Consumer Connect: ‘Projects With Small Plots, Flats Must Be Registered,' Says Expert

Consumer Connect: ‘Projects With Small Plots, Flats Must Be Registered,' Says Expert

The questions are answered by Adv. Shirish V. Deshpande, Chairman – Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, July 01, 2024, 09:53 AM IST
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Consumer Connect | FPJ

Q. If a project has a plot area of more than 500 square metres but fewer than eight apartments, does it need to be registered with MahaRERA? What if it has more than eight apartments?

Alok Hardikar, Vile Parle (East) A.

As per Section 3 (1) of RERA, 2016, no promoter can advertise, market, book, or sell in any manner any plot, apartment or building in any real estate project without registering it with the RERA authority. However, Section 3 (2) (1) makes an exception. It reads: Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 3(1), “no registration of the real estate project shall be required where the area of land proposed to be developed does not exceed 500sqm. or the number of apartments proposed to be developed does not exceed eight inclusive of all phases”.

This provision under Section 3 (2) (a) has led to a legal debate among various state RERA authorities. FAQs by Telangana RERA have answered both your questions in the affirmative. If the number of apartments to be constructed do not exceed eight, but the plot area exceeds 500sqm, the project must be registered. If the plot area is less than 500sqm but the number of apartments exceeds eight, the project is required to be registered.

MahaRERA Appellate Tribunal (MREAT) by its majority decision in ‘Geetanjali Aman Construction v/s Hrishikesh Paranjape’ case has taken the opposite view. If the number of apartments to be constructed does not exceed eight, the project is not required to be registered. If the plot area does not exceed 500sqm the project is not required to be registered. However, judgment is not final since the same has been challenged in Bombay High Court and the verdict is awaited.

It is interesting to note that the majority view of MREAT finds support from RERAs of Goa and Odisha. However, RERAs of Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Delhi and Rajasthan do not agree with the majority stand taken by MREAT in Maharashtra. Whilst on the subject, readers should note that in Mumbai, thanks to our generous FSI policy, we have several small plots not exceeding 500sqm but many promoters have proposed not 50 or 100 apartments but even more than 200 apartments.

From reliable information available with me, in Mumbai there are projects with a plot area of just 182sqm where the promoter has proposed 57 flats. There are also projects with a plot area of 441sqm where the number of flats proposed to be constructed is 440. I am of the view that while interpreting the true meaning of Section 3(2) (a), the above reality cannot be ignored.

Can a projects having as many as 57 to 440 flats be exempted from registration just because the plot on which they are developed does not exceed 500sqm? While interpreting this provision, the courts will have to take into consideration the legislative intent. The intention appears to be that small projects with less than 500sqm area and less than eight apartments should be saved from hassles of registration.

It will take some time to get a final word from the Supreme Court on this issue. Hence it will be prudent for Parliament to step in and make its legislative intent clear by making an explanatory amendment in Section 3(2)(a) of RERA. The sooner this is done the better it will be for all stakeholders.

(Advocate Shirish V Deshpande is chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat. Queries can be sent to him on email: shirish50@yahoo.com)

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