Mumbai construction skyline
Mumbai construction skyline

The Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal has provided relief to an aggrieved home buyer, after the developer of a housing project he had invested in failed to hand over possession of the property he had purchased within the promised time.

In its order, dated June 22, the tribunal said the developer had originally committed to deliver possession by 2018, as declared on the MahaRERA portal, and later unilaterally revised the same to 2022. Therefore, there is a clear delay in delivering possession, the tribunal held. This delay entitles the allottee to seek refund of his amount with interest under Sections 8 and 18 of MOFA and RERA, respectively, it ruled.

Moreover, the developer is directed to refund the amount paid by the allottee with interest at two per cent above State Bank of India's highest marginal cost of lending rate from the date of payment of the said amount till realisation of the amount, the tribunal’s order stated.

Advocate Tanuj Lodha from Lodha and Lodha Advocates, appearing for the homebuyer, said, "The order has upheld the right of the allottee to exit from the project after the developer failed to give the possession of the apartment on the promised date."

The matter relates to a home buyer who invested in a 858 sq ft flat in a project 'Gateway Towers at Aveza' at Mulund of Tata Housing Development Company Limited. The home buyer paid Rs 59.73 lakh, inclusive of service tax and MVAT, between July and October 2015 against the total consideration of Rs 2.51or Rs 2.25 crore.

However, on visiting the project site in July 2017, the allottee (homebuyer) was allegedly informed that possession would be given in 2020. Around March-April 2018, while the developer pursued the homebuyer for the payment of necessary charges towards stamp duty and registration fees for execution and registration of agreement for sale, the home buyer came to know from the MahaRERA website that the developer had revised the date of possession to December, 2022.

Disappointed with the revision in the possession dateline, the homebuyer approached MahaRERA, which passed an order in the developer's favour. Following this, the home buyer challenged the order in the appellate tribunal.

The developer’s counsel had contended that the date of possession was to be fixed at the time of execution of agreement, as per terms of the booking form. Hence, the developer has committed no breach of contract regarding date of delivery of possession as the allottee (home buyer) failed to co-operate in execution of the agreement, the developer contended.

The home buyer’s counsel, however, argued that under Section 13 of RERA, the developer was obligated to execute the agreement by disclosing therein the date of possession before receiving more than 10 per cent amount of the total price. In this case, the developer received more than 20 per cent of the total price of the booked flat and violated provisions of MOFA as well as the RERA, the homebuyer’s counsel contended.

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