Mumbai: MahaRERA directs Nirmal Lifestyle to pay interest to homebuyer for delay in possession of flat

In a major relief, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) dismissed Nirmal Lifestyle’s argument over delay in handing over the possession of a flat to a homebuyer named Amit Gaitonde in project Zircon Phase IV at Mulund. It has directed the said builder to pay an interest of 10 per cent per annum on the received amount of Rs 96.92 lakh approximately from July 1, 2014 till the delivery of the flat and inform the complainant about obtaining the Occupancy Certificate (OC). In addition to this, MahaRERA's adjudicating officer Madhav Kulkarni, who issued this order, has directed the builder to pay more Rs 20,000 as the cost of the complaint and make all the payments within 30 days from the issuance of this order dated March 9, 2021.

MahaRERA, in its order, cited that one of the reasons given by the builder for delay in the possession of the flat and completion of project was obtaining additional FSI. However, this cannot be said to prejudice the rights of homebuyer who has paid his hard earned money, MahaRERA stated. "The builder was required to consider all the factors while giving a date for possession and accepting a considerable amount. Therefore, he is liable to pay interest to the complainant on the received amount," the order reads.

The case is about the homebuyer, named Gaitonde, who purchased a flat in the said project in 2011, but was not given possession till date. Besides, he also alleged that the builder had agreed to provide 1296 square feet carpet area, but actual area offered is less by 100 square feet. Therefore, he will suffer a loss of Rs 20 lakhs at the rate of Rs 20,000/- per square feet. The disputed area lost is a flower bed area. Therefore, he approached MahaRERA and sought relief on both the issues.

The builder contended that the Development Control Regulation (DCR) for Greater Mumbai was amended from January 6, 2012, and the concept of fungible FSI was introduced. This resulted in delay in completing the projects. He also denied a loss of Rs 20 lakh for the flower beds and stated that it was not part of the carpet area.

After hearing both, MahaRERA asked the builder to pay interest. It also clarified that the demand of compensation for the loss of area by the homebuyer will arise only after taking possession of the flat and not at this stage.

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