THE EXTRA BURDEN IMPOSED ON HOMEBUYERS
People in Noida Extension, who thought their trials and tribulations had ended after the land acquisition issue was settled in 2012, find no end to their sufferings even today. Many of them are now receiving offers of possession demanding additional payments in lakhs for ‘labour welfare’, water connection and farmer acquisition charges. In some cases, even after paying their builders the money, the homebuyers are waiting for physical possession of their apartments.
Surinder Singh, an IT professional paying an EMI of ₹ 6,000 per month for a 1BHK apartment in Noida Extension in 2010 and a rent of ₹ 15,000 for a house in Crossings Republik, received an offer of possession letter in December last year. Not only Interest on delayed payment
had the apartment area been increased from 550 sq ft to 598 sq ft (almost 11%) from what was committed in the builder-buyer agreement (BBA), he was also sent a list of additional charges that he had to pay before he could move into the apartment. The letter raised a demand for 24% interest for six months as penalty. “This was unfair as after paying the mandatory 10% booking amount in 2010, I had made the second payment of 30% only after I received the BBA – almost after six months. While the BBA had mentioned that this amount had to be paid Advance maintenance charges for two years Farmer compensation charges (To be paid by allottees: SC)
after 60 days of the booking, this was not communicated to me before I received my BBA,” Singh says.
“I was also asked to pay ₹ 25,000 as water connection charge. My BBA does not mention it as a separate charge. Besides, a labour cess of ₹ 20 per sq ft and a farmers’ compensation charge of ₹ 50 per sq ft was the additional burden. This again was unfair as buyers who had paid up for their apartments some years ago were promised that they would not have to pay anything extra as they had stood by the builders throughout the Noida Extension controversy,” he adds.
Singh eventually did pay up an additional amount of around ₹ 2 lakh but not after emailing the builder that he was doing so ‘in protest.’ Subsequently, he received a call from the builder’s office, promising a ‘settlement’. He was told that instead of 24% interest, he would be charged only 12% and the labour cess would be reduced from ₹ 20 per sq ft to ₹ 10 per sq ft. In return, however, Singh was told that he would have to sign a letter of consent/ no objection, stating that he had no problem with the builder constructing additional units.