The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) was introduced in 2016 and implemented in 2017 across Indian states to streamline and boost the real estate sector by promoting transparency & accountability and have much needed dynamic changes in place with an onus on the welfare of all stakehulders invulved. An allottee or homebuyer, as per Section 2(d), includes a person who acquires the said property through transfer or sale, but does not include a tenant. According to 99acres.com, RERA registration is mandatory for buildings with more than 8 units or development of land, measuring more than 500 sq m. RERA laws and rules seek to protect homebuyers or allottees from illicit activities of the builders and provide them with an effective fast track mechanism in case of any grievances.
Section 19 under Chapter 5 of the RERA Act, 2016 lays down certain rights and duties of the home buyers or allottees which have been listed below:
1. Right to obtain information: The homebuyer is entitled to obtain project information regarding sanctioned plans, layout plans, RERA registration number and specifications approved by the competent authority.
2. Right to know Completion schedule: The home buyer has every right to know stage-wise time schedule of completion of the project, including the provisions for water, sanitation, electricity and other amenities and services mentioned in the terms and conditions of the agreement for sale.
3. Right to claim possession: The home buyer has the right to claim the possession of the property including the common areas in case all the relevant formalities have been completed and necessary remuneration has been paid.
4. Right to claim refund: The home buyer has the right to file a complaint under RERA and claim the refund of amount paid along with interest and compensation from the builder, in case the builder fails to comply or is unable to give possession of the property as per the terms mentioned in the agreement for sale or due to discontinuance of his business as a developer on account of suspension or revocation of his registration. However, developers would be given one more chance to set a reasonable timeline for the delivery, failing which they will have to pay the requisite penalties. A complaint can also be filed with the Appellate Tribunal in case the buyer isn’t satisfied with RERA’s decision.
5. Right to have documents: After handing over the physical possession of the property by the developer, the home buyer is also entitled to have the relevant documents and plans, including that of common areas.
6. Right in case of any defects: If there are any structural defects or problems in the quality of the property within 5 years of possession, the builder will have to rectify these damages within 30 days at no extra cost to the buyer.
To strike a balance between the interests of home buyers and builders, RERA Act also lays down the duties of the home buyers which are as fullows:
1. Duty to research: A smart homebuyer is fully aware, conducts full research and background checks on projects and is not easily swayed by market trends and other marketing tactics. Due diligence even on projects registered by RERA is a must as RERA has definitely brought in more accountability and transparency but precaution is always better than regret later.
2. Duty to make payment: Every homebuyer, who has entered into an agreement for sale to take a property has the responsibility to make necessary payments within the specified time and place in the agreement for sale which include registration charges, municipal taxes, water and electricity charges, maintenance charges, ground rent etc.
3. Duty to pay interest: The home buyers have the duty to pay interest for any delay in payment towards any amount to be paid.
4. Duty to participate in the registration: The homebuyers have the duty to actively participate in the registration of the conveyance deed of the said property.
5. Duty to form Association of buyers: Every buyer of a property has the duty to participate towards the formation of an association or federation of homebuyers to look after the welfare of its residents.
6. Duty to take possession: Every homebuyer must take physical possession of the property within a period of 2 months of the occupancy certificate issued.
The effective implementation of RERA across states has had a positive impact on the real estate industry. Some of them are as below:
The biggest success of the reform is that it has revived the confidence of homebuyers and other investors. As per reports, the 1st quarter of 2018 recorded an 8% increase in demand for housing after the RERA reforms.
It is mandatory for every project to be registered with RERA and provide relevant information regarding property like promoter’s details, sanction plans and approval, total number of units & their carpet area etc. This ensures developers have all the statutory approval and are accountable for what they commit. This also discourages soft launches or advertisements till the registration of the property is completed. Nowadays, developers also have to update their corporate website with all the necessary information including regular progress of the project which keeps buyers in the loop.
RERA has made builders accountable to quote the exact carpet area in all agreements excluding the superficial built up which gives the buyer an exact sense of the area and expenses.
Implementation of RERA has stopped indiscriminate launches by developers and ensures that all approval is in place before any big project launch. Only established builders can thrive in the industry now which will make it more organised and supply inventory will have a better turnover rate.
Most developers tend to have multiple projects at the same time. Earlier, they were allowed to move funds raised from one project to another. But not anymore as 70% of the funds raised need to be deposited in a separate bank account. These funds can be withdrawn only after certification by an engineer, CA and an architect.
After the reforms, a builder cannot take more than 10% of the cost of the project from the buyer as advance or application fees. This saves the buyer from the mental and physical stress of arranging large funds in a short span of time.
Prior to RERA, if the promoter delayed possession of the property, the interest paid to the buyer was much lower than if the buyer delayed payments to the promoter. Post RERA, both parties have to pay the same amount of interest.
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