Regularised colonies under Rera Act
While Punjab government reworks the policy on regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the wake of tepid response from the colonisers to the policy notified on April 20 this year, the role and responsibility of a coloniser/developer of a regularised colony needs to be clarified in the revised policy
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and the Punjab Real Estate Rules 2017 made therein have started to make difference in bringing greater transparency in the state’s real estate sector. The state real estate regulatory authority has been since last year registering builders, projects and dispensing justice to home buyers. Though several aspects of the act are still to deliver full benefits to the home buyers, yet the degree of builder accountability to the home buyer has considerably increased in the past one year.
The policy on regular is at ion of the illegal colonies notified under the Punjab Laws( special provisions for regular isa ti ono fun authorised colonies) Act 2018 mandates all illegal colonies constructed between 1995 and March 2018 to apply for regularisation.
THE ACT, ITS SCOPE AND ILLEGAL COLONIES
The Rera Act mandates that all projects (new and ongoing) must register with the state real estate regulatory authority. The registration cannot be done without the said project getting requisite approvals, sanctions and licences. For the purposes of the compulsory registration, the act, under Section 4,stipulates that at the time of registration the promoter of the project must submit with the registration application an authenticated copy of the approvals and commencement certificate from the competent authority, and where the project is proposed to be developed in phases, an authenticated copy of the approvals and commencement certificate from the competent authority for each of such phases.
It also necessitates the submission of the sanctioned plan, layout plan and specifications of the proposed project or the phase thereof, and the whole project as sanctioned by the competent authority at the time of submission of application registration. Further, the promoter has to add the plan of development works to be executed in the proposed project and the proposed facilities to be provided thereof.
The Punjab real estate( regulation and development) rules also seek information and documents as specified under Section 4 for registration of a project. In the mandated application form the promoter has to fill in all the information required under Section 4 of the act, including the approvals, commencement certificate and layout plans.
There are more than 8,000 illegal colonies in Punjab, as per the official figures. The illegal colonies are so because these do not have the requisite approval sand sanctions from the competent authority. So, it is not possible for these to be registered with the state real estate regulatory authorities. So, buyers in these colonies are helpless to seek justice against a defaulting promoter.
In this context, the judgement of the Punjab R era restricting the submission of buyer complaints only to projects registered with it becomes all themore important. It clearly excludes the illegal colonies as these can not be registered with the authority. For the buyer, the bad news does not end here, as these illegal colonies can not have licences or approvals unless there is a regularisation or amnesty policy in place. In Punjab, a new regular is at ion policy is awaited.
BRINGING REGULAR IS ED COLONIES UNDERACT
The current policy for the compounding of unauthorised colonies and regularisation of plots/ buildings falling under theun authorised colonies notified in April 2018, under clause 15 stipulates, “The colonies which will be regularised under this policy shall have to get them registered under Rera Act with the real estate regulatory authority within three months ”. So, the policy providing relief to the allot tee sin these colonies em powers them to approach the state Rera against the builders.
THE MIXED-UP BUILDER ACCOUNTABILITY
Under the Rera Act and the state rules made thereunder, the developer is responsible and accountable for internal development works and providing basic amenities to the home buyer.
The developer is bound to mention all these works in the sale agreement itself, which has to be registered with the competent authority. Also, the builder must complete these internal works before the possession delivery deadline as mentioned in the sale agreement. If it fails to do so, he is liable for punishment as per the act.
The developer is also accountable for the quality of infrastructure and amenities provided in a project. But, here is the ambiguity crops regarding the liability of a colon is er or developer of a regularised colony as per the current policy on regularisation of unauthorised colonies.
The regularisation policy entrusts the government agencies or the municipalities to provide basic infrastructure and amenities within these regularised colonies and not the developer or the coloniser.
Under clause 17 of the regularisation policy, in case where minimum of 50% of plot holders have deposited the development charges and regular is at ion fee, it is the responsibility of either the special development authority (like GMADA) or the municipality or the local government department official concerned to “provide basic infrastructure such as water supply, sewage and paved streets to the residents of the col- ony, out of the funds collected from regularisation of colonies/ plots/ buildings falling under that colony”. “Though the regularisation policy mandates that the coloniser of a regularised colony register with the state Rera, for all practical purposes it absolves the coloniser of all his responsibilities under the Rera Act by entrusting the government agency concerned to provide infrastructure and basic amenities in such a colony ,” says MS Aujla, former director, town planning, Punjab local government department.
On the part of the colonisers, the demand is to exempt all such colonies from the purview of the Rera Act except those constructed after 2017 when the full act came into force. “We have demanded again and again that the act should not be applied to regular is ed colonies retrospective ly. Only those colonies which have come up after the Rera Act came into force should come under the jurisdiction of the state Rera authority. Bringing older colonies under the Rera’s purview is impractical and will serve no purpose,” says Kultar Singh Jogi, president, Punjab Colonisers and Property Dealers.
Under the Rera Act and the state rules made thereunder, the developer is responsible and accountable for internal development works and providing basic amenities to the home buyer. HT FILE PHOTO