For successful regulation of all elements of real estate throughout the nation the parliament came up with a consolidated law named The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 herein referred to as “Act”. The prime object of the Act is the regulation, promotion, and solution of grievances raised by the person interested in any real estate project under the jurisdiction of the Act. Section 85 of the Act provides power to central authority to make regulations, under 85(i) of the Act a separate authority is constituted for the state of Maharashtra named Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority herein referred to as “authority” in 2016.
It was established to safeguard the interests of homebuyers, promote fair practices in the real estate sector, and ensure the timely completion of real estate projects by the promoters of real estate units. The Act provides basic rights to get acknowledged about the sanctioned plan of the project, the itinerary of the whole event from the start of the project to allotment of the property with stage-wise description, availability of basic amenities, get a refund of the amount paid for prescription of the project, etc.
The authority is responsible for the registration of the real estate project along with all details and the same should be displayed on the website of MahaRERA as soon as the project’s promoter initiates construction and issues various reports on the finances, audits, and expenditures under the jurisdiction of the authority. The authority consists of a chairman, principal executive officers, secretaries, and other employees. The qualification, experience, and terms of duty and service are subject to the regulation by the authority.
What creates a dispute under MahaRERA?
Due to improper function or not keeping enough transparency in the procedure while dealing with the homebuyers, the real estate project comes into litigation. In case, a problem arises related to the project it can be resolved by online as well as offline mode from complaining to resolution. The complaint could be filed by individual or group complaints could also be filed before the real estate regulatory authority. The reason why a dispute arises is the following:
1. Non-compliance with RERA provisions: builders and developers are required to register their projects under RERA and comply with its provisions. Failure to do so can lead to a complaint to the authorities because of the interference with the rights of the buyers of any part of the real estate project or consumers.
2. Delay in providing the possession: In case there is a delay in delivering the possession to homebuyers of property beyond the agreed time. Then there arises a situation where a complaint could be filed against the promoter.
3. Construction is defective: If the quality of the property given to the home buyers is not as per the standards that were promised at the time of booking the property, in that circumstance a complaint may arise.
4. Impulsive change in project plans: Any changes seen in the meantime on the real estate unit or any aspect related to which was not matching with the original plan approved by the authority then a complaint may be filed for the resolution because the consumer has booked the property based on the previous plan.
5. Unfair trade practices: Any sort of unethical practices, misleading the advertisement, not agreeing with the original promises, showing discrimination among the consumers. A complaint could be filed against the promoter.
Filing a complaint and procedure of adjudicating authority?
A complaint form is to be filed with details and the supporting document should be attached to the form and pay the prescribed fees. Once the fees are paid, a notice is sent to the promoter or opposite party and asked to file the reply and supporting document. By way of mail, both parties will get the information about the dates of the hearing before the authority. The matter will be listed before the authority according to the seniority basis which is calculated from the date of filing or other guidelines specified by the authority itself which purports that cases should be listed as a priority have the following, where any party suffering from serious illness, any superior judicial authority has ordered to dispose of a particular case in fixed time, the party have settled the matter themselves or through mediation or conciliation. Once the case information is shown on the online portal of authority it is deemed that notice has duly served to the parties.
Now the rest procedure is standardized with regular litigation of the court of civil judicature. The procedures are about to specify:
1. Orders in the complaints: Once the order is issued by the concerned bench of the authority, the same will be published on the MahaRERA website. The said order becomes accessible to the complainant and promoter immediately, email notification is also issued to the respective parties.
2. Rectification of the Order: Once the order is passed, if any party finds any defect in the order, the aggrieved party may apply for rectification of the order. The order may then be rectified subject to the approval from the presiding bench of the authority.
3. Review of the Order: Any aggrieved party may file for review of the order passed, by following Regulation 36 of MahaRERA General Regulations, 2017 for review of decisions of the authority. The review shall be filed within a period of 45 days from the date of issue of the order by the MahaRERA. Further, the review application shall be filed in the same manner as the complaint. The authority, at its discretion, may either allow the review application or reject the same.
4. Issuance of certified copies: The parties in a complaint may apply for certified copies of the orders by making an application online by logging into the complaint portal or the project registration portal in case the respondent is a promoter.
Any party to the proceeding not having access to the complaint portal of the project registration portal may apply for certified copies by making an application in ‘Form 7’ as given under the MahaRERA General Regulations, 2017.
5. Non-Compliance of Orders: Upon receipt of the application, the hearing of the applications will be scheduled as per seniority, which will be decided as per the date of filing of the non-compliance application. The authority may at its discretion, order for issuance of a recovery warrant under the provisions of section 40(1) of RERA.
Reliefs provided in dispute under MahaRERA:
Both homebuyers and builders need to comply with the orders issued by the adjudicating authority. Non-compliance may lead to penalties and further legal consequences. Parties involved should carefully review the orders and, if needed, seek legal advice to understand their rights and obligations under the specific resolution provided by MahaRERA. The following are the relief provided to the aggrieved party:
1. Compensation: If the complaint involves delays in possession or other breaches of the agreement by the builder, the adjudicating authority may order compensation to be paid to the homebuyer. This compensation can cover financial losses or hardships suffered by the homebuyer due to the builder’s actions.
2. Rectification of Defects: If the complaint relates to construction defects or issues with the quality of the property, the adjudicating authority may order the builder to rectify the defects within a specified time frame.
3. Specific Performance: In cases where the builder has failed to deliver possession as per the agreement, the adjudicating authority may order specific performance, requiring the builder to fulfill their obligations and deliver possession of the property.
4. Refund of Amount Paid: If the project has been delayed excessively or if there are fundamental breaches, the adjudicating authority may order the builder to refund the amount paid by the homebuyer along with interest.
5. Changes in Project Plans: If the complaint involves unauthorized changes in project plans, the adjudicating authority may direct the builder to adhere to the originally approved plans and seek necessary permissions for any changes.
6. Cancellation of Registration: In extreme cases, where there are repeated violations of RERA provisions, the adjudicating authority may cancel the registration of the project, preventing further sales until compliance is ensured.
7. Any Other Appropriate Relief: The adjudicating authority has the discretion to provide any other appropriate relief based on the merits of the case and the provisions of the RERA Act.
In conclusion, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) plays a crucial role in regulating and addressing grievances within the real estate sector in the state of Maharashtra. The establishment of MahaRERA under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, aimed to protect the interests of homebuyers, promote transparency, and ensure the timely completion of real estate projects.
Disputes under MahaRERA often arise due to non-compliance with RERA provisions, delays in possession, defective construction, impulsive changes in project plans, and unfair trade practices by builders and developers. The complaint resolution process involves filing a complaint form, payment of prescribed fees, notices to the parties involved, and a standardized hearing procedure.
The relief provided by MahaRERA includes compensation for delays, rectification of defects, specific performance orders, refund of amounts paid with interest, adherence to original project plans, cancellation of project registration in extreme cases, and any other appropriate relief deemed necessary by the adjudicating authority. It is essential for both homebuyers and builders to comply with the orders issued by the adjudicating authority to avoid penalties and legal consequences. Seeking legal advice and carefully reviewing the orders is crucial to understanding the rights and obligations outlined in the resolution provided by MahaRERA. Overall, MahaRERA serves as a mechanism for fair dispute resolution, promoting accountability, transparency, and consumer protection in the real estate sector in Maharashtra.
Aditya Pratap is a lawyer and founder of Aditya Pratap Law Offices. He practices in the realm of real estate, corporate, and criminal law. His website is adityapratap.in and his media interviews can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/@AdityaPratap/featured. Views expressed are personal.
This article has been assisted by Rajat Mani Tripathi, 3rd year law student pursuing B.B.A.LL.B. from University of Mumbai.