Buy­ing Houses for Com­mer­cial Pur­poses?

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Na­tional Com­mis­sion’s Stance

of higher re­turns in fu­ture, it be­comes es­sen­tial for the com­plainant to es­tab­lish the pur­pose of his property should there be a dis­pute. If he is buy­ing the property only to in­vest in it and sell it in fu­ture, then the pur­pose is cer­tainly com­mer­cial and the ap­peal in fo­rum is not main­tain­able. How­ever, if an in­di­vid­ual is buy­ing the property for his per­sonal use – ei­ther he is plan­ning to move into it im­me­di­ately or in near fu­ture – the com­plaint with re­spect to that property is main­tain­able in the con­sumer fo­rum.

Re­cently, Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion re­fused to en­ter­tain a case of ‘de­fi­ciency in ser­vice’ against a builder for not giv­ing pos­ses­sion in the com­mit­ted time frame. The Com­mis­sion had ob­served that book­ing of more than one flat or flats in var­i­ous builders’ schemes is a com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity car­ried out with the pur­pose of making profit through re­sale. The in­ten­tion of the buyer of the property is not to use it for res­i­den­tial pur­pose. Hence, the com­mis­sion can­not ac­cept the com­plainant to be a con­sumer.

Case to note

In a case be­tween DLF Lim­ited and oth­ers ver­sus Ab­dul Azim and oth­ers, in Fe­bru­ary 2015, the State Com­mis­sion of Delhi ques­tioned its ju­ris­dic­tion and main­tained that the com­plainant was not a con­sumer as the pur­chase of the flat from DLF Lim­ited was meant for com­mer­cial pur­pose. The Com­mis­sion pro­nounced six or­ders in six in­di­vid­ual cases on the same day. Three out of th­ese mat­ters were re­lated to the flats booked by the com­plainants in Rich­mond Park Project of DLF Univer­sal Lim­ited. Other three mat­ters re­lated to book­ing of flats by the same com­plainants in Re­gency Park Project of DLF Univer­sal Lim­ited.

As per facts stated in the case, VISBA, a part­ner­ship firm where Azim and oth­ers were part­ners, had filed a com­plaint against DLF Univer­sal for de­fi­ciency in ser­vices for non-de­liv­ery of flats within the spec­i­fied time. All the three part­ners had booked flats in var­i­ous schemes launched by DLF Univer­sal. The de­vel­oper failed to de­liver the flats in the com­mit­ted time­frame and the part­ners of the firm filed six com­plaints against the com­pany.

The Na­tional Com­mis­sion held that if more than one flat was booked with one or more de­vel­op­ers, it had to be treated as book­ing meant for in­vest­ment pur­pose even if the na­ture of property

was res­i­den­tial. The Com­mis­sion also stated that the state and the dis­trict fo­rums had the right to re­frain from en­ter­tain­ing

such com­plaints.

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