The real estate law is a step in the right direction
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.
Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) will ease most consumer concerns such as delayed delivery and change in project layout, among others.