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Updated on: Sunday, September 05, 2021, 08:22 PM IST

Homebuyers fume over regulators in some states allowing developers more time to complete projects

PTI
Homebuyers' body FPCE has strongly objected to extension given by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka's real estate regulators for completion of projects, saying this will put flat owners under financial stress/ Representational image |

Homebuyers' body FPCE has strongly objected to extension given by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka's real estate regulators for completion of projects, saying this will put flat owners under financial stress/ Representational image |

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Homebuyers' body FPCE has strongly objected to extension given by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka's real estate regulators for completion of projects, saying this will put flat owners under financial stress.

The Forum for People's Collective Efforts (FPCE) has written to Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra, demanding that the Centre should intervene in this matter and direct these three states to roll back their decisions.

FPCE president Abhay Kumar Upadhyay said that RERA authorities of Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka have "arbitrarily" extended registration of real estate projects and given more time for completion.

In the letter, FPCE said that the Union housing ministry last year provided extension (zero period) of 6 months to real estate projects across the country, with an option for a further extension of three months given to State RERA Authorities.

This was done by the Central Advisory Council (CAC) under RERA only with the sole purpose of giving relief to builders during the COVID pandemic, it added.

"This was aimed at scuttling homebuyers rights enshrined under RERA to get their homes on time," said, Upadhyay who is a member of the CAC.

Upadhyay said the FPCE, which has played an important role in passage and implementation of realty law RERA, had unequivocally opposed such a blanket extension.

In the CAC meeting, he said the FPCE had sought relief for homebuyers but the same was not even considered.

"It is also pertinent to mention that the CAC has not met since, possibly because the handle to give relief to builders has been handed over to the RERA Authorities in the States,....

"....and as an unwritten rule homebuyer's agenda is not considered to be worth taking up for consideration by the CAC, which certainly smacks of pro builder bias," the letter said.

FPCE said that Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka have "recklessly, in blatant disregard to homebuyer rights", have given another extension to the real estate projects under the garb of Covid-19 second wave.

On August 6, 2021, Maharashtra RERA extended timelines for project completion by 6 months, while on August 18, UP RERA by nine months and on August 27 Karnataka RERA by 6 months.

"Needless to say, that your 2020 advisory, obviously under pressure from builders, has opened floodgates of extension.

"Taking leaf from your book, RERA Authorities are randomly giving blanket extensions even when there was no work stoppage nor complete lockdown announced either by Central Government or by any State Government," Upadhyay said.

The entire second wave lasted for merely 2-3 months while extension has been granted for 6-9 months, he said.

This "defeats any rationale or logic and beyond comprehension of any sane mind," Upadhyay said.

He wondered how such decisions can be taken by RERA Authorities that are "one sided, arbitrary and without any logical or legal basis".

The direct repercussion of such extension will have to be necessarily and directly faced by homebuyers, the FPCE president said.

The scheduled handover of projects will now get delayed for more than a year, he added.

Homebuyers will have to continue paying EMI and rent for extended periods.

FPCE said that such extension is bound to create havoc and unimaginable financial stress on the homebuyers.

Upadhyay feared that RERA Authorities of other states may follow suit and announce similar one sided, illegal and arbitrary extension of project completion timelines.

"Before that happens, it is necessary that Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka RERA Authorities are advised/directed to withdraw their notifications granting of extension of timelines for project completion," FPCE has urged the housing secretary to issue an advisory to all State Governments and also to all RERA Authorities to not give any further extension in timeline for project completion.

"Also, it must be clarified that those RERA Authorities who have already extended timeline must withdraw such notification and cancel any such timeline extension already given under the notification," the letter said.

Upadhyay said "such mindless extension defeats the very purpose of RERA as its intent for balanced and fair decision making by Regulator for all stakeholders is now under brazen threat".

The association said that homebuyers are highly disgruntled the way their concerns have been handled.

"...we are hopeful that you will show same urgency and promptness as was shown by your good office last year for giving extension to help builders. Your direct intervention is much needed as homebuyers are under tremendous stress and they also need your support at this critical juncture," Upadhyay said in the letter.

He hoped that the housing secretary will consider the appeal and take prompt action to save both real estate sector and homebuyers.

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Published on: Sunday, September 05, 2021, 08:22 PM IST
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