Over 50% projects tagged ‘ongoing’ since MahaRERA, still await completion

Over 50 percent of the total projects registered as ‘ongoing’ with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) when the regulator came into being in 2017 are yet to be completed, according to data accessed by Moneycontrol under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

About 13,246 projects were listed as ‘ongoing’ in 2017, of which 6,557, or about 49.5 percent, have been completed.

A total 36,461 projects, including the ‘ongoing’ ones, have been registered since the inception of MahaRERA, of which 9,637 have been completed.

About 3,080 completed projects are new projects with the rest being ‘ongoing’ projects.

The data reveals that out of the total completed 9,637 projects, about 1,897, or 20 percent, were completed only after getting an extension. These include 1,655 ongoing projects and 242 new projects.

Maharashtra was one of the first states where rules and all sections of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, were notified and came into force on May 1, 2017.

What is an ongoing project?

When the RERA Act came into effect, the MahaRERA had asked all new and ongoing projects to register without which they could not market, sell or get approvals.

All ongoing as well as under-construction projects which had not received completion certificates had to get registered with the regulatory authorities within three months, i.e, July 31, 2017.

Further, projects with a plot size of a minimum 500 square metres or eight apartments also came under the purview of the Act. MahaRERA had also levied a penalty on developers of ongoing projects who did not adhere to the deadline set for registering the ongoing projects.

What is a new project?

A new project that is starting afresh and has come into existence after the MahaRERA became effective on May 01, 2017. All such projects launched after RERA Act came into effect have to register their projects with MahaRERA in order to market or sell units in them.

As per the data, about 63 percent or 23,215 projects out of the total 36,461 registered, as of June 2022, are new projects.

What’s the solution for the completion of ongoing projects?

Gautam Chatterjee, retired IAS officer and first chairman of MahaRERA, said, “We got these 13,000 ongoing projects registered within a period of two to three months after MahaRERA got into action from May 2017. The whole point is these are the legacy projects that are stuck due to several problems for whatever reasons they might be. Around 4,500 projects that are lapsed but we need to look at around 2,000 odd projects where the buyer’s money is involved and try getting them back on track.”

Chatterjee added, “We have to make efforts to ensure that these projects are completed by imposing sections 7 and 8 of RERA Act that allow taking over of the projects that are stuck. I know that the MahaRERA has recently launched a vertical for stalled and lapsed projects where they need to be analysed and measures should be taken to ensure they are completed.”

Chatterjee said that one of the few measures could be involving all the stakeholders, including financial institutions, in taking the project ahead apart from the association of allottees when they take over the project. But this would require amendments in the Act, and they should be done after carefully analysing the projects that have lapsed or are stalled.

A senior MahaRERA official not wishing to be named said, “It is true that the majority of the stalled projects are those that were registered as ongoing projects. We are in the process of appointing investigators who will go on projects where we suspect that a significant amount of the money is spent, but no groundwork is evident. The plan is to get things moving in the coming months. Out of the total lapsed projects, we are aiming and focusing on 900 odd projects where the pushing by the regulator might work in favour of the buyers.”

Lapsed projects vertical

MahaRERA chairman Ajoy Mehta on June 22 announced the formation of a dedicated vertical on lapsed or stalled real estate projects to get these projects moving by either the existing developer taking it ahead or buyers taking over the project or by roping in a new developer.

“We have verticals for grievances, complaints, registration, adjudication, and administration. Similarly, this vertical will be for stalled projects. If we have to look essentially at stalled projects, out of 4,500 stalled projects, 1,500 do not have bookings. Out of the 3 lakh apartments that are stuck, 1.28 lakh do not have bookings. My focus is on stalled projects where there is money from homebuyers involved. The approximate worth of stuck projects is expected to be Rs 78,000 crore. We will tackle money from banks and financial institutions at a later stage,” Mehta was quoted as saying.

When is a real estate project declared lapsed?

Every project registered by a developer with MahaRERA is given three to four years for completion, which is considered a reasonable time, followed by the issuance of a registration number for the project.

A search on the MahaRERA website using this number will throw up all details relating to the project. The registration number is to be published by the developer in every advertisement or promotion activity related to the project.

However, a project is termed as ‘lapsed’ when the timeline given for completion is not met, and the developer has not applied for an extension. Once the registration of the project is declared ‘lapsed’, the developer cannot advertise, market, book, sell or offer to sell, or invite persons to invest in these projects. Such projects cannot be registered by the registrar of the revenue department.

Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/real-estate/mc-exclusive-over-50-projects-tagged-ongoing-since-maharera-still-await-completion-9206841.html

MahaRERA orders developer to deduct 2%, not 10%, of the price of apartment for cancelled booking

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), in a recent order, directed the developer of Kalpataru Avana, a luxury real estate project in central Mumbai, to deduct 2 percent of the total price of flats, and not 10 percent, for cancellation of booking by homebuyers.

The ratio mentioned in the letter of intent (LOI) signed between homebuyers and Kalpataru Limited, the developer, was 10 percent. MahaRERA said the proportion mentioned in one of the clauses of the LOI appears to be unreasonable.

MahaRERA received six separate complaints from individuals and a company in August 2020, seeking directions to the developer to refund the entire amount paid by them along with interest and compensation under section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016.

The complainants said they had not signed a sale and purchase agreement, but an LOI in 2015 which was effectively an allotment letter under settled case law.

Although no date of possession was mentioned, a period of three years had been cited as a reasonable date for completion of projects in previous rulings, the homebuyers said.

They said they had informed the developer they wished to withdraw from the project and requested a refund along with interest and compensation in July 2020. The developer got the occupation certificate for the flats in October 2021.

In response, Kalpataru filed six complaints in February 2021, seeking directions from MahaRERA to the buyers to execute an agreement for sale and purchase under section 13 of RERA and also to pay the remaining amount due to the developer with interest.

MahaRERA did not find merit in the complaints, saying the buyers had already decided to withdraw from this project and approached the authority for cancellation of their booking, alleging violation of various provisions of RERA.

MahaRERA said the developer had filed complaints after the buyers had filed theirs. In such a scenario, the buyers cannot be forced to remain in the project and execute the agreements, it ruled.

“Clause no. 20 of the said LOIs mentions the forfeiture of 10% of the total consideration value of the said flats. However, … the said booking application form provides that upon cancellation of the said flats, the promoter is entitled to forfeit 2% of the total consideration of the said flats,” MAHARera said.

It added: “Such forfeiture clause as mentioned in the LOIs appears to be unreasonable, after commencement of RERA and even it does not seem to be in consonance with the recent MahaRERA Order No. 35 in August 2022, issued with respect to the prescribed format of allotment letter, which permits the promoter to forfeit 2% amount.”

In August 2022, MahaRERA issued an order prescribing the number of days and amount that can be deducted in case of cancellation of a booking. According to the order, no amount can be deducted for cancellation within 15 days of booking, 1 percent of the cost of the unit for cancellation between 16 days and 30 days, 1.5 percent between 31 days and 60 days and 2 percent after 61 days.

An email query sent to Kalpataru elicited no response.

“This ruling will be of assistance to allottees if a higher rate of deduction for forfeiting the consideration amount is mentioned in the allotment letter,” advocate Trupti Daphtary said.

Advocate Nirav Jani, a partner at Vigil Juris, said: “MahaRERA has further legislated contractual terms between the parties wherein the allottee (home buyer) will only be penalised up to 2 percent of the consideration in case of default by allottee as well. The ruling rewrites the contract previously executed between the parties. This may be an impediment for parties to enforce clauses which have been agreed between the parties and arrive at a commercial understanding.”

Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/real-estate/maharera-orders-developer-to-deduct-2-not-10-of-the-price-of-apartment-for-cancelled-booking-9138651.html

MahaRERA order to allow developers to cut over 2% amount from buyers in booking cancellation

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has issued a revised order that will pave the way for developers to increase the deduction amount in case of a booking cancellation, which was earlier capped at 2 percent.

In July, MahaRERA had issued an order prescribing the number of days and amount that can be deducted in case of cancellation of a booking. According to this, no amount could be deducted for cancellation within 15 days of booking, 1 percent of the cost of the said unit between 16 days to 30 days, 1.5 percent between 31 days to 60 days and 2 percent for cancellation over 61 days.

In this context, the MahaRERA in the July order had stated, “The Table in Clause 9 of the allotment letter prescribes the minimum period (number of days) within which the booking can be cancelled and the upper limit of the percentage of the amount to be deducted in case the allottee desires to cancel the booking.”

The order added, “The promoter may if the promoter so chooses, increase the number of days within which the booking can be cancelled as well as decrease the percentage of the amount to be deducted in the event of cancellation of the booking, in the allotment letter prescribed.”

However, in a revised order dated August 12, 2022, in relation to model allotment letter and model agreement for sale, the MahaRERA has not mentioned about developers being able to increase the number of days or decrease deduction amount, in case of cancellation of booking.

Additionally, the MahaRERA has said that if the developers want to add any points in case of deviations it should highlight the same with different colour.

In this context, the MahaRERA order states, “If promoters choose to execute with an allottee an allotment letter that is not in accordance with the proforma of the allotment letter as approved by the Authority in its meeting held on 24.06.2022, than the deviations/modifications in the proforma of the allotment letter as proposed by promoters shall be highlighted in different colour.”

The same has to be uploaded by the developer along with a deviation sheet mentioning/indicating therein the deviations/modifications while seeking registration of the real estate project so as to enable the allottees to make an informed decision, said MahaRERA in its order.

Explaining the significance, Chartered Accountant Aditya Zantye who practices with MahaRERA, said, “The MahaRERA’s revised order of August 12, 2022 has basically in a way paved the way for developers considering differing circumstances of different properties offered for sale to deduct more than 2 percent in case of cancellation of booking by highlighting the deviation or change in different colour.”

Zantye added, “A similar order issued in July 2022, allowed developers to decrease the deduction amount, however, the revised order now does not speak about decreasing and nor bars any increase. So, by this developers can charge more than 2 percent for cancellation by highlighting it in different colour. In a way, it is a good move considering litigation might come down by this. Also, more than 10 percent booking amount is in any way not permitted.”

Further, developers have welcomed the revised order by MahaRERA issued on August 12.

Manju Yagnik, Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group and Sr. Vice President, NAREDCO Maharashtra said, “This is a brilliant move by RERA which would further increase the transparency in the real estate sector while simultaneously empowering the end consumer. The fact that the developers would need RERA’s approval for any changes made to the sale agreement and the allotment letter should provide the consumer’s much-required relief.”

Yagnik added, “This would give the homebuyers maximum possible information on every aspect of the project and would also reduce future litigation processes if any. This standard draft would prevent multiple discrepancies between the developer and the consumers and would further streamline the home buying process.”

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal (MREAT) in its recent ruling had said that Real Estate Regulatory (RERA) Act doesn’t allow a property developer to forfeit money from the amount paid by a buyer if they cancel a purchase. It added that the RERA Act is silent on the point of permissible deduction if the buyer unilaterally cancels a booking for whatever reason.

Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/real-estate/maharera-order-to-allow-developers-to-cut-over-2-amount-from-buyers-in-booking-cancellation-9046871.html

Cumballa Hill resident gets refund with interest for 8-year delay in project

The MahaRERA appellate tribunal has ordered an Indiabulls subsidiary to refund the entire amount paid by a South Mumbai resident for a flat near Khalapur, along with interest for eight years and costs, for failing to hand over possession long after the agreed deadline.

Pradip Mehta, a resident of tony Cumballa Hill, had booked a flat for Rs1.17 crore in the Indiabulls Savroli 1 project near Khalapur in July 2014. The project was being developed by Sylvanus Properties, a wholly owned subsidiary of Indiabulls.

Mehta said the developer attracted buyers by showing a rosy picture of the project with a twelve-hole golf course and a 50,000 sq ft clubhouse.

He made an initial payment of Rs 17 lakh and said the developer had promised possession by February 2018.

However, when the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act came into force, the developer unilaterally changed the possession date to February 2019 while registering the project with MahaRERA, the regulator for Maharashtra.

The developer missed that deadline, too. According to Mehta, the project remains incomplete.

The developer argued that no agreement for sale had been executed and no possession date agreed to. The company said unilateral exits by buyers from a project would result in huge losses to the developer. It said such unilateral exit when there is no violation of RERA provisions by the developer ought to result in forfeiture of the amount paid under clause 16(c) of the law.

But the tribunal did not find any substance in these arguments and said the buyer was eligible for a full refund with interest from July 2014 till the date of realization of the amount under section 18 of the RERA Act.

Advocate Nilesh Gala, who represented Mehta, described the order as significant since the tribunal had ruled in favour of the buyer despite the developer claiming there was no agreement for sale.

“The significance of the order is that a developer cannot forfeit the payment or deduct money for no fault of the buyer,” Gala said. “While the model allotment letter issued by MahaRERA prescribes some deductions for cancellation of booking, there is no such provision in the act is what the judgment states.”

Moreover, he pointed out, even if there is no explicit agreement on the date of possession, other factors can be considered to ascertain it. The Savroli 1 project has been delayed for a long time and the developer has sought many extensions from MahaRERA.

Mehta had first approached MahaRERA for compensation of Rs5 lakh for the developer’s failure to provide the promised amenities, a refund of the amount he had paid with interest from July 2014, and Rs1 lakh towards litigation costs.

MahaRERA did not offer him any relief and simply directed the developer to execute a sale deed. It also said that if the buyer still wanted to exit the project, the developer could retain a portion of the amount paid. Aggrieved, Mehta moved the tribunal.

Sylvanus argued before the tribunal that the buyer had produced no document indicating a date of possession and the booking was made before the RERA Act came into force.

The company said a buyer has to pay at least 20% of the total sale amount before an agreement can be executed and registered, something Mehta had failed to do despite repeated reminders.

This, it said, violated section 4 of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats (Regulation of the Promotion, Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963, and section 13 of the RERA Act.

But the tribunal noted that as per the registration details submitted by the developer, the company had promised to complete the project by 2017, three years after work on it began.

A buyer cannot wait forever for possession of a flat, it said, particularly when the developer had failed to hand it over despite repeated extensions of the deadline.

Source: https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mumbai-cumballa-hill-resident-gets-refund-with-interest-for-8-year-delay-in-project

MahaRERA standardises home allotment letters for realtors

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has introduced standardised allotment letters for developers in a bid to bring in transparency and minimise buyer-seller disputes.

The newly introduced allotment letter would require developers to mention the date of handing over the possession of the booked property, percentage of charges levied on cancellation of booking, parking allotment and other details.

MahaRERA officials said that a standard allotment letter has been readied in a bid to bring in uniformity and safeguard the interest of flat buyers and developers.

The allotment letter prescribes the minimum period within which the booking can be cancelled and the upper limit of the percentage of the amount to be deducted in case an allottee desires to cancel the booking.

“The promoter may increase the number of days within which the booking can be cancelled as well as decrease the percentage of the amount to be deducted in the event of cancellation of the booking,” the letter stated.

Developers need to upload the allotment letter or the amended form of allotment letter at the time of applying for registration of the real estate project, said officials.

In case of non-compliance of the same, the application for registration of the project shall be liable to be rejected.

All MahaRERA developers would have to follow the model allotment letter or face action, stated consumer activists.

There is a provision in the MahaRERA that if a developer fails to follow the notification circular, then the real estate authority could slap a fine up to 5% of the project cost.

The same would be applicable to developers in the event of their not accepting the model allotment letter format, said Ramesh Prabhu, activist and chairman of the Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association.

Earlier, there used to be no mention of the cost of a flat in the allotment letter, but now, as per the model allotment letter, the builder has to mention the value of the property. According to the model allotment letter, in case of cancellation of a flat booking after 60 days, a developer can only charge a maximum of 2% of the cost of a flat as forfeiture fees.

Advocate Manjunath Kakkalameli told TOI that the standardised allotment letter would save flat buyers from legal loopholes. “Earlier, there were some issues with allotment letters as they did not meet the provisions and rules of MahaRERA and buyers had a trying time getting possession of their flats. This model letter will bring in transparency and help in reducing legal hurdles,” he said.

Some builders have expressed concern that small developers may avoid MahaRERA registration. “While big builders in metro cities will abide by the rules, developers in smaller cities and districts may not adhere to the model allotment letter,” said a leading builder in the state.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/92626283.cms

The validity of MahaRERA registration of over 4,500 real estate projects in the state with more than 3,50,000 flats has lapsed, as per the official MahaRERA website.

MahaRERA registration of over 4,500 real estate projects in state lapsed

The validity of MahaRERA registration of over 4,500 real estate projects in the state with more than 3,50,000 flats has lapsed, as per the official MahaRERA website. However, there is no mechanism in place to check if these projects are continued to be marketed, despite promoters being barred from selling the flats. In view of this, experts have called for a special vigilance cell.

Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, who practises in MahaRERA, said, “As per MahaRERA, in the past 5 years, 36,000-odd real estate projects were registered and the registration of about 4,500 or 12 per cent of the projects have lapsed. It is estimated that around Rs 80,000 crore is stuck in such projects.”

Association of Allottees

“In RERA, there’s a provision for takeover of stalled projects by Association of Allottees or flat buyers. Last week, retired IAS officer Sanjay Deshmukh was appointed to lead a team of experts to guide on solutions to revive the stalled projects. It would be advisable to refer all cases of stalled projects under Sections 7 & 8 of RERA to this particular team so that hearings get priority. Secondly, some mechanism, such as a vigilance cell, should be in place, otherwise developers will continue to sell flats at such lapsed projects to unsuspecting buyers. Thirdly, the team under Deshmukh will need legal sanctity to enforce recommended solutions,” Pimenta added.

CA Ramesh Prabhu, founder of MahaSEWA, said, “Though it is a requirement of RERA for promoters to facilitate registration of Association of Allottees on booking of more than 50 per cent flats, only few promoters take such initiatives. And even if allottees want to register the association, the list of allottees is not made available by the promoters under the confidentiality of data. Thus, the association of allottees becomes a non-starter.”

“The order of MahaRERA regarding Revival of stalled projects requires that more than 50 per cent of allottees in the projects should register an Association of allottees and file an application under section 7 and 8 of RERA to take over the project for completing the balance work. So far, we have not seen any proactive steps initiated by MahaRERA. We have recently known that Sanjay Deshmukh, a retired IAS officer, has been engaged by MahaRERA to initiate necessary steps to revive and complete the stalled projects. This is a welcome move,” said Prabhu.

Lapsed Projects

Advocate Vinod Sampat, founder and president of Flat Users Residents Welfare Association, said, “One sector where MahaRERA intervention is urgently required is lapsing of real estate projects. To a certain extent, the problem can be sorted out by appointing a special vigilance cell with powers to regularly scrutinise complaints pertaining to lapsed projects. The need of the hour is to install an element of fear in the minds of builders.”

Advocate Nilesh Gala from Practitioners Welfare Association said, “As per the circular issued by MahaRERA, if the validity of the registration expires then the promoter will not be able to register any Agreement for Sale as the sub-registrar has to check the validity of the certificate issued by MahaRERA for the project.” Estimated amount stuck in such projects is around ₹ 80k cr.

Source: https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/maharera-registration-of-over-4500-real-estate-projects-in-state-lapsed-23233356

Five years of MahaRERA: Authority issues recovery warrants for over ₹ 717 crore against developers, disposes of more than 11,000 complaints

Five years since the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) came into existence in the country’s financial capital, it has received 17,061 complaints against developers, of which it has disposed of 11,287. Of these, more than 50% of the complaints are by homebuyers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, MahaRERA chairman Ajoy Mehta tells Moneycontrol’s Mehul R Thakkar. Edited excerpts:

What has been the Authority’s role with regard to enforcement of MahaRERA orders? What is the Authority doing to address the issue?

RERA has three distinct roles, of which the first is that of regulatory oversight, which touches the question of enforcement. Second role is adjudication where a dispute has arisen between the flat buyer, promoter or the plot buyer, followed by overall housing policy…We are bringing in a lot of things to ensure that regulatory oversight is strengthened. The fundamental principle that I am following in strengthening regulatory oversight is transparency. This is because I personally, strongly feel that once a flat buyer and flat seller has an equal amount of information, that is when the buyer will make a correct decision. So we are revamping the regulatory oversight process to ensure all information comes out in the public domain. Once we implement the law correctly, litigation will automatically stop. We need to ensure that the compliances are done properly by promoters.

Are redeveloped/under-redevelopment projects covered under MahaRERA? What is the authority doing to address the problem of projects under redevelopment?

As far as the RERA Act is concerned, it is very clear that those that are under redevelopment are not covered under the Act. But, of course, the sale component of the redevelopment is covered under the RERA Act wherever money is involved. However, where something is given in lieu of something you owned is not covered under RERA. This is what the Act says and as an authority we are the interpreters of the Act…The question of what we are doing to address the problem of projects under redevelopment is best addressed to the government because they are the lawmakers.

How many complaints have been filed in the last five years and how many cases disposed of? What percentage of cases is from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, etc? Which area has witnessed the maximum number of complaints?

A majority of the complaints are from Mumbai or Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). This is followed by Pune… However, now we are putting a lot of things in place so that these complaints come down. Much more than 50% complaints are from Mumbai, but if you see that predominantly they are pre RERA-project complaints, which have now got carried on. Post-RERA, we are not finding much of this happening. As of May 24, 2022, we have around 5,000 complaints pending. We have disposed of more than 11,000 complaints out of the more than 17,000 complaints that we have received till now.

Has the Conciliation Forum formed under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and MahaRERA to facilitate dispute settlement between homebuyers and developers benefited buyers? How many cases have been settled over the last few years/ last one year?
The good thing is that this conciliation forum has been very beneficial for buyers. In the first hearing, when the homebuyers come to us, we ask them if they want to go in for conciliation…In the forum, once the buyers get favourable results and consent terms are signed, the matters are resolved very fast. Whereas when we pass an order, one side is happy and the other side is not, which leads to appeals and more litigation So, we are trying to encourage the Conciliation Forum in a big way. Now, we find that nearly more than 60% of the complainants are preferring reconciliation and the success rate of the forum is also very good. Also, we have told people that you go for reconciliation, and if you do not succeed your case is still with us. We are not throwing out their case and they remain in the queue. But while they are in the queue, we tell them to try reconciliation. If you succeed, it is a win-win situation for both the parties… This is resulting in 60% of complaints getting settled in the Conciliation Forum within 90 days.

Have promoters and homebuyers reached settlements in respect of recovery certificates? What does this amount to?

In the last five years, we have issued 751 recovery warrants against developers of around Rs 717 crore. Let me tell you that in following the issuance of recovery certificates, there is a process to be followed before and after. Sometimes people feel that once a RERA order is issued, things will work out immediately. But there is a process to be followed wherein suppose we pass an order saying ‘refund the money’ but the promoter does not refund the money. Later, what we do is we issue a revenue recovery certificate (RRC) to the tehsildar, saying ‘please take this property of X and sell it off and give the money to say Y.’ The minute the RRC goes to the tehsildar, he cannot say now this property is taken over. He has to examine the title of the property. Maybe someone else is the part-owner, and the whole process is followed. These processes take time and they reach a conclusion. However, once you have got the order of RERA in your favour, the wheels of justice have started moving. It will take time but it will reach its destination.

Should the RERA Act be amended to make financial institutions accountable for the completion of projects backed by them?

I will refrain from commenting on where what needs to be amended. This is because I clearly know what my role is, and I am not the lawmaker. It will be very incorrect for me to say what should be amended or what should not be. But only one thing which I tell everyone is please remember RERA is a very young law as compared to others and is just five years old. There are lots of ideas and I feel let us all not rush to the conclusion that my idea is the best idea. This is because when you amend the law, please understand that any law which is amended must stand the test of time. The amendment should stand because we cannot get up tomorrow and say that this amendment is wrong, and we again should do an amendment. More and more we amend a law, it is not a good sign, and it dilutes or does not serve the purpose that you wanted it to serve. But what I am saying is that every law needs to grow, expand, but give it time and thought. Let us not just jump to conclusions because it is a very infant law. Until last year, all the hearings were of pre-RERA (cases), and it is only now that things are taking shape.

There have been allegations that the orders or directions issued by RERA are not complied with by the promoters, and consumers are left to go to the court.

Once you have a RERA order in your favour, something has already started, and it takes time. It takes time because the process of justice takes time. But justice is given and the way we are giving it is by the Conciliation Forum.

What is the pendency rate? How much time does it take to complete a hearing and passing an order in one particular case?

We are having a pendency of 5,000 cases. Until now, we were hearing cases of 2019, and now we have started hearing cases of 2020. Once the first hearing is taken, we are ensuring that we pass an order in, say, three to four months. We are working on ensuring we do not give too much time for simple submission of reply or documents.

What is the one thing that you want to change when it comes to MahaRERA? What is your message to the homebuyers and developers?

My message to buyers is to try out the Conciliation Forum and not to straight away jump into disputes or litigation. If not, please come to us, we are there to give you justice. The homebuyers should make themselves aware of everything, but we also realise that buyers do not have experience. Hence, it is also for us to tell them for which we are trying to put a lot of information in the public domain. We are now also making a standard sale agreement, a standard allotment letter, and they should read that, and make a proper decision. To promoters my message is very clear that they need to put all the information out in the public domain very transparently. They need to understand the risk of the project because every risk converts into time and money. If the project has zero risk, it will certainly get completed on time. Promoters need to see risks and they are supposed to give timelines accordingly. Build in your costs and risks properly into the project and later inform the client… The promoter has all the information about the project, and we are now working (to ensure) that things should come out very transparently and in simple language. We are ensuring we monitor projects continuously. Regulatory oversight is very important for there being no litigation, and for this we need to have improved scrutiny.

Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/coronavirus-update-daily-covid-19-positivity-rate-over-3-8676991.html

Bombay high court confirmed an order of the RERA appellate tribunal directing a builder to first deposit 100% of the interest to be paid to buyers for delay in handing over flats at a project

Bombay high court tells builder to deposit 100% interest to be paid to flat buyers

Bombay high court confirmed an order of the RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development Act) appellate tribunal directing a builder to first deposit 100% of the interest to be paid to buyers for delay in handing over flats at a project called Wintergreen in Borivali, as a pre-condition to hearing its appeal.

The HC, however, accepting an undertaking by the builder-CCI Projects Pvt Ltd-and gave it 5 months to deposit over Rs 19 crore before the Tribunal, of which Rs 5.5 crore is to be paid in 4 weeks.

The builder said it would in 4 weeks deposit Rs 33 lakh-30% of the Rs 1.1 crore ‘penalty’ to be paid to flat buyers. It will also deposit over Rs 10 lakh towards costs as directed. Failure to meet deadlines will result in dismissal of appeal pending before the tribunal, said Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Madhav Jamdar in their May 6 order.

Senior counsel Vineet Naik with counsel Mayur Khandeparkar for CCI Projects had challenged orders passed by the tribunal under the Rera Act for directing it to deposit 100% deposit “without recording any reasons.” Naik said section 43 (5) of the Act gives the tribunal discretion to seek deposit of at least 30% of the amount and “in many other matters the appellate tribunal has directed deposit of much lesser amount.”

The HC also heard counsel Rui Rodrigues for the Central government and counsel Vinodini Srinivasan with advocate Avinash Pawar for the flat buyers. Srinivasan pointed out that the Act provides for a minimum 30% deposit only of the ‘penalty’ imposed, not other amounts. She said thus pre-deposit of the entire amount before appeal is entertained, is mandatory.

Naik said the project is complete and flats handed over to purchasers. He said the MahaRERA order is only for compensation for delay caused and, therefore, complaints flat buyers should have been dismissed.

Naik also said there were 173 complaints filed by flat buyers, of which 69 are settled and 83 are pending for hearing before the Authority and 19 pending for conciliation. There were 112 appeals before the tribunal, of which 42 appeals are settled and in 53, order of pre-deposit was passed.

Naik then sought some time saying the builder is willing to make the deposit in five months and offered an undertaking to pay the interest deposit in five months and also offered not to create third party rights in four shops at Arcade, Rivali Park in Borivali, worth about Rs 12 crore.

The HC directed that in case of any settlements between builder and flat buyers within five months, the builder would be at liberty to seek modification of its order.

Section 43(5) of the Act envisages the filing of an appeal before the appellate tribunal against the order of an authority or the adjudicating officer by any person aggrieved and where the promoter intends to appeal against an order of authority or adjudicating officer against imposition of penalty, the promoter has to deposit at least 30 per cent of the penalty amount or such higher amount as may be directed by the appellate tribunal. Where the appeal is against any other order which involves the return of the amount to the allottee, the promoter is under obligation to deposit with the appellate tribunal the total amount to be paid to the allottee which includes interest and compensation imposed on him, if any, or with both, as the case may be, before the appeal is to be instituted.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/bombay-high-court-tells-builder-to-deposit-100-interest-to-be-paid-to-flat-buyers/articleshow/91776238.cms

The order issued by MahaRERA member Vijay Satbir Singh on April 22 for a project in the state allowed the homebuyer to withdraw from that with a refund and interest over false representation in brochures by the developer under Section 12 of the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) 2016.

MahaRERA permits buyer to exit project due to false information in brochure

False information in publicity brochures of new projects will cost developers dearly as cited in a recent order issued by the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA).

The order issued by MahaRERA member Vijay Satbir Singh on April 22 for a project in the state allowed the homebuyer to withdraw from that with a refund and interest over false representation in brochures by the developer under Section 12 of the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) 2016.

In this case, the booking of the project was done in April 2017. The brochure stated that the project would be completed in December 2019. The developers on registration with MahaRERA showed the project completion date as December 2021, instead of December 2019, and revised that till June 30, 2022, which was a misrepresentation, stated the order.

The order stated that the Marginal Cost Lending Rate (MCLR) of SBI plus 2% “is the interest prescribed by MahaRERA under the provision of the Act, along with the refund — which in effect would mean that the home buyer, who has paid Rs 55 lakh, would get additional Rs 15 lakh along with the refund”.

“This is a landmark judgement. It takes a serious note of the misrepresentation or fancy promises by the developers through their brochures. Under section 12 of the Act the buyer is entitled to claim refund of his money and compensation. The order is definitely in the interest of the home buyers,” MahaRERA member Vijay Satbir Singh said.

The homebuyer had lodged a complaint with the MahaRERA, seeking a refund along with interest in December last year under sections 18(1) and 12 of RERA.

The order issued by Singh noted that the complainant had put in the hard-earned money to book the flat and paid a substantial amount to the respondent. But even after accepting the amount from the complainants, the respondent failed to do their duty.

“The promoter of a MahaRERA-registered project left the complainant in the lurch after taking huge amounts from them and tormented them from 2017, the same year when RERA came into force” stated the order.

Moreover, the respondent went ahead and unilaterally terminated the booking for the non-payment of outstanding dues, despite failing to complete the project on the agreed date of handing over possession (December 2019) after accepting more than 20% of the amount. This was in violation of the provisions of MOFA, as well as Section 13 of RERA.

MahaRERA disposed of the matter by allowing the homebuyer to withdraw from the project, directing the builder to refund the entire accepted amount, along with interest at the rate prescribed by it (which is the marginal cost of funds based lending rate of the SBI plus 2% interest within a period of two months).

The current MCLR rate is 7% plus 2%, This meants that the interest levied is 9% per year for this order. “It would mean the total amount paid by the consumer, which is Rs 55 lakh plus 9% interest per year from the date of payment till the actual realisation of the said amount to the complainant. The allottee will get an additional Rs 15 lakh as interest,” a MahaRERA official said.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/maharera-permits-buyer-to-exit-project-due-to-false-info-in-brochure/articleshow/91111569.cms

The state government on Monday directed the state Inspector General of Registration and Stamps to initiate disciplinary action against 44 officers from various sub-registrar offices for registering documents in violation of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA) and the Maharashtra Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act.

44 officers face action for violation of RERA Act

The state government on Monday directed the state Inspector General of Registration and Stamps to initiate disciplinary action against 44 officers from various sub-registrar offices for registering documents in violation of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA) and the Maharashtra Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act. The order states that 44 officials have been found guilty of illegally registering about 10,561 documents.

The state had appointed a four-member squad for checking such documents from all sub-registrar offices in 2020 and a detailed report was submitted last year. The order was issued based on this report, state IGR Shravan Hardikar said on Monday.

The squads checked for the RERA number of the developer, whether the construction has got in-principle approval from the government and whether the land was parcelled before being sold. Complaints were made to Mantralaya alleging illegal registrations in connivance with officials.

Many complaints were related to the registrar’s office (Haveli No 3) in Magarpatta-Hadapsar. “For those who want to cancel the registration, the process would have to be initiated legally,” Hardikar said.

As on Monday, seven officials were suspended following this order while earlier, four officials were suspended to carry out a departmental inquiry, the order said. Orders of transfer were initiated by the state against nine officials while a departmental inquiry was initiated against another nine officials, and show-cause notices have been initiated against eight officials, the order said. Action will be initiated against seven officers by the joint district registrar officer from Pune city.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/44-officers-face-action-for-violation-of-rera-act/articleshow/90652130.cms