The problem with completion certificates
Your property documentation must include a completion certificate. Unfortunately, a lot of rules are allegedly being flouted for obtaining one
The portfolio of property papers owned by a person is not complete without a completion certificate (CC). This document is as important as the sanction of building plans by the concerned authorities.
However, a major chunk of properties in the Capital do not have a CC. The reasons for this could be, first, that building rules have not been followed in constructing the property, and the need for a CC does not arise in the absence of sanctioned building plans. Second, both builders and owners often construct more than what is sanctioned in the building plans and then do not get the CC as they do not qualify for it. The third factor is the municipal system, which grants the CC. Though municipal authorities maintain that it is easy to get the CC if the property owner has built as per the building sanctioned plans, this contention is too simplistic and somewhat difficult to believe. A number of property owners allege that “overhead costs” are unofficially given to officials concerned to “expedite” and also to give the CC. People allege that even when the construction of their property is strictly as per plans, they have been forced to give “overheads” as they did not want officials to drag their feet in giving them the CC.
It is also alleged that property owners who have built far more than what was sanctioned in their building plans, also “manage” to get the concerned inspecting officials to turn a Nelson’s eye to the violation.
When asked about the veracity of the allegations, municipal officials hotly deny that any kind of corruption exists in the system.
The general belief is that if a property has a CC it is completely above board and safe as CC is only given when the construction is as per plans sanctioned. This is not true. For one, the CC could have been obtained by an “obliging” official (municipal officials deny this). Second, the owner could have made additional construction after obtaining the CC which then would be unauthorised and not necessarily safe. A property buyer, thus, would be well advised to actually check out whether or not the property is as per sanctioned plans and the CC.
The CC is titled Adhibhog Praman Patra and is issued by the buildings department of the concerned civic agency. Once the relevant papers are submitted by the property owner the CC is usually given in about a month. The superintending engineer or the deputy commissioner of a municipal zone has the authority to sanction the CC the case of property of 400 sq yard or more. The executive engineer concerned will give sanction for properties of less than 400 sq yard area. The officials as per law also do allow for some deviations from the sanctioned plans. This includes extra construction like 5% of the plot area or 13.5 sq mt, whichever is less.
Interestingly, a CC is not mandatory for registration of a property sale. There had once been a move by the government to make a CC compulsory for sale registration. The matter, however, was shelved owing to widespread protests against it. For those who like to have their papers in order strictly as per rules, it is advisable to have the CC. Urban planning should focus on affordable housing if India is to address the problem of 18.78 million housing shortage. Socio-economic planning should go hand in hand with spatial planning. This was one of the recommendations made at NAREDCO’s 11th annual convention on Sustainable Housing for Masses: Introspection and way forward.
The two-day convention, that attracted over 400 delegates from across the country, highlighted that optimal utilisation of land, especially of government-owned land parcels, could improve land availability for real estate developers. In addition to the need for unlocking land held by public sector undertakings, stakeholders deliberated on other key issues such as delay in approvals from multiple local authorities, the need for more innovative financing options for lowincome groups among other issues.