LEGAL REMEDIES FOR HOME BUYERS IN CASE OF DELAY IN POSSESSION BY THE BUILDER

INTRODUCTION

It can be incredibly stressful to spend your hard-earned money on a house, apartment, or other property and not receive it on time. Additionally, when the builder refuses to answer your calls and repeatedly delays the delivery of your ideal home, it drains all of your strength, concentration, and tranquility. You lose money in EMI and rent payments, but you also risk upsetting your family’s peace of mind by going through this mental anguish. Legal battles are tedious and exhausting to fight. You have nightmares about serving the builder with a legal notice. This on-going issue has been hurting the real estate industry for years. This was one of the factors that led to the creation of RERA, a sector-specific forum that the government thought was necessary. More than 3 lac house purchasers in Delhi NCR alone are reportedly waiting for possession despite paying 90% of their payment, according to estimates. While you are renting an apartment, it is difficult to continue paying interest to the bank. The long-cherished Indian ideal of owning a home was transformed into a nightmare. It is necessary to get a possession certificate in order to move into or utilize a property since it certifies that ownership has changed hands. The developers often get away with their mistake by failing to include the date of possession in the agreement, which results in delays lasting up to 5 to 6 years. The customers may suffer psychological effects as a result of the developers’ nefarious actions. As these situations are common throughout India, the situation is extremely concerning for the nation, and it is crucial to preserve the rights of every individual.

APPROACH CONSUMER FORUM

Affected parties may make a complaint against the developer to the forum whose jurisdiction includes the property or the developer’s office under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, if they are having a problem with the seller delaying giving them ownership of a property. The CP Act will have jurisdiction if the buyers fit under the legal definition of a consumer. Under this legislation, buyers may file complaints in the Dispute Forum for up to Rs. 1 crore, in the SCDRC for up to Rs. 10 crore, and in the NCDRC for more than Rs. 10 crore. It allows customers to receive a refund with interest, custody of their purchase, delay compensation for mental harassment, and other benefits.

The District Forum’s financial authority to hear the complaint is restricted to the amount paid for the products or services and compensation up to Rs. 20 lakh, as stated in Section 11 of the Act. The State Commission, however, has pecuniary authority to consider the case if the value of the products or services and compensation exceeds rupees twenty lakhs, according to Section 17 of the Act. It does not, however, go above one crore rupees. In a same vein, Section 21 stipulates that the National Commission has the financial authority to immediately hear a consumer complaint if the combined worth of the goods or services and the compensation exceeds Rs. 1 crore. According to Section 12(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, it would be acceptable for the builder/developer to refuse to give them ownership of the flat/plot that was promised to them and to submit a complaint on their behalf (c). Here are a few examples of complaints made under the CPA over the delay in receiving property.

REAL ESTATE REGULATION ACT, 2016 (RERA)

A law known as the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act1 (RERA) was approved by the Parliament in 2016 and went into full force on May 1, 2017. By providing speed and openness to the real estate sale/purchase process, it seeks to safeguard home buyers while simultaneously promoting the growth of real estate investments. By making the sale and purchase of real estate more efficient and transparent, it seeks to protect purchasers while simultaneously promoting investment in the real estate industry. The Act establishes the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state to oversee the real estate industry and a special court to handle disputes pertaining to real estate. Additionally, it permits the establishment of an Appellate Tribunal for courts of appeal from the orders, guidelines, and judgments of the Real Estate regulatory body and adjudicating officials. Let’s say the real estate agent disobeys the Appellate Tribunal’s ruling. In that instance, he will get a maximum of one year in jail or a fine for each day of persistent infractions. However, it may total up to 10% of the anticipated cost of the apartment, plot of land, building, or whatever else is being offered for sale, purchase, or both.

In circumstances where an occupancy certificate is issued, the complaint cannot be submitted, which is an exemption to RERA. The statute entitles the buyer to a 100% refund as well as daily, weekly, or monthly interest until the delay is resolved. Typically, an RERA complaint must be resolved within 60 days, and the associated legal fees range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 75,000.

National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)

It is preferable to handle the situation on your own if the developer is delaying the delivery of your home or apartment as a result of a lack of funding. The best course of action in this circumstance is to contact NCLT. In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court also supported a house buyer’s right to file a bankruptcy petition against a property or apartment developer or seller. If the seller is unable to complete the project, the buyer may turn to NCLT, file an insolvency petition against him under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and seek any sum equal to or greater than Rs 1 lakh. The typical time it takes to settle a case, according to the act, is to be within 9 to 12 months. The NCLT is an appeal authority that has emerged as a more preferred option for home buyers looking for rapid relief from the builder in situations involving registered firms and a disputed value of more over Rs 1 lakh. It makes it possible for the company’s owners to obtain their shares throughout the liquidation process. The Supreme Court ruled that the buyer turns into a financial creditor. As a result, the buyers are now just like the other creditors entitled to receive their portions of the assets owned by the seller or developer.

CONCLUSION

There might be a lot of reasons why the property gets delivered late. However, while buying a house, one must proceed with prudence. All of the disclaimers and points in the buyer builder agreement must be carefully read by the buyer. Investigations of the builder’s financial reliability are necessary. If no beneficial terms are incorporated in a contract after it is signed, the buyer might not have any legal options. Therefore, while signing real estate contracts, the buyer must be cautious.

REFERENCE

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