Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal sets aside MahaRERA order,
asks builder to refund homebuyer’s money

The Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal has set aside the order passed by the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) in July 2018, providing major relief to an aggrieved homebuyer who invested in a project of Lodha Buildcon Private Limited. In its judgment, the tribunal stated that the flat in dispute was sold by the builder during the pendency of this appeal. Therefore, he shall repay the amount within two months from the date of this order.

According to the tribunal's passed judgment, dated September 7, by a coram of Sumant M Kolhe member (J) and SS Sandhu member (A), RERA is a social and beneficial legislation. It is primarily enacted to protect the interest of the allotted (homebuyer). One-sided agreements between the promoter (builder) and allottees as per the terms of the application form are not binding is the settled position of law. In order to meet the ends of justice and to achieve the objectives of RERA and protect the interests of the allottees, we are of the opinion that the impugned order directing the parties to execute the agreement instead of deciding on the demand of the return of the amount with interest is not legal, proper and just.

The complainant had selected a flat measuring 898 square feet in Casa Royale Grande launched by Lodha Buildcon Private Limited. The homebuyer had paid approximately Rs 29.78 lakh as advance and the price of the flat was about Rs 1.34 crore. The homebuyer

had booked the flat on the condition that the payment will be made only after the sale of the Panvel flat.

The homebuyer alleged that the builder had failed to execute and registered the agreement for sale though 20 per cent price of the flat was paid. The builder started demanding interest on the balance price of the flat and later offered a 2 BHK flat to the homebuyer at the same price by reducing the area. He further accused that the builder assured that he had received the occupancy certificate, but never produced the copy. Failing to discharge its duty as per terms and conditions of the application form, the builder unilaterally terminated the booking. However, it illegally deducted 10 per cent from the advance payment. Following which, the complaint was filed. The builder contended that the homebuyer failed to pay the price of the flat as per the agreed terms and conditions. Further, it demanded the balance price from time to time, but the homebuyer did not pay the same. Finally, the booking of the flat was terminated.

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