Buy­ers can claim dam­ages from builders, says court

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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.

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