Mumbai: RERA directs developer to repay Rs 2 crore to buyer over delay in flat possession

Mumbai: In what seems to be a ray of hope for homebuyers affected by delay in flat possesions, the recent judgement made by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority directs a city developer to repay more than Rs 2 crore to a homebuyer, who complained of delay in possession. Surprisingly, hours after the judgement, the authority stayed its own order for 30 days. Considering a recurrence of such complaints, the authority had given out a message loud and clear to developers and homebuyers disputing over flat possession.

A well-known city developer, Runwal homes, has been asked to pay over Rs 2 crore to the complainant, which involves consideration amount, stamp duty charges, registration amount, interest paid by the buyer on home loan from August 2016 to July 2017 and interest at SB’’s highest marginal cost of lending rate plus 2 per cent from April 2017.

Speaking to the Free Press Journal, Subodh Runwal, director of Runwal group, said, “The RERA Act is retrospective in nature. We will be appealing this matter in the Bombay High Court and RERA has put a stay on its order for 30 days. It’s not that the project is lagging anywhere. There are 1,000 families happily staying there and even the second phase of the project is ready.”

This is the biggest amount paid by a developer to the buyer in a RERA judgment. The complainant had invested 90 per cent for the flat in 2014 and the developer was supposed to hand him the possession in August 2016. After failing to get the possession, the complainant wanted to discontinue in the project and approached the RERA to get back their entire amount with loan interest paid by them and compensation.

The complainant, Avinash, had booked a flat in Runwal Greens Project and claimed to have paid 97 percent of the flat cost till date. Safar alleged that the developer had agreed to hand over the possession of the flat by August 2016 according to the sale agreement, however, he failed to do so till date. He added that the developer kept pushing the dates which was never agreed upon.

Interestingly, Safar and the developer had undergone an agreement of subvention scheme wherein the developer agrees to pay interest on the buyer’s home loan till the buyer receives possession or as per terms mentioned in their agreement. The complainant alleged that the developer not only failed to give possession by August but also did not pay the interest amount to the bank thereafter.

The developer’s legal advocate in his defence agreed that his project is in its advanced stage and argued that RERA has no jurisdiction in this matter since the sale agreement was sign in 2014 and RERA act rolled out in May this year. The authority quashed his argument stating that if the cause of action for claiming possession after the lapse of the agreed date of possession survives after the roll out of RERA, then MahaRERA gets jurisdiction over all the disputes pertaining to eligible real estate projects requiring registration.

The authority considered that the developer paid the interest till agreed possession dates and the buyer was liable to pay thereafter. However, the authority observed that developer was also supposed to give possession on the agreed date which did not happen because of which the complainant cannot be made to pay interest because of the default of developer because of which complainant is entitled to get compensation at the rate of 9 percent on the money paid by them. The developer is directed to pay Rs 1.94 crore with interest rate of SBI along with 2 percent extra, compensation at the rate of 9 percent and Rs 20, 000 towards the cost of the complaint.

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