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
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.