Con­ver­sion blues

Lease­hold to free­hold con­ver­sion takes time and forces peo­ple to take risky short­cuts to buy or sell prop­erty

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

San­jay Sharma, res­i­dent of a co-op­er­a­tive group hous­ing so­ci­ety in North Delhi, can’t get his lease­hold flat con­verted to f reehold be­cause of a long- drawn le­gal dis­pute be­tween his so­ci­ety and the Delhi Co-op­er­a­tive Hous­ing Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (DCHFCL) over loan em­bez­zle­ment. Un­less it is free­hold prop­erty, Sharma can­not sell the apart­ment.

Dis­pos­ing of the prop­erty a few years ago would not have posed a prob­lem.“I could have done that through a reg­is­tered gen­eral power of at­tor­ney/agree­ment to sale/ will, but trans­fer of lease­hold prop­erty through such meth­ods was banned af­ter the Supreme Court judg­ment in the Su­raj Lamp case. So If I have the need to sud­denly sell my prop­erty I would to go in for a trans­fer deed,” Sharma adds.

Thou­sands of apart­ment own­ers in many co-op­er­a­tive group hous­ing so­ci­eties and DDA apart­ments don’t have ei­ther a le­gal ti­tle or valid power of at­tor­ney for their prop­er­ties. Their trou­bles be­gin when they tur n to un­scr up­u­lous proper t y deal­ers and greedy rev­enue officials for sell­ing their apart­ments and are wrongly ad­vised to opt for a trans­fer of lease deed.

“Many group hous­ing projects don’t have com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cates be­cause of build­ing vi­o­la­tions. DDA’s doc­u­men­ta­tion process is also so cum­ber­some that even if you have proper doc­u­ments it takes four to five months to get the con­ver­sion done from lease­hold to free­hold done, though DDA officials claim that it takes just 60 days,” says San­jeev Ku­mar, pres­i­dent, Delhi Res­i­dents’ Front.

Ku­mar adds, “DDA asks for a no-ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate (NOC) from the co-op­er­a­tive so­ci­ety flats. This gives an op­por­tu­nity to many of­fice bear­ers of the so­ci­ety to ha­rass the owner and ask for huge sums of money for grant of NOC. DDA also asks the owner to get the sig­na­ture of orig­i­nal al­lot­tee val­i­dated by the so­ci­ety. All of this takes time.”

Asked if the sub­stan­tial con­ver­sion fee was also a rea­son why peo­ple turned t owards other meth­ods to sell their apart­ments, Asoka Sharma, res­i­dent of a co-op­er­a­tive group hous­ing so­ci­ety, says, “I don’t think so. The to­tal con­ver­sion cost of a 100 sq mt flat in Ro­hini is about 1.5 lakh - which is not too much. The new new DDA vice chair­man has taken a lot of pos­i­tive ini­tia­tives, how­ever, there are still a lot of bot­tle­necks.”

Says a se­nior DDA of­fi­cial, “The con­ver­sion pro­ce­dure has some checks to min­imise risk of prop­erty fraud. What can the DDA do if the hous­ing so­ci­ety is locked in a le­gal bat­tle with DCHFCL or if so­ci­ety mem­bers want bribes for is­su­ing NOCs? I think the rev­enue de­part­ment should take ad­e­quate mea­sures to stop in­no­cent peo­ple from buy­ing dis­puted prop­er­ties.

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