Customers claim the builder has stopped responding, while the builder says customers need to pay up.

Construction stalled for over a year 120 home buyers in Chennai left in the lurch
news Infrastructure Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 15:55

About 120 people who bought apartments in a project built by Evocon Private Limited in Tambaram allege that the work has been delayed for more than a year. The home buyers claim that most of them have already paid 85% of the total cost of construction for their apartments.

Evocon Eden Gardens is a project started in Tambaram in partnership with Evocon Private Limited and VIP Housing. The project comprises 148 premium 2 and 3 BHK apartments (ranging from 787 sq.ft. to 1395 sq.ft.). Over 20 apartments are supposed to be given to the landowners who sold to the builders.

Prabhakar Datta, one of the buyers, invested in the project in December 2013. He bought a 3-bedroom apartment. “I have paid about Rs 51.95 lakh, including the registration amount. Many of the people have paid 85% of the total money to the builder but there has not been any construction since October 2015,” he said.

He added that the builder has just put brick walls and not even plastered it.

According to the agreement of construction, it is stated that the builder will deliver the apartment by the end of 24 months from the date of signing the agreement with a grace period of 90 days.

Moreover, the builder shall be liable to pay the purchaser an aggregate sum of Rs 3 per sq. feet per month from the end of the grace period till the date of completion, as stated in the agreement.

However, it is also added that the clause will be applicable only if the purchaser has not committed any period of delay in making payments under this agreement or under the corresponding sale agreement, or has not committed any breach of terms of the agreement as well as agreement of sale.  

The buyers claim that the work has been stopped from the end of 2015. “In October 2015, Chennai was flooded when I came here. I went to their officer to meet them. They kept saying that there is flooding and work cannot be done. They promised to give the flat by April 2017,” said Prabhakar.

Another buyer and a committee member of the association said, “Evocon had tied up with VIP housing for this project. They also had advertisement by famous actors like Prakash Raj and Sneha. If I knew that VIP housing was only doing marketing for this project, I would have never invested in this project.”

He booked the apartment in 2014. “About 60 to 70% of the flats were booked by then. The construction work was happening till October 2015. We thought that the work was stalled due to rains and it will re-start by January 2016, but it never did,” said the buyer.

They had promised that they will give the apartment by December 2016, he said. “But they kept giving us various excuses, saying that they have partnership issues. We have even informed them that we will file a case in the court. In January, the owner of the company, Dhanapal had promised us that he will finish the work in six to eight months,” he said.

He claims that the owner Dhanapal does not turn up for any meetings. “I have paid Rs 36 lakh of the total Rs 42 lakh. We have been paying loans every month for the house. Only structural work has been finished and unfortunately, now they have stopped responding to us also,” said the customer.

He added that the company keeps blaming the customers for not paying the full amount. “About 12% of the total amount is yet to be given to the builders, which is Rs 3.85 crore. Unless they start the construction, why should we pay them the remaining amount?” he asked.

The builders for their part though have blamed the Chennai floods, the political climate in TN, and demonetisation for the delay in construction.

Speaking to The News Minute, Sunil, General Manager of Evocon Private Limited and also the customer relations manager, confirmed that there has been delay in construction work since October 2015. “The reason is that the market was not doing good and whatever business we have done has gone to trash. The owner of the company is in the process of selling his property. Next week or so he will be pumping in money for the construction of the apartment, and from there on construction will start,” he said.

According to the brochure on the details of the project, the customer is supposed to pay 10% on every stage from the time of booking till the completion of plumbing, flooring and tile work, and at the time of execution of sale deed (9 stages), and in the end 5% on offer of possession.

The company claims that they have completed the work on the fourth-floor roof slab which means they have already finished 80% of the work. “Only 4 people have paid in excess, 60% of the customers have not even paid upto the level of construction completed. The brick work is completed, we want the customers to pay the remaining amount so that the work can begin,” Sunil claimed.

Highlighting the reasons for the delay in the project, Sunil said, “Chennai was flooded and we lost our business, and slowly, we started recovering but by then the elections happened. We were not given approvals and after AIADMK came back to power, we got approvals. Then the state leader fell sick and then demonetisation happened. Real estate was adversely affected by it. We told customers everything and asked them to pay us early, but none of them obliged.”

The customers say that they are in the process of forming an association, including all the buyers, and will then file a case in the Madras High Court.

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