD. For instance, mixed use is not permissible at all in the pristine Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone of the Capital and other listed buildings of heritage and archeological importance.
To avail mixed use, prescribed application and onetime registration charges are required to be submitted with the concerned local body. Properties found to be under mixed use without such registration can attract a penalty amounting to 10 times the annual charges for mixed use.
Continued mixed use of premises is permitted provided the requisite mixed use charges are paid every year to the local competent authority.
Only three broad categories of mixed use are permissible under the heads `commercial activities’, `professional activities’ and `other activities’ that further list which activities under each head are permissible.
Only one kind of mixed use activity is permitted in one dwelling unit at any given point of time.
Under the head `other activities’, nurseries, crèche, guest houses, banks, gymnasiums, tuition/coaching centres are permitted to operate within residential premises subject to compliance with prescribed FAR, prescribed minimum size of plot and other provisions of MPD.
`Professional activities’ permissible include offices of doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, architects, engineers, to name a few. Certain kinds of shops are permitted in basements subject to the condition that such use of basement does not exceed the permissible FAR of the plot. Usage of excess FAR is subject to payment of prescribed charges and approval of the competent authority. Activities involving obnoxious/hazardous/inflammable/polluting substances are not permissible as mixed use.
If intending to convert one’s residential premises into `mixed use’ premises, one is required to comply with provisions of the relevant master plan in addition to compliance with local building bye-laws, structural safety norms, fire safety clearance and other statutes that may be applicable.
The author is senior partner, ZEUS Law Associates, a corporate commercial law firm. Source HT ESTATE