Can offices be run out of residential

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There are clear cut zonal uses demarcated by law in Bangalore. These are defined in the C.D.P. (Comprehensive Development Plan). This plan does not cover the areas within the Corporation. Therefore the areas within the Corporation, sometimes change in zonal use. This normally happens when a certain road is put to commercial use by the people. If the majority use a residential road for commercial purpose, then at some point the road is ‘declared' as commercial and the Corporation starts sanctioning new plans in that area for commercial use. Therefore what starts off as illegal, becomes legal when the majority of the people start using the properties for a certain use.


However till such time as the law follows custom and usage, the neighbours of the property which is being put to commercial use (from residential) can complain of unathorised use to the authorities and seek eviction. So a thin line has to be trodden till an area is declared as commercial. If an office is made out of a residential house, there is normally nuisance in terms of parking on the roads and frequency in the number of people visiting such offices, thereby reducing the tranquility of the neighbourhood. However many owners prefer to make good use of the enhanced value and reap the benefits.


Some property owners seek to get a ‘change of land use' certificate from BDA and then put the property to commercial use. This is a good procedure to follow even if the road is ‘declared' to be commercial. The paper work is clear and normally it will be easier to give it out on rent to MNC's.  This entails a public notice to be issued by BDA prior to granting permission to change the land use. In practice, this notice is issued in a newspaper without much circulation and neighbour's objections, though taken on record, does not hamper the grant of permission. The change in land use certificate may take upto 4 months to get. It will cost around 2 lakhs.


In areas other than Corporation Areas, (like BDA, CMC, etc.,) this change of land use is not so frequent. In areas with Village Panchayat jurisdiction, any commercial building can be sanctioned. Although the overall use in the CDP has to be followed, in practice, there are many deviations.


Another aspect which confuses the picture is demolition of buildings. This is a separate issue, and has been taken up recently by the authorities on buildings constructed with a greater F.A.R. than allowed. This is done for all buildings, whether it is residential or commercial.


The Comprehensive Development Plan has been recently changed but has not been enforced. It will be effective till 2015. It does provide for mixed uses in all localities and for the free flow of rain water in low lying areas. Criticism of the CDP is being heard also from some quarters. In my opinion a regulated growth plan of Bangalore is essential and the CDP is a good tool in that direction. It could however include some provisions for periodic revision and flexibility. 


Vatsala S. Dhananjaya M.A. LLB. Advocate (Transfer of Property/ Estate Law) Ask More questions. Go to and in the "Forum Search Box" search for "Office Space"




Issue BG62 May06


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