Buy­ers can ex­pect re­lief for de­layed projects

A Con­sumer Com­mis­sion di­rec­tive in 2013 to a de­vel­oper for im­me­di­ate de­liv­ery of flat, and penalty for non-com­pli­ance, should give hope to home­buy­ers wait­ing for pos­ses­sion

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Su­nil Tyagi

Acom­mon man in­vests his hard-earned money to pur­chase a house of his own. After reg­u­larly pay­ing easy monthly in­stall­ments for buy­ing the prop­erty and liv­ing in a rented prop­erty be­cause of de­lay in pos­ses­sion is a men­tal and mon­e­tary bur­den. The Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­pute Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion in its decision of 2013 ad­dressed this is­sue in a par­tic­u­lar case.

The com­plainant had booked an apart­ment in a res­i­den­tial project in Gur­gaon on the as­sur­ance by the de­vel­oper that the project would be com­pleted by a par­tic­u­lar date in 2009. The en­tire pay­ment was made as per the in­stall­ment sched­ule. An agree­ment was ex­e­cuted be­tween the com­plainant and the de­vel­oper and, ac­cord­ing to it, the de­vel­oper was to hand over pos­ses­sion of the apart­ment to the com­plainant within 36 months of the ex­e­cu­tion of the buyer’s agree­ment. The pos­ses­sion of the apart­ment was not given even at the time of fil­ing of the com­plaint in 2012.

The com­plainant ar­gued that he had been com­pelled to take a res­i­den­tial ac­com­mo­da­tion on rent and pay both in­stall­ments and rent and had still not re­ceived the pos­ses­sion of the apart­ment. He was thus bear­ing an ad­di­tional mon­e­tary bur­den.

The de­vel­oper of­fered to pay a penalty for de­lay at the rate of ₹ 7.50 per square foot in­stead of ₹ 5 per square foot, which was stip­u­lated in the agree­ment, for the de­layed pe­riod and also to re­fund the en­tire money with in­ter­est at the rate of 15% in­stead of 10%, but no such com­pro­mise was ar­rived at. The com­mis­sion de­cided that there was an un­due de­lay in hand­ing over pos­ses­sion of the apart- ment de­spite the de­vel­oper hav­ing taken the en­tire pay­ment for it. The com­mis­sion asked the de­vel­oper to hon­our its com­mit­ment.

The com­mis­sion di­rected that the pos­ses­sion be handed over to the com­plainant within six months, fail­ing which the de­vel­oper would have to pay an ex­tra penalty of ₹ 25,000 per month.

The de­vel­oper was also di­rected to pay rent and the in­creased rent of the flat, which the com­plainant had taken on lease, till pos­ses­sion was given. The com­mis­sion stopped the pay­ment of penalty for the pe­riod of de­lay as th­ese fac­tors stood cov­ered in the pay­ment of rent to the com­plainant. The com­pen­sa­tion for lit­i­ga­tion charges was also granted in favour of the com­plainant. An ap­peal against this judg­ment was filed in the Supreme Court but the de­vel­oper with­drew it sub­se­quently.

Though the above case was de­cided on par­tic­u­lar facts and cir­cum­stances of the case, but wher­ever the facts are sim­i­lar, buy­ers can pray for sim­i­lar re­lief.

The above judg­ment comes as a huge re­lief to many­home buy­ers who are at present liv­ing in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion and are wait­ing for their homes to be de­liv­ered by var­i­ous de­vel­op­ers.

In case de­vel­op­ers fail to de­liver and there is un­rea­son­able de­lay, buy­ers placed in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions can seek sim­i­lar re­lief be­fore con­sumer fora. Judg­ments like th­ese will def­i­nitely cre­ate pres­sure on de­vel­op­ers to de­liver their projects on time and ben­e­fit large num­ber of apart­ment buy­ers.

THINKSTOCK

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