Having a house of your own, where you can spend time with your loved ones, and enjoy the comforts of life is every person’s dream come true.
However, buying a house is one of the most difficult purchases a person takes up. It involves the investment of a large amount of money, effort, time and documentation.
India is one of those countries where buying a house is an extremely expensive ordeal. With rising population, lack of space and general inflation, property rates are soaring. Even though purchasing power has increased, that is not the case with buying homes. Further, cases related to property fraud are also a notorious issue running through civil courts.
Thus, while buying a home, it is important to know the rights of home buyers in India. This is where the RERA Act comes in.
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA):
The RERA Act was enacted in2016 with a view to safeguard and protect the interest of home buyers and boost real estate investment. The preamble of the act itself states that it was passed
“to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for regulation and promotion of the real estate sector…and to protect the interest of consumers in the real estate sector.”
The act mandates a number of things such as registration of projects, transparency between buyers and developers, and helps to keep a check on developers.
Further, the RERA Act directs the establishment of State Real Estate Authorities under RERA as well. Thus, various States have established their own RERA Authorities, for example, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (popularly known as MahaRERA) and similarly, UPRERA.
The passing of the RERA Act is believed to be quite effective. The Authority has been successful in implementing the rules and taking strict actions against non-compliance by builders. Pre-RERA, builders resorted to unfair trade practices such as delay in handing over possessions, deceiving on area of the property, changing layout plans, charging extra money etc.. The advent of RERA has placed various boundaries in place and gives rights to property buyers, thus safeguarding them. RERA has not only made the real estate sector transparent but has also provided certain rights to the homebuyers and protects innocent buyers from being crippled by malafide buyers. However, to exercise these rights, buyers must be made aware of them.
Rights of Buyers under RERA:
RERA is composed of 10 parts and 92 sections, out of which Chapter 5 specifically talks about the rights to allottees. Along with that, it lays down certain duties of builders and promoters. The breach of which can be problematic and harm the buyers.
Sec.19 of RERA lays down certain rights and duties of allottees. Under the Act, “allottees” means the person to whom a plot, apartment or building, has been allotted, sold or transferred by the promoter. On the other hand a “Promoter” is the builder, developer, or seller of the properties.
- Right to Information:
Buyers have the right to know everything about the property that they are going to purchase. It includes information pertaining to sanctioned plans with the specifications, layout plans, information contained in the sale agreement made with the promoter, where such specifications are approved by the competent authorities.
For example, Project ‘X’ is a building with private apartments in it. The buyers must know each specification related to such a project such as the plans sanctioned by the Authority in appropriate measurements and prerequisites.
Join LAW TREND WhatsAPP Group for Legal News Updates-Click to Join
- Right of buyer to know everything related to Completion of project and Construction Schedule:
The buyer has the right to know the stage-wise completion and construction of the project. It includes electricity, water, sanitation and other services mentioned in terms and conditions of the agreement to sale. Thus, the promoter must inform about each stage in the completion of the said project.
- Right to Possession:
The buyer is entitled to claim the possession of the specific property, whereas, the association of the rest of the buyers are entitled to all common area possession. Taking the earlier example, the buyer of a particular flat in Project X will be entitled to the specific flat; and the rest of the buyers of the rest of the flats form an association of buyers who are entitled to common areas such as hallways, lifts, amenities etc.
- Right to Refund:
If the promoters are unable to complete and handover the said property, the allottees have the right to claim full refund paid by them for such property. An allottee can file a complaint under RERA and claim for refund along with interest in the prescribed rate, as well as compensation from the promoter. A complaint can be filed with the Appellate Tribunal if the buyer is not satisfied with RERA’s decision. The claim can be made in cases where possession is not handed over, there is a discontinuance of the promoters business, his registration for development of the said property is revoked etc..
- Right to have documents:
The buyers have the right to possess papers of the property after getting actual physical possession of the property.
Duties of Buyers:
In all cases where rights are granted, they are against some basic duties to be adhered to. Under RERA too, buyers have been made aware about their duties towards promoters and properties.
- Buyers are responsible to make necessary payments in the manner prescribed and within the time as specified in the agreement for sale. They shall make the payments at the proper time and place, along with any registration charges, municipal taxes, water and electricity charges, maintenance charges, ground rent, etc..
- In case of delay in respect of the payments as stated above, the buyers are liable to pay interest for such delay as well.
- Buyers should take part in the formation of the association of buyers or societies or cooperatives.
- Physical possession of the property must be taken within two months of the occupancy certificate issued for the said property.
- Buyers must participate in the registration of conveyance deed of the said property.
These rights and duties must be kept in mind by the buyers while purchasing any property. In case of disputes, the Act allows for the establishment of State Real Estate Appellate Tribunal, wherein aggrieved parties can place their issues in case of infringement of their rights. The tribunal has the jurisdiction similar to that of any court and can issue orders and judgements along with imposition of fines and penalties. It can also issue compensation to aggrieved parties.
Rajat Rajan Singh
Editor-in-Chief at Law Trend
Advocate at Allahabad High Court Lucknow
Written By Sai Kulkarni – Intern and Apurva Surve- Intern