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RERA yet to resolve malpractices in real estate sector: Experts
Economic Times, March 13, 2019

PUNE: Experts have said that the RERA, which was envisaged to usher in more transparency in the real estate industry, is yet to be an effective deterrent against malpractices.

As the RERA is a small quasi-judicial and administrative body (with three members and a few adjudicating officers for the entire state), it does not have the bandwidth to look into the details of over 19,000 registrations that were granted by the body in the state, so far.

The adjudicating officers themselves have powers to look at only certain sections of the act, while the main powers are bestowed only upon the members.

Experts have advised that even though disputes can be entertained later in courts, it is better for consumers to get conduct more due diligence. This can be done by consulting a lawyer on their own or perusing the documents for minute details and verifying the facts on the ground before investing.

Real estate lawyers said false and misleading information about control of open spaces, use of floor space index and completion of services creep into bilateral agreements due to the absence of checks and balances. “It is not uncommon for developers to easily eke out completion and occupancy certificates from the municipal corporation, irrespective of the status of work. People should themselves verify if all civic works have been completed,” said a Chinchwad-based property lawyer.

These malpractices, though common, now fall under section Section 7 of the RERA Act. “Consumers who have been allotted property can demand a refund if they are impacted by false information and exit the project. There is also a provision to impose a fine on the developers,” said property lawyer Harshal Jadhav.

So far, there is little evidence of people exercising this option as most of the complaints received by the RERA relate to just inordinate delay in the projects. The consumers can approach the RERA forum or the courts when the developer defaults on key promises. But it is a time-consuming process.

“Legally, buyers of properties where builders have defaulted (on the provision of promised services) can exercise their legal rights and drag the builder to court. They can issue a notice to the builder and/or approach consumer forums. The consumers can also issue legal notices to officials from corporations, in a case where the corporations have defaulted. In fact, there are many instances wherein both builders and corporations were

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