Housing project delayed: MahaRERA orders builder to refund cost with 10.75 % interest

Mumbai: Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has provided a major relief to a Mumbai-based homebuyer, Usha Iqbal Shah. She had invested in Mayfair Maru developer's project, but later approached the MahaRERA after delay in getting the possession of the flat.

The adjudicating MahaRERA officer, Madhav Kulkarni, in the order dated July 18, allowed the buyer to withdraw from the project. He also directed the builder to refund money with the interest rate of 10.75 per cent per annum, on the basis of the allotment letter the complainant produced as evident to expose the builder.

Besides, the builder was also ordered to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation for the mental agony suffered by the buyer and an additional Rs 20,000 to be paid for the expense incurred for the complaint.

Shah had purchased a flat, measuring 553 square feet carpet area, in July 2012 for Rs 61.01 lakh for which she made a down payment of Rs 31.46 lakh to the builder. This was more than 50 per cent of the total cost of the flat. Even then, the builder is reported to have not entered into an agreement, which is mandatory as per the provisions of Maharashtra ownership flats Act, 1963.

Moreover, it has been alleged, the builder unilaterally extended the project deadline. Though the date of possession was stated as December 2015, this was extended to December 2027. Kulkarni, who passed the order, was convinced with several points raised by the complainant. Shah argued on points, that if the builder now gives the possession of the flat in December 2027, then it will be 'absurd'. Moreover, it will be 15 years since the booking made by her which is late enough and strongly argued, no prudent person will ordinarily book a flat if they are to receive the possession of a flat after 15 years.

While, Mayfair builder in his contention said, no definite agreement was arrived between the parties (builder and buyer). He further claimed, the possession was to be given in December 2027 and not in 2015 as alleged by the complainant, therefore, the complaint deserves to be dismissed. Mayfair further stated, the delay in construction was caused since the district collector has withdrawn the mandatory certificate required to carry out the project which constitutes forced majeure (unavoidable).

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