Only 23 per cent of real estate projects registered with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) have been completed as on January 18, 2021. The state was the first to set up RERA in May, 2017. According to the data available with MahaRERA, in the last three and half years 28,159 projects have been registered, of which 21,422 projects (76 per cent) are yet to be completed, and 6,499 projects (23 per cent) have been completed. Besides, 27,297 agents have been registered as on date.
The rules make it mandatory for any project exceeding 500 square metres with eight or more apartments to register with RERA before launching or even advertising a housing scheme.
Similarly, registration of real estate agents or brokers has also been made mandatory with clear responsibilities and functions. The punitive provisions include de-registration of the project. If the builder defaults on the promises made at the time of the launch, the buyer can approach RERA in case of disputes with real estate developers. The penal measures were aimed at serving as a deterrent for builders and ensure timely project delivery.
Meanwhile, MahaRERA has attained to dispose 68 per cent (8,937) of the total 13,184 complaints received till date. However, advocate Sulaiman Bhimani remarked that MahaRERA is a toothless body. He said, "Majority of the officials at MahaRERA are IAS officers (civil services) who were the CEO of Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) or secretary of the housing department, amongst others. At present, only two are having judicial knowledge. Thus, incorporating officials from the judiciary can only make the regulatory authority stronger and serve the purpose."
He asserted, MahaRERA was set up to address the complaints in 60 days. However, even after a year, aggrieved complainants wait for their first hearing. "I was of the opinion that a common man who invested money in property can avail justice in an affordable and timely manner from MahaRERA, but now I believe homebuyers can go to consumer court instead of knocking the doors of MahaRERA. Consumer court and MahaRERA take equal time. At least in consumer court, the one who pronounces the judgement is from the judiciary," Bhimani said.