By Staff Reporter
In a significant move, the NCDRC (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) has mandated a hefty refund of Rs 33 crore, plus 12% interest, to three flat buyers in Mumbai’s World One project. This ruling stems from the developers’ failure to obtain necessary approvals and persistent delays in project handover, exceeding four years.
The Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA Act) of 2016 has been a game-changer, significantly enhancing transparency and accountability in the real estate sector. This legislation grants homebuyers and allottees various rights to protect their interests.
According to Girish Rawat, partner at Luthra and Luthra Law Offices India, any delay entitles the allottee to remedies outlined in the RERA Act. Crucially, the RERA Act mandates developers to communicate a stage-by-stage schedule for project completion, ensuring transparency.
Experts advise against signing the Builder-Buyer Agreement (BBA) if it lacks a construction schedule. Raj Khosla, founder of MyMoneyMantra.com, suggests obtaining a detailed construction schedule from the RERA website.
For home loan borrowers, ensuring that bank disbursements align with construction stages is crucial. P. C. Roy, associate at ASL Partners, recommends checking the tripartite agreement and loan agreement to confirm disbursal alignment.
Buyers hold the right to claim possession under Section 19(3) of the RERA Act, with building associations also entitled to common areas upon possession. The Act empowers buyers to seek a refund (Section 19(4)) and full compensation for delays (Section 18).
Ravi Bhasin, senior partner at AZB & Partners, notes the Supreme Court’s ruling that indefinite waiting for possession warrants a refund and compensation. Even if consent was given for project alterations, buyers retain the right to seek a refund.
In case of non-compliance, issuing a legal notice is advised. If the developer fails to respond, filing a formal complaint under RERA for cancellation, refund, interest, and compensation is the next step.
Section 19(5) grants buyers access to crucial documents throughout construction. RERA aims to empower buyers, emphasizing the importance of verifying all documents before investing. Denial of access by the developer should be treated as a red flag, prompting intervention under Section 35.
The NCDRC’s ruling serves as a beacon for buyer empowerment and highlights the effectiveness of RERA in safeguarding homebuyers’ rights.