Buyers of more than 50,000 apartments in Maharashtra will now have to wait even longer for their homes with errant builders having managed to get away with delayed timelines. The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) is allowing even those builders who have missed their original deadline to revise completion schedules. Gautam Chatterjee, chief, Maharashtra, RERA, claims he is constrained by the law and cannot take any action for delays before May 1, 2017. “That is not my domain,” Chatterjee had said in an interview to FE in August. At a public forum on September 6, he conceded that the majority of complaints coming in related to extensions for projects already delayed. However, he declined to comment on any course of action, saying they were a matter for adjudication.
“Effective from May 1, developers will have to pay an interest for project delays,” Chatterjee said. Legal experts opine it is not possible to charge developers for earlier delays. “RERA can only rule on the revised date of completion and not the original agreement between the developer and home buyer,” Sudip Mullick, partner at Khaitan & Co, clarified.
The new deadline for Shreeram Urban Infrastructure’s ambitious luxury project Palaise Royal is now 2021; that’s 13 years after the launch in 2008, when ideally owners should have moved in by 2012 or 2013.
Buyers of apartments in Indiabulls’ Blu project, who had bought them in 2011, will need to wait till 2020 even though the builder had committed to completing it in 2018.
Peninsula Land says it will finish Celestia Spaces only in 2020 or a good six years after the launch while HDIL has committed to completing Premier Exotica only in 2020, 10 years after home buyers had bought the flats. The due date for Ekta Parksville, industry experts point out, has been changed to 2019, five years later than the promised date of 2014. Again, home owners in Kul Court, a project by Kumar Builders, must wait till 2018 to move in though they were expecting to get possession in 2015.
Sandeep Runwal of Runwal Developers pointed out that builders are playing it safe so that they are not liable to pay a penalty even if the project is delayed for reasons beyond their control.
RERA mandates that companies announce a “proposed date of completion” and a revised one. If they fail to deliver the project as per the revised timeline, they are classified defaulter and must pay home buyers interest of 10-12% on the amount they have paid. However, as real estate experts say, this doesn’t help home buyers since they are looking to get possession of the property.
The more credible names such as Oberoi Realty and Godrej Properties have extended deadlines by about six to eight months.
Khaitan & Co’s Mullick said consumers can complain to the courts about delays before the revised project deadline but this was clearly not under RERA’s jurisdiction.