It has been more than five years since the Real Estate (regulation and development) Act 2016 was passed. One more year was given to various state governments to draft rules, set up appellate tribunals, appoint officers and for developing websites and other provisions. Ultimately, the Act was implemented with effect from 1st of May 2017.  Since that time, many cases have been filed and disposed by authorities at state level. For a home buyer, RERA can be helpful to use the guiding hand of RERA to resolve Complaint against the Builders. 

When can you approach the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA)?

Complaints can be filed against the Developer/ Builder as well as the Real Estate Agents, whether or not they are registered under RERA. It is stated in the RERA Act that registration of Real Estate Project is mandatory, If Land area is more than 500 sq. mtr or more than 8 units are there in the project. During registration of project the Developer reveals the name of Registered Real Estate Agent, who will sell units of their Projects. RERA Act protects the Home Buyers from the time the project starts getting advertised. “Depending on the nature of action or default, the Home buyers may be able to approach Real Estate Authority in the initial stage of Booking.  On issues like deviations from specifications advertised/ agreed upon,  aggrieved homebuyers can approach Real Estate Authority  even after accepting the possession and transfer of title.

Further, a Home buyer can file a complaint for delay in possession,  discrepancies in design, any demand for payments in excess of  permissible limits, false advertisements, non-payment in assured return cases, diversion of funds, change in project without consent, violation of any term of the builder-buyer agreement related to the property. Remember, a developer cannot demand  more than 10 % of the value of the property  before signing a builder-buyer agreement or an agreement for sale.

What is the Fees and charges for filing a Case in RERA?

RERA complaint can be filed online through the website of respective state.  The fee and charges for filing a case in RERA varies from state to state and it is advisable to check the website of the jurisdictional RERA. Typically, the fee is Rs 1,000 per complaint.

In RERA, Home Buyer can represent his case by himself against the Builder. .  If any Homebuyer decide to take help of a lawyer, in addition to the filing fee, the Home Buyer need to pay professional fee to his Lawyer. 

What is the time limit to dispose off complaint in RERA?

As per RERA Law, the prescribed time limit for disposal of complaints  is 60 (Sixty) Days, whether before the Authority or the Adjudicating Officer (AO). However many homebuyers are waiting for decision  beyond the  stipulated time frame. The act itself provides that if the complaint could not be disposed of in the said timeline, the reasons have to be recorded and additional time may be taken. In most legislations in India, such timelines are generally there in the various Act but not at all followed by judiciary. 

How is Order of RERA is implemented?

When an order is passed against a developer , they need to enforce  it within 45 days from  the issuance of the order. If a developer fail to implement the order, the Home Buyer can approach the RERA for execution of the Judgment. In case of compensation to be paid to Home Buyer, a Recovery Certificate has to be issued by the Authority. It can be recovered as arrears of land revenue and it can be taken to District Magistrate. The RERA can also take  punitive action against promoters for non-implementation of its orders. In addition, properties of promoters can also be attached to recover the amounts of homebuyers. There is also provisions for fine and imprisonment for non-compliance of RERA orders. According to Section 63 of RERA Act,  any promoter fails to comply with or contravenes any of the orders or directions of the authority, he shall be liable for penalty for every day during which such default continues, which may cumulatively extend up to 5% of the estimated cost of the real estate project, as determined by the authority.

However, there are  many instances of home buyers receiving favorable orders, but are forced to wait for months or even years for their execution.

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