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MMovingi iintot a projectjt withoutitht a completion certificate is fraught with risks as builders could have compromised on its safety features
After a Twitter campaign forced governments and development authorities to finally get serious about complaints from Noida’s Amrapali Sapphire residents, experts have come up with solutions to end their woes. Instead of making buyers wait for possession of their units, authorities should mortgage a developer’s unsold stock to recover money for land allotment and issue a completion certificate on time.
If a completion certificate cannot be handed over to the developer because of nonpayment of dues, the authority should take over the unsold housing units in that project and issue a completion certificate to allow buyers to move in. “His unsold stock can be escrowed for land repayment,” says Getamber Anand of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai). Getting a completion certificate should be prioritised at any cost.
Buyers who move into residential complexes that do not have a completion certificate should not do so as it is illegal, warn experts.
Under the UP Urban Planning and Development Act 1973, no property can be used for habitation unless an occupation certificate or a completion certificate is given by the sanctioning authority. This is reiterated in the UP Apartment Act 2010, says SK Pal, a Supreme Court lawyer.
In Noida, where properties are on leasehold, builders sometimes permit people to move in for renovation (fit-outs) after they sign an affidavit stating that they would take possession of the flat only for fit-out purpose and in case of eventuality, the builder will not be responsible for their safety. The buyer, already under pressure to pay for his current rental accommodation and EMIs for the new apartment, has no option but to sign the document and move into the new complex, Pal says.
Allowing buyers to move into a project without a completion certificate also violates Article 21, which is about a person’s right to life. In case of a fire, any building without a completion certificate would pose a grave risk to its residents. Such a structure is unlikely to have safety and other features required f or a completion certificate.
Of late, hundreds of homebu ye r s h ave c a m p a i g n e d through social media to draw the attention of administrators and all stakeholders to their problems. “The fact is that the Central government has offered a solution to states in the form of a real estate regulator but no state has taken action in that direction so far,” says Pal.
About 700 homebuyers in a complex in Noida which lacked firefighting systems, elevators and had lifts and ill-maintained parking lots, had been waiting to get their apartments registered but could not do so because the builder had not paid land dues to the authority. They finally took to Twitter to ensure their grievances were heard by the administration directly.
The handle #AmrapaliMisuse Dhoni received over 35 lakh impressions and forced Amrapali’s brand ambassador, cricketer MS Dhoni, to quit. The residents then tagged UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who later directed the Noida Authority to resolve the occupation certificate issue. A committee headed by the additional chief executive officer (ACEO) has since been set up to look into the matter.
“We booked a housing unit in this Noida project in 2009 and possession was due in 2012 but the deadline was extended. By 2013 families had started moving in. Today