Meghna Mittal and Aparajita Gupta
With the much-awaited Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) coming into effect from Monday, some buyers are hopeful it will end their woes but many are unaware about the benefits arising from the new regulatory regime.
Under the central law, each state has to notify rules and set up a regulatory authority to manage the real estate sector. Uttar Pradesh notified the rules last November, but is yet to set up a regulator. The law provides for strict penalties against promoters and builders for not fulfilling promises.
KK Kaushal, a flat buyer of Amrapali Dream Valley project in Noida Extension, is not sure what the fallout of the new law would be. "RERA will take its own time. I don't think we can expect RERA to come up with solutions very soon. We have hope from the new Uttar Pradesh government, though," Kaushal said.
He had booked his flat in 2010 and was told that possession would be available by 2015. "It has been seven years and the project is not yet ready. Work came to a halt at the project site. It's been almost two months, no work is going on at the site," Kaushal told IANS.
Like Kaushal there are many such buyers who booked flats in that project and 600 of them have started a campaign against the developers. Some went and met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi in Lucknow, while many recently joined a candlelight march as a protest.
Amit Kumar, who booked his flat during the same time in Jaypee Greens in Noida, is still waiting for his flat, promised to him for 2013. But he's hopeful that RERA might bring about a change.
"At least now, real estate developers won't be able to take buyers for a ride. Buyers don't have any rights in the country. There should be a panel comprising buyers, developers and bankers (who provide loans) to monitor the project," he told IANS on phone from Oman.
Dushyant Naagar, a farmer leader, has been fighting since 2012 to rein in developers. "Lot of farmers are home buyers. Real estate developers collect money from buyers, even when the land is not cleared by the authorities. Almost 90 per cent of builders have not deposited money with the Noida Authority after taking money from the buyers," Naagar told IANS.
He was promised possession of an Amrapali flat in Noida Extension in 2014. He says brokers should also face the same penalty as builders under RERA. He feels the new law will build pressure on builders who will now have to pay penalty for any delay. "This will be binding. Till now, once the buyer gave money, he was at the mercy of the builder. It is a new hope now," he added.
Ramkumar Choudhary, who has a small business in Noida, booked a flat in 2009 in Supertech, Noida extension. He was to get possession by 2013-14. He said the builder is ready to return the money, but without interest.
"They have refused to give the flat. There is a committee of Greater Noida aggrieved buyers. We have done dharna (sit-in protest) outside Supertech office at Noida Sector 58. Some people have filed court case, which is still on," Choudhary said.
RERA allows buyers to cancel their option for a project and receive full refund along with interest. It also allows a buyer to receive interest for any delay, if he or she does not want to cancel. But Choudhary is not sure if he can repose hope in RERA.
(Meghna Mittal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Aparajita Gupta at email@example.com)