Despite favourable verdict by RERA, the buyers say they have not got any relief in this matter.

Home buyers say theyve been left in the lurch after builder delays apartment
news Controversy Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 19:26

For around thousand families in Bengaluru, the dream of owning their own house has created a double disadvantage in times of the pandemic induced economic slowdown. Denied their promised home, they also have to shell out house rent in addition to the monthly home loan instalment.

Years ago, they had invested money in Skylark Ithaca Apartment in Whitefield, a flagship project of real estate company Skylark Mansions, which promised to deliver the apartments by March 2017 with an additional grace period of 6 months. 

A majority of the buyers have paid up to 90% of the costs (around 50 lakhs) to the builder, but they are yet to get their homes from the builder though it is more than three years past the delivery date. 

The home buyers say that even the much-hyped Real Estate Regulatory Authority Karnataka (RERA-K) has also failed to provide any real relief to them though they have filed as many as 334 complaints filed with the authority. The RERA judgement directed Skylark to pay compensation in the form of interest @ 10.75% on the amount paid by the buyer towards the purchase of the flat till the notice of possession is issued from April 2018. Another Rs 5,000 should be paid by Skylark to the buyers as damages, RERA said.

“Since the RERA rulings were not enforced the homebuyers decided to form an association and approach the police and a complaint was filed at Avalahalli police station by close to 100 home buyers,” one of the buyers and a member of the apartment buyers association said.

Krishnan , a buyer, told TNM, ‘After we got a favourable verdict from RERA, the company started approaching various courts to get a stay against the orders. But there has been no relief for buyers like us who are forced to pay our EMIs and home rent at the same time in a crisis like this.”

Victims allege while the real estate company is at fault, even their financier ICICI bank is to be blamed for the crisis.

“The project consisted of five buildings with a club house under 2 phases. Phase 1 is only 50 percent complete and even the foundation is not in sight in phase 2. This begs a question as to how did ICICI release funds without doing necessary checks on the ground? The construction status is not at par with the funds that were released,”another homebuyer added. 

The company however disagrees with this and instead blamed the litigation for the delay. “We have completed close to 90% construction of the first phase and the second phase we have done about 20-22%. Most of the litigants who have gone to court are of Phase 1 allottees. Had they had not gone to court or RERA by now they would have got their flats ready. But now with the litigation and all we are not able to start construction activity,” Prashantha Kumar, counsel for Skylark, said.

He claimed that the construction had stopped due to an array of reasons including fault of the subcontractors and disruption in the construction sector with the introduction of GST, RERA, demonetisation and now the pandemic. “All these reasons have created a complicated situation but unfortunately we have now been hit with the litigations that have not allowed us to start construction,” he added.

He also denied allegations that money from these projects was diverted to other projects.

In a dispute at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal between ICICI Bank and Skylark, the tribunal on August 10 has ordered scrutiny over the project and ensured that the company is not dissolved.

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