Buyers can claim damages from builders, says court
In a significant order, a trial court has said that buyers can claim damages from builders if the latter fails to hand over the property on time. Buyers can also seek compensation or sue the builders if what they get is different from what they were promised—for example, if sub-standard material was used as against ‘high quality’ material.
“A builder who delays the handing over of the building to the buyer after completing the same within time or fails to carry out the construction according to the agreed specifications, entitles the buyer/ purchaser/occupants to claim damages for any financial loss or physical inconvenience suffered by them on account of the same, for which the builder can be made liable,” additional district judge Kamini Lau said.
The court made these observations while deciding on a 35-year-old civil suit filed by Dalmiya Cement (plaintiff) against Hansalya properties and three of its partners (all defendants).
Dalmiya Cement had claimed damages of over Rs 9 lakh on several grounds, such as delay of four years in possession of property. The plaintiff also sought compensation on account of the builder’s failure to equip the building with adequate electricity supply, including a stand-by generator, and their inability to provide at least four lifts.
Parsvnath Developers directed to pay compensation
Sarita Garg and Sanjeev Garg, residents of Sector 45, Chandigarh, had filed a court complaint saying they booked a three-bedroom flat in the proposed housing project Parsvnath Developers for an amount of Rs 56.55 lakh and paid Rs 8.70 lakh as booking amount on 13 October 2010.
They paid their first installment of Rs 5.80 lakh on 17 December 2010. In total, they paid 25 per cent of the total basic cost in the year 2010. The flat buyer agreement was signed between the parties on 7 January 2011. According to the complainants, at the time of booking they were assured that all leading banks would extend a loan for any residential unit in the project, and that the project would meet all requirements for home loan against any flat. Subsequently, the complainants requested Parsvnath Developers to provide information pertaining to the project, to be provided to HDFC Bank for the purpose of taking a loan, along with a no-objection certificate from Vijaya Bank.
On 6 July 2012, the complainants came to know through the newspaper that the building plan was approved on 30 March 2007 and that the builder was required to provide a structural-safety certificate within 60 days, but had not done so till date. According to the complainant, many other discrepancies were pointed out.
The complainants sent 21 reminders between 2012 and 2015, requesting Parsvnath Developers to provide a no-objection certificate from Vijaya Bank, but to no avail.
Parsvnath Developers maintained that it was hit by global recession, due to which they could not go ahead with construction. After hearing the arguments, the district consumer forum, Panchkula (Haryana), directed Parsvnath Developers to pay Rs 14.50 lakh deposited by the complainants, Rs 1 lakh as compensation for harassment, mental agony, unfair trade practice and deficiency in service, and Rs 5,000 as litigation expense.