Mumbai: MahaRERA sets up 60-day deadline for completing conciliation hearings

Satish NandgaonkarUpdated: Monday, November 08, 2021, 10:25 PM IST
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MaHaReRa | File photo

Following complaints of inordinate delays in across-the-table hearings between developers and home buyers, housing regulator Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) on Monday issued a fresh directive asking its Conciliation Forum, which carries out this alternative dispute mechanism, to complete the final hearing within 60 days from the first hearing of the complaint.

The directive was issued after MahaRERA chairperson Ajoy Mehta used his discretionary powers under Section 25 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA).

In January 2018, MahaRERA, under the then chairman Gautam Chatterjee, had set up the MahaRERA Conciliation and Dispute Resolution Forum to ensure speedy disposal of complaints as an amicable and effective settlement process where a home buyer and a developer representative could sit across the table, along with representatives of a developer’s bodies like CREDAI and NAREDCO and consumer rights body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

In May 2021, MahaRERA issued a circular directing the forum to schedule a hearing within seven days and conduct the first hearing within 15 days. However, due to complaints that the process is taking considerably long to either end up as settlements or failed mediations, the regulator decided to further streamline the process.

According to Monday’s circular, during the hearing process, if the forum feels that the matter is not progressing towards settlement, then complaints should be closed and referred back to MahaRERA within 60-days.

If the conciliation bench feels that the complaint is moving towards settlement but it cannot be finalised within 60 days, then in the interest of both the parties the period could be extended by 30 days after informing the MahaRERA secretary. However, the forum should try to hear and finalise the settlement within the 60-day period.

The circular also directs that the forum should refer the complaints either as ‘settled’ or ‘failed’ to MahaRERA within one week.

The forum was designed as an alternate out-of-court mechanism to resolve disputes between the developer and home buyers at an affordable cost, instead of the normal advocate-driven hearings conducted by MahaRERA.

MahaRERA has received 16,002 complaints, out of which appropriate orders for 10,548 complaints have been passed; the remaining are at various stages of hearing. The forum has received 792 complaints, and in 714 consent terms have been signed, while 78 matters are currently being heard, according to the official statistics on MahaRERA website.

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