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Property Buyer and Consumer Relief under RERA against Builders for Real Estate Dispute

RERA, Real Estate Regulatory Authority popularly known as RERA is a newly implemented law – THE REAL ESTATE (REGULATION AND DEVELOPMENT) ACT, 2016 to ensure sale of plot, apartment of building, in an efficient manner and to protect the interest of consumers in the real estate sector. It also ensures a dedicated and speedy redressal mechanism.

What is the purpose and why did it come to place?

The act proposes and aims to create transparency in the real estate related transactions and to safeguard the consumer’s interests. This act is applicable to all the states within India excluding the  state of Jammu & Kashmir. To ensure a speedy dispute redressal mechanism.

Why do you need a lawyer for filing a Complaint?

A well drafted complaint can make your respresentation stronger and can help the tribunal to undertand your grievances better. A lawyer always ensures that during the drafting as well as the argument stage the content of the complaint, legal grounds and the arguments are enunciated in a manner which makes your case stronger and clearer. The complainant might not be able to do the same themselves and hence they need a lawyer to represent their case.

When can you file a complaint?

Any homebuyer who seeks redressal for their grievances are welcome to file a complaint with the RERA. The problems which a homebuyer generally faces with the builders are as follows:

1. Delay in delivery of possession of the property

2. Mismatch in the guise of floor area & carpet area

3. Misrepresentation of design and construction parameters

4. Malpractices like improper amenities, ceiling leakage, improper drainage system, incomplete fire safety system, low quality of electrical wiring, improper water provisions.

5. Not providing occupancy certificate, or

6. any other deficiency in service

If one is facing, any of the abovementioned grievances, they can easily approach the forum to seek redressal.

Who can file a complaint with RERA and against whom can the complaints be filed? 

Any aggrieved home buyer or the consumer under the ambit of RERA can bring a lawful suit against the developer or the promoter.  The documentary procedure to file a complaint is represented below :

How can we file a complaint with RERA?

Filing complaint before Adjudicating Officer of Regulatory Auhtority

Duly filled “Form M” along with a fee of Rs. 1,000 paid using a demand draft payable where the seat of the said Regulatory Authority is situated[3].

Filing an appeal before Appellate Tribunal

Attested true copy of the order  alongwith duly filled “Form L” along with a fee of Rs. 1000. The composition of the authority is :- Chairman + 3 members ; Chapter X of the act.

How is the interest to be paid calculated in RERA matters, as per the RERA guidelines? 

Instead of an algorithm or a calculation on the rate of interest to be charged under the RERA guidelines, it is rather fixed and changes as per the SBI rate.

Approximate Rate of Interests :-

State Bank of India Prime Lending Rate plus two percent (paid by the promotors and the allottee).

How is the interest calculated when there is already a clause for liquidated damages, in the Agreement to sell between the parties.

It is the duty and obligation of the promotor/developer to obey and be governed by the terms and conditions of the agreement signed by him/her in lieu of the sale of the said apartment. Failure to obey such terms will make him liable for an action under the RERA act. Meaning thereby, that the sale agreement terms will take precedence over the default conditions set under the law until and unless the agreement stands in contravention to the RERA act.

How to determine the jurisdiction while filing the complaint?

Filing a complaint under RERA is governed as per the simple Civil Procedure code concept of Territorial Jurisdiction i.e. to be filed before the adjudicating officer of the area where the project/home lies or where the cause of action arose.