'MahaRERA Playing Positive Role In Regulating Real Estate Industry', Says Chairman, Ajoy Mehta

'MahaRERA Playing Positive Role In Regulating Real Estate Industry', Says Chairman, Ajoy Mehta

He said Maha RERA is like a football referee who runs alongside the players, unlike cricket umpires who only raise their fingers when there is a violation

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Friday, February 09, 2024, 12:54 PM IST
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Ajoy Mehta |

MahaRERA, the real estate regulatory authority established under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, is playing a positive role in regulating the real estate industry and solving issues faced by home buyers, its chairman, Ajoy Mehta, has told The Free Press Journal. He said Maha RERA is like a football referee who runs alongside the players, unlike cricket umpires who only raise their fingers when there is a violation.

The primary job of the authority is to protect the interest of flat buyers, Mehta said. Mehta stated this while interacting with senior journalists of The Free Press Journal Group at FPJ House on Wednesday. He said as many as 40,000 real estate projects are registered with MahaRERA. The authority has not set any target for registration, but the emphasis is on quality, the MahaRERA chief said. He said the authority has been serving the interests of home buyers, who are no more at the mercy of builders. Mehta said the authority, through its website, helps apartment buyers make informed choices before they go ahead and enter into sale agreements with developers.

'MahaRERA website contains basic information about a project'

“If a building has received an occupation certificate (OC) for only up to five floors, that is reflected in the authority’s website. So if a builder is selling a potential flat buyer an apartment on the 10th floor then the purchaser should be alert,” he added. Mehta, who was the chief secretary of Maharashtra and municipal commissioner of Mumbai, said the MahaRERA website contains basic information about a project so that buyers are not taken for a ride.

He said the website gives information about the title of the land on which a project is coming up and whether it has received commencement certificate from the BMC and, if ‘yes’, up to what floor. No flat can be sold without RERA registration, Mehta said, adding this ensures safety for buyers and also ensures that the builder’s reputation is not sullied. Asked why extensions for completion of projects are granted by MahaRERA even though it is not in the interest of buyers, Mehta clarified that extensions are granted only after close scrutiny of the reasons given by builders. He said there are times when a builder is faced genuine difficulties. If extensions are not granted in genuine cases, then people who have booked flats in that particular project are adversely affected, Mehta said.

'Builders are required to deposit 40 % of cost monies with MahaRERA'

Mehta said builders are required to deposit 40 % of cost monies with MahaRERA and the withdrawals are closely monitored by the authority, which ensures that the withdrawal of money are only for bona fide purposes. This ensures that the finances are not squandered away by builders. The MahaRERA chief said forensic audits are conducted and if any deficiencies are detected then they are flagged.

In at least two cases, complaints have been lodged with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch. Builders are also required to post quarterly performance reports on the website and because of this watch can be kept on registered projects in real time. Mehta said the authority is the first one in the country to rope in retirement homes under the purview of RERA.

'Most of the buyers are old persons'

Most of the buyers are old persons who use their precious savings to buy retirement homes and it is necessary that their interests are protected. Mehta said these days apartment buyers are not merely concerned about the area of the flat mentioned in the sale agreements and the actual area given to them. They are now looking for amenities like parks, etc, when they opt to buy a flat. Asked about the exam that real estate agents are now required to pass if they are to be registered with MahaRERA, Mehta said there was a positive response from brokers to this initiative. He said the registration of brokers ensured that flat buyers deal with genuine agents who are accountable to them.

When it was pointed out that while brokers are required to pass an examination, there was no such requirement for builders and anybody could enter the real estate industry. Mehta replied that entrepreneurship cannot be regulated. But ultimately people will buy apartments only from genuine people with a track record of quality construction and timely delivery of flats, he added.

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