The real es­tate law is a step in the right di­rec­tion

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Ramesh Nair

In re­cent times, the do­mes­tic de­vel­oper com­mu­nity has been in the news for all the wrong rea­sons. The good news is that the ‘black sheep’ of the fam­ily are be­ing brought to book, si­mul­ta­ne­ously in­creas­ing the con­trast be­tween un­scrupu­lous op­er­a­tors and hon­est builders. The law is com­ing down heav­ily on un­re­li­able builders, which is a very pos­i­tive sign. Also, con­sumers now know that their griev­ances will be heard and acted upon.

In a sig­nif­i­cant rul­ing, a con­sumer dis­putes re­dres­sal fo­rum has held a builder in Mumbai guilty of non-com­pli­ance of an or­der, which was passed nine years ago. He has been sen­tenced to two years’ im­pris­on­ment. The fo­rum chief found that the builder had failed to hand over the flat within the promised time, de­spite re­ceiv­ing the en­tire sum. Based on the buyer’s com­plaint of de­fi­ciency in ser­vice, the fo­rum had di­rected the builder to hand over the flat with all the ameni­ties, along with com­pen­sa­tion for de­lay and lit­i­ga­tion ex­penses, within two months. How­ever, even af­ter all these years, the buyer is still await­ing pos­ses­sion, which led to the im­pris­on­ment de­ci­sion.

Apart from the de­lay in pos­ses­sion, ex­ploita­tion of floor area ra­tio (FSI) by step­ping be­yond per­mis­si­ble lim­its was an is­sue, which led to an­other case in Mumbai. Such breach of en­ti­tle­ment is a se­ri­ous le­gal of­fence. In an­other case, upon not com­plet­ing the rede- vel­op­ment project of an old build­ing within the stip­u­lated time­frame, the builder threat­ened buy­ers with can­cel­la­tion of al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion pay­ments, and was seen forc­ing the res­i­dents to ac­cept pos­ses­sion in the ab­sence of oc­cu­pancy cer­tifi­cates. A com­plaint was filed against him by the mem­bers, and the case is cur­rently un­der hear­ing.

Un­der­per­for­mance by a real es­tate com­pany in Gur­gaon brought to light an in­ter­est­ing case, wherein an erring de­vel­oper was able to make amends with irate con­sumers. In­nu­mer­able con­sumer com­plaints due to non-ful­fil­ment of obli­ga­tions, divert­ing as­signed funds to other projects and busi­ness re­quire­ments and de­layed de­liv­ery of the project in­di­cated a pos­si­ble busi­ness fail­ure at­trib­ut­able to faulty man­age­ment at the builder’s end. How­ever, the de­vel­oper re­as­sured con­sumers by set­ting up a sys­tem of pe­ri­odic re­view, en­sur­ing faster com­ple­tion and de­liv­ery of his projects. This helped him re­gain cus­tomer trust and set­tled the dust.

PHO­TOS: I STOCK

Real Es­tate Reg­u­la­tory Act (RERA) will ease most con­sumer con­cerns such as de­layed de­liv­ery and change in project lay­out, among oth­ers.

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