Mumbai: In a major relief to a home buyer, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) directed a developer to refund Rs 1 lakh paid which was paid as booking amount by the home buyer. The RERA bench acted on a complaint from a home buyer for non-payment of booking amount by the developer and stated that the buyer is liable to receive the refund as there was no agreement signed between both the parties. The complainant, Sanjiv Gill had booked a studio flat in ‘UK Iridium’ at Kandivali East. He had booked the flat with developer ‘Damodar Suruchi Developers’ on May 28, 2017 after paying the booking amount of Rs 1 Lakh. “I sent an e-mail to the developer asking for refund of booking amount due to my personal reasons four months after the booking date. The developer failed to respond to the e-mail and thereby we requested the authority to direct the developer to pay the refund,” said Gill.
During the hearing, the advocate of the developer represented by Ashish Venugopal disputed the claim by stating that the complaint made by the home buyer is not maintainable as there is no provision under RERA act for refunding the booking amount.
“The complainant is not an allottee according to the definition of the Sec 2 (b) of the RERA act and also there is no sale of agreement executed by the parties. The complainant has cancelled the booking due to his own personal reasons and not due to the default of the developer,” said the advocate. Thereby, the advocate of the developer requested the authority for dismissing the present complaint. The RERA bench observed the rival submissions made by both the parties and stated that the developer had acted contrary to the provisions of the Sec 3 of the RERA act and accepted the booking from the complainant without prior registering the project with MahaRERA.
“In the present case, the developer registered the project with MahaRERA on August 17, 2017 and the complainant booked the flat on May 28, 2017. This shows that the action of booking the flat by the developer is void ab initio,” order stated. The bench also stated that the complainant booked the flat in the developer’s project after commencement of the RERA act, 2016. “No person shall sell or book the flat, make any purchase in any manner, any plot, apartment or building in any real estate project without registering the project with RERA,” stated the order.
According to clause number 18 of the model form of agreement prescribed in Maharashtra Real Estate, Rules 2017 stated that the entire money paid by the allottees has to be returned to them without any interest if the parties fail to sign the agreement.
Hence, the authority directed the developer to refund full booking amount of Rs 1 lakh within a period of 30 days from the date of order. The bench also penalised the developer to pay penalty of Rs 50,000 for violating Sec 3 of the RERA act for selling the flat without registering it with MahaRERA.