Citing an order of the Supreme Court, the Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TNRERA) has ruled that consumers cannot be compelled to take possession of delayed apartment units. Since the developer offered the completed flat after much delay, the real estate regulator ordered the promoter to refund payment with interest and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh for causing mental agony to the consumers.
The issue pertains to a housing project developed by Ozone Projects Pvt Ltd in Anna Nagar. Two homebuyers approached TNRERA seeking refund and compensation for the apartments booked by them. According to them, the developer promised to deliver the flat by December 2016 with a grace period of three months, but failed to honour its commitment.
In its response, the developer said that during the contractual period, it suffered two natural calamities in 2015 and 2016.
After hearing both sides, TNRERA ordered that Section 18 of the RERA Act gives flat purchasers the right to withdraw from the project and demand the amount paid by them with interest including compensation, if a promoter fails to hand over possession of a flat on the date specified in the agreement. The Supreme Court in a case had noted that once a builder failed to fulfill its contractual obligation of obtaining the occupancy certificate and offering possession of the flat to the purchaser within the time stipulated in the agreement, the homebuyer could not be compelled to take possession, TNRERA adjudicating officer G Saravanan said in the order.
The real estate regulator directed the developer to return the amount paid by the two homebuyers and the bank, which offered loan to the complainants.