While chairing a meeting of the Central Advisory Council (CAC), Union Housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said states that were diluting the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or RERA rules would be answerable to the Supreme Court. “There will be no dilution of the law. Those who have diluted will have to justify themselves as to why they have done it. We will not bring the whole template down,” he said.
The CAC also decided to set up a committee to look into stalled projects and homebuyers getting their houses. Non-compliance of orders by regulatory authorities or adjudicating officers regarding refund, penalty, compensation, etc., will be looked into, the Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs said in a statement. Puri had also said that builders have to take the responsibility for the structural safety of projects. Flaws or not being able to check should at the very least mean full recovery from the builder, he added.
This would be music to the ears of suffering homebuyers whose houses have serious structural flaws. One such buyer is Girdhari Mohanty, who took voluntary retirement in 2014. He and his wife Gitanjali Mohanty, both in their early-60s, decided to settle in their 4-BHK house in NBCC Green View apartment in Gurugram, Haryana.
“The houses were competitively priced and we thought that being a government body, the quality of construction by NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation) would be better. It was a mistake,” says Girdhari.
In what is yet another example of mis-selling in real estate, the couple realised that the buildings in their apartment block were of a quality much lower than promised and had serious flaws. “Within just a few years, big cracks appeared in the buildings’ pillars and beams and it was found that chloride had affected all the material used for construction.” Based on two inspections by IIT-Delhi, the buildings were declared “unsafe” under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Read more about this and other dangers of mis-selling in retirement planning, here: Mind The Mis-Selling Traps On The Path To Retirement
“I put in my savings and retirement benefits and paid about Rs1 crore,” says Girdhari. But all the effort and expenses came to naught as the couple, along with the other families, had to vacate their houses by March 1, 2022. The couple now lives in rented accommodation in Faridabad. “We are being given about Rs26,000 to pay for rent but I am paying Rs30,000 as I needed a big enough house to accommodate my things. As of now, we have been promised rent compensation for six months, but what after that? I am paying a home loan EMI, I have a house but we still live on rent. There is so much uncertainty.”
The temporary rental support is as per the Rera rules. The promoter is required to rectify at his or her cost and consequence, structural or any other defect in workmanship, quality or provision of services or any other obligations of the promoter as per the agreement if the flaws are brought to notice in writing within five years from the date of handing over of possession (the Mohantys got the flat end-2017).
Therefore, going by what the Rera rules state for such cases and the CAC’s recent reiteration of the same, the Mohantys are hopeful that there will be “quick resolution and compensation for all that was paid along with interest.”