Our society in Chembur with 40 flats decided to go in for redevelopment in 2010. The development agreement (DA) was signed in 2012 wherein the developer had agreed to hand over possession of our new flats within 36 months from the date of IOD. However, for IOD itself the developer took almost four years as there was some height issue. After getting IOD in 2016, we all handed over our flats to the developer and moved into temporary rental accommodation. However, the developer did not even start the work for quite some time. After some construction work, due to the pandemic the work came to a halt in March 2020 and thereafter he did not resume work due to lack of funds. He has not paid rent to us for more than three years. Under the circumstances, can we remove this developer and get a new one? How can we recover our rent arrears if we remove him?
Mrunalini Save, Chembur
I presume that your project was registered with MahaRERA. It is evident that the developer has breached major terms of the DA like giving possession within three years and paying rent from time to time till you get your new homes. Such major breaches of the DA legally entitle the society to terminate it after serving a legal notice. Of course, while doing so, relevant provisions mentioned in the DA about termination will have to be strictly adhered to.
In the termination notice you will have to also call upon him to pay the rent arrears with interest. If the reply of the builder is not satisfactory and if there is no immediate payment of rent arrears then the society can terminate the DA by passing a resolution to that effect at a special general body meeting.
You will have to also simultaneously cancel the power of attorney given to the developer. The society will also have to inform the BMC and other authorities about such termination. A Public Notice in at least two newspapers should also be given warning the public that the society has terminated the DA and that the developer has no right to create any third party interest in your property. Most importantly, you should also inform MahaRERA authorities about such termination. However, here is a word of caution.You will have to think beyond termination. The society must take into consideration the total cost needed to complete the project.
You will have to ascertain the number of unsold flats in said project, which would bring in some funds and the amounts receivable from the flat buyers who have already booked flats. If the revenue receivable is more than the cost required for completing the project then the project is feasible and you can safely think of terminating the DA. If the cost to complete the project exceeds the revenue receivable then the members of the society and the new purchasers can come together to bridge this gap.
In such circumstances, the self-redevelopment model can offer you better feasibility. The society may invoke arbitration for this purpose if the DA provides for it.
An employee from my office received an SMS message that Rs36,000 has been debited from his account. Since he was carrying the debit card with him, there was no possibility of anyone else using it. He immediately went to his bank and lodged a complaint. Now it is more than a month but the bank is only giving evasive replies and has not restored Rs36,000 illegally debited from his account. What should he do now?
Vilas Joshi, Thane
A person having physical possession of his debit card in itself is not conclusive proof that he has not used it. If the transaction has happened because of the card holder’s negligence, such as inadvertently sharing his password, PIN, OTP, etc, the money can be fraudulently withdrawn from his account notwithstanding the fact that he is in physical possession of it. In such a case the cardholder will have to bear the loss. Once such fraudulent withdrawal is reported to the bank, then subsequent fraudulent withdrawals are protected and the bank is liable to make good such loss.
If the investigation reveals that there was no such sharing of password, OTP, etc, by the cardholder then the bank is liable to restore the said amount to your employee. If it is avoiding to look into the matter he may approach the banking ombudsman. Such complaints are expected to be resolved within three months. For guidance he can contact the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) on 26281839 between 11.30am and 4.30pm on any working day. MGP renders free guidance.
Adv. Shirish V. Deshpande, Chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat