Taking Possession of Your Flat from the Builder – Points to note and Checklist to follow:

By Aditya Pratap, Real Estate Lawyer in Mumbai. Questions can be emailed to him at aditya@adityapratap.com

Possession marks the final step in the flat-buying process. This is the point where the homebuyer’s dreams get fulfilled as he steps into his dream home. While taking possession, the homebuyer must ensure that the flat is built to specifications and has the fixtures and fittings promised in the sale brochure.

Checklist to Follow while taking Possession of Flat:

While taking possession of his flat, the customer should ensure that the following requirements are fulfilled:

  1. The Building has received Completion Certificate (CC) and Occupancy Certificate (OC) from the local authority or municipal corporation;
  2. The Building complies with fire safety regulations
  3. The flat has been provided with all necessary fixtures and fittings;
  4. The work on the building amenities (elevators, security systems etc.) is complete;
  5. The flat has running water and electricity supply (utilities);
  6. The building and flats have a proper drainage connection in place;
  7. The builder has completed the apartment in accordance with his promises in the sale brochure (Please ensure that his commitments in the sale brochure correspond are also uploaded on the RERA website);
  8. The clubhouse and recreation garden areas are completed, ready and functioning;
  9. Your car parking spaces have been duly demarcated and allocated to you;

Builder’s Responsibility to Obtain Occupation Certificate (OC):

Under Section 11 of the RERA Act, it is the Builder’s responsibility to apply for and obtain the Occupation Certificate. He must ensure that the building complies with local laws and building regulations. Officers of the local authority (Municipal Corporation) will conduct several rounds of inspections to verify the building’s compliance with the law.

Completion Certificate and Occupancy Certificate – What comes First?

Before the Occupancy Certificate is obtained, the Builder must apply for Completion Certificate (CC). The Completion Certificate is a critical document which signifies that the building structure is completed as per approved plans and specifications. Having a valid Completion Certificate is a must for any builder who wants to apply for Occupancy Certificate.

Conveyance of Land to Society – Within Three Months of Receiving OC:

Within three months of receiving the Occupancy Certificate, the Builder must transfer ownership of the land and common areas of the building to the society (or RWA) of homebuyers. This is done by executing a registered “Deed of Conveyance”. The registration of the Conveyance Deed is done with the office of the Sub-Registrar of Assurances under the Registration Act, 1908.

After obtaining the Occupancy Certificate, the Builder must hand over all documents, plans, and approvals to the society of homebuyers (Association of Allottees). The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the housing society is fully aware of the legalities of the building. Should any legal issue crop up between the housing society and municipal authorities in the future, the plans and documents will come in handy while resolving it.

Defects in Workmanship – Five Year ‘Warranty’ on Buildings:

The responsibilities of a Developer towards homebuyers (Allottees) do not dissolve once the Occupancy Certificate is obtained and possession of flats given. Section 14 of the RERA Act stipulates a five-year period within which the Builder must rectify any defects in workmanship free of cost to the homebuyers.

For example, if the building develops a leak, then the affected flat-owner can complain to the builder. Upon receiving the complaint, the builder has thirty (30) days time to rectify the problem, free of cost and do the necessary repairs.

Thus, even with RERA in place, the homebuyer must conduct a thorough check of the project before taking possession of his apartment. He must ensure that the builder has delivered everything he committed. Only once all the amenities, fixtures and fittings are in place should the homebuyer pay the final installment and take possession of the flat from the builder.

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Advocate Aditya Pratap
About Advocate Aditya Pratap 65 Articles
Aditya Pratap is a lawyer practising in Mumbai. He argues cases in the Bombay High Court, Sessions and Magistrate Courts, along with appearances before RERA, NCLT and the Family Court. For further information one may visit his website adityapratap.in or view his YouTube Channel to see his interviews. Questions can be emailed to him at aditya@adityapratap.com.