Punjab home buyers yet to get full relief from Rera Act
ADVANTAGE BUILDERS Enacted to protect homebuyers the Act has failed to rescue the buyer due to loopholes that benefit the builder
CHANDIGARH : It is nearly 10 months since the Real Estate (Regulatory and Development) Act 2016 (Rera) became fully operational. The three-member Punjab real estate regulatory authority (P-Rera) has also been set up.
Enacted to protect home-buyers besides boosting investments in the real estate industry, this Act, however, has failed to rescue the beleaguered buyer due to several loopholes that benefit the builder.
HOW ARE BUILDERS HOODWINKING ACT?
There can be no complaints against a builder who hasn’t got his project registered: Ruling in the Bikramjit Singh case, in December last year, the authority held that it will not entertain complaints against promoters whose projects are not registered with it.
So, home buyers in all those projects, which are not registered with the authority, cannot make a complaint against the defaulting builder.
“If a buyer makes complaint against project non-registration, then it cannot seek compensation against the defaulting builder. So, the builder gets away very easily,” said Himanshu Raj, a Chandigarh-based advocate. So far, around 400 projects have been registered, a mix of ongoing and new projects.
Extension of the project registration deadline: Promoters of the ongoing projects were to register their projects by July 31, 2017. But the registration date was extended to December 31, 2017. In February this year, the authority decided to give one more chance to such promoters to submit registration applications even after extended date December 31, 2017 on payment of late fees.
“In the project we are living, the builder neither has the completion certificate nor has registered with the authority. After Bikramjit case, we cannot make complaint against him because the project is not registered, and after extension in the registration deadline we cannot complaint for non-registration of the project. This is very unfair to home buyers,” said Pradeep Sharma, a resident of a group housing society in Zirakpur.
Information gap: The authority is completely depended up on urban development authorities (UDA) like GMADA (greater Mohali area development authority) and municipalities for information regarding the total number of licensed projects and projects without completion certificate.
“Many builders are operating without the requisite approvals and licences. Submission of these approvals registration application is mandatory. So they are avoiding registration with the authority. They are getting away with non-registration because the authority cannot take action against them in absence of information about them,” said Para Money Goyal, a Chandigarh-based advocate.
Website not fully functional: Central to the act is the authority’s web portal with full builder and project details.
“But in the case of Punjab Rera website, we only get to know which projects are registered. The registration number per se is meaningless when we don’t get full information about the project, the approvals it has, financial details, past builder record, etc,” said, Manoj Dass, a Zirakpur resident working with a private sector bank.
On challenges in the implementation of the Act, P-Rera chairman NS Kang says that stakeholders must be aware about their rights and duties under this Act. “We have made efforts in this regard by involving the media and builder bodies such as Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI). But some grey areas are coming up during implementation. For instance, the jurisdiction of the adjudicating officer and the authority are not clearly spelled out,” he adds.
Regarding action being taken against projects that are not registered, Kang says that out of the list of 455 projects not registered, they have issued notices to 300 builders, and adds that UDAs have provided the list, but municipalities are yet to follow suit. Kang informs that as per the Act, project without a completion certificate is ongoing is called an ‘ongoing’ project. As per the Punjab Rera rules, projects with partial completion certificate are excluded from this classification.
On the issue of extending the deadline for registration, he says, “We did it to improve com- pliance of the act and promote registrations.”
The chairman of Punjab Rera says that the authority can’t at present independently check projects not registered with it. “But, we are working on a setup to check builder registration and monitor compliance,” he says.