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Delay in Property Possession - Introduction

To invest in your dream property, you searched for the perfect location, contacted different property dealers, laid a budget and finally, you found your dream house. Everything was perfect- until the builder delayed handing over the possession to you. You waited - they said it’ll only take 6 more months than promised, and then 4 more were added. It’s been over 2 years and you still haven’t received the possession of your dream house. 

Disappointing, isn’t it? You put your hard earned money into this project, you waited all this while and even after the unjustified delay, you’re being denied what is rightfully yours! The builder stops giving excuses and you have started to doubt his real intention.

The above situation might be hypothetical for some, but it has become a sad reality for many. In such a frustrating scenario, our laws allow you to opt for a legal remedy against the builder for the delay caused. The Courts are becoming increasingly intolerant with the builder and the delay they’re causing to their consumers

Seek the help of best property lawyers for delayed possession. Drop an email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9027217218.

What to do when your property possession is delayed?

The solution to the issue of delay in delivery of possession of a property is the path of a Court Case. Life is not a movie, you cannot plan a revenge and subsequently trap the builder to recover your money. You need to take a legal recourse to fight for what is rightfully yours.

When can you file a complaint?

As soon as you come to know that the delivery of possession has been delayed, you have the right to file a complaint at the appropriate Consumer Court. However, it is pertinent to mention that the delay in possession should be due to a fault of the builder. A delay due to natural calamity or uncontrollable circumstances cannot be the reason for complaint.

For instance, if an earthquake occurs and the building is demolished due to such occurrence, you cannot file a claim against the builder, since the act was purely beyond the control of the builder.

In case the construction is incomplete on the stipulated date of delivery or if the work hasn’t even begun yet- it will be deemed to be the builder’s fault.

File complaint against builder for delayed possession through best property lawyers at MyAdvo. Drop an email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9027217218.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE!

Every property, movable or immovable can be “owned” by someone and “possessed” by someone. Although both “Possession” and “Ownership” are terms people use interchangeably in common parlance, they have considerably distinct meanings as far as the law is concerned. For instance, when the ‘owner’ of a bike lends it to someone else, the driver becomes the ‘possessor’ but the ownership remains with the owner of the bike.

Similarly, when a person wants to purchase a property, he signs an agreement and becomes its owner even if he is yet to get the possession of that property. Such property owner has the right to Possession as much as he has the right to own the property, once he pays for it. 

Delay in property possession is more common than we think and in the recent times almost everyone who decides to invest their time and money in acquiring a new property has the fear of being deceived by the builder and losing their money. Even the more renowned and trusted builders have breached their customers’ trust by causing unreasonable delay.  

If Ais promised the possession of a flat on 1st of February, 2017 and the builder denies to give him the possession of the same on the aforesaid date, this accounts to a delayin property possession. Ais entitled to acquire possession of the same by virtue of the promise made and agreement signed for the delivery of such possession.

There are austere laws in India that protect buyers in such situations, like the Consumer Protection Act,  1986, Domestic Building Contracts Act, 1975 and several other laws ratified by state government have been enacted to benefit the buyers and protect their interest. Maharashtra is one such State, which has Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act, commonly known as MOFA.

With the upcoming “Society/Apartment” concept for residence, the number of constructions have increased multifold and the same has also lead to an increased delay in delivery of possession. The buyer is frequently convinced by the builder, generally a trusted name, that the possession delay was caused due to unavoidable reasons and they buyer in such cases are made to believe that the possession shall be given within no time. The gullible buyer, with the sole intention of gaining access to the property, trusts the builder, and waits for the possession. 

Laws have been made through statutes, precedential cases, which are on the lookout for helping such buyers. 

Consult the best and experienced property lawyers through MyAdvo! Drop an email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9811782573.

You broke your FDs, emptied your saving account and invested all your earnings - to purchase a property. On Sundays, you visited the property while it was under construction and imagined what it would look like, once completed! Date of possession was marked to be 15.10.2016. It’s 2017, and you still haven’t been given the date on which you can move in and start using the property. 

This scenario can be one of the most frustrating experiences a buyer has to go through.  Unfortunately, if truth be told, this scenario is more common than you’d think - however, the law comes in to your rescue and attempts to give the buyer the absolute right to fight for what is rightfully theirs. 

For your information, here are the options available to you in order to ensure that you fight for what is yours. 

You can seek a refund- In case there is a delay in delivery of possession, beyond the promised date, you can approach the builder and seek a refund of the money you had paid for such property.  

You can file a case for delivery of possession & seek damages- If the property you have bought if for a residential/personal use - you can approach the relevant Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission at any of the three levels i.e. the district, the state or the national commission. The forum you ought to approach depends upon the value of the property or the amount of damage you have suffered. 

You can file a case for Winding up of the Builder’s Company - 

The most common reason given by a Builder for delay in delivery of possession is quoted as “lack of funds”. The builder may refuse to refund your money and claim to have reached the verge of insolvency. In such cases, the Buyer is advised to file a Winding up petition, to ensure that you get paid when the Court orders builder’s company to wind-up. 

You can file a case before the Competition Commission of India - 

You can file a complaint before the Competition Commission against the builder for delay in delivery of possession. The Commission prevents any unfair trade practices, prohibits monopoly practices and protects the interest of buyers.

The Competition Commission can be approached when the builder is found to be beginning work on a residential project without approvals, increasing the number of floors mid-way through the project, delaying completion, forfeiting the booking amount of some buyers, etc. 

You should always notify the builder before acting -  

As a buyer, you must send a legal notice to the builder and if you receive an invalid response or get no response at all, you can file a civil or criminal case against him, depending upon your grievance. 

Consult the best and experienced property lawyers through MyAdvo! Drop an email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9811782573.

It can be confusing for a property owner to understand which court is to be approached in case of delay in possession delivery- whether to approach a Civil Court or a Consumer Court.  Very few know that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was allocated the jurisdiction of addressing all consumer grievances, and a delay in possession delivery is also a consumer grievance.

Where should you file the complaint depends majorly on the following:

  • What the Complaint is being filed for and the value of the case (the property);
  • The place where such property is located;
  • Type of property the case is being filed for.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 grants the power to District Commission to consider complaints in a particular district involving property up to the value of Rupees 20 lakh. The case is to be filed where the property is located.

The State Commission can take up cases in the particular state and is competent to decide the claim between Rs. 20 lakh to 1 Crore. A person who is aggrieved by the order passed by the District Commission may file an appeal before State Commission of that State.  

Similarly, the National Commission considers claims of more than Rupees 1 Crore. The National Commission can entertain appeal from the order of State Commission. The Supreme Court of India can be approached against the orders passed by the National Commission.

Seek the help of best property lawyers for redressal of your grievances through MyAdvo!. Drop email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9811782573.

Real Estate Developers, Builders, Contractors - they’re more often than not, a Big brand. It can be intimidating to stand against such big names let alone fight a case when their constructing half your neighbourhood’s buildings. Every time you drive around, you see their hoarding - and the thought of filing a case against them - scares you. 

Trusting your lawyer is your first instinct. The lawyer would inform you about various options of filing a case against the mighty builder.You could approach the court as an individual buyer or form a group/association  for this purpose and go fight as a team! While team efforts always get better results, in this scenario, fighting solo could be your best course of action. 

Our aim is to provide you with transparent information, and hence - we’re breaking down the positives and negatives of approaching the court - solo or as a group! 

CriteriaWhen you go soloWhen you form a group
Forum to approachIf your property is valued below 1 Crore, you’ll be approaching the District or State Commission; If your property is valued above 1 Crore, you can approach the National Commission.Since you’ll be a group of people, the value of property will definitely be above 1Crore, and hence, you shall approach the National Commission
Time takenSince you’re the only person fighting this case, it will definitely be shorter;Multiple people, multiple issues. The formation of  a group might delay the relief.
Money SpentThe fee shall only be taken care of by one person- however, if you find the right lawyer - you are good to go!Lawyer fee & cost shall be reduced substantially due to multiple people paying!
Effective RemedyFlying solo never has a negative impact on a case; in fact, when you file a case against a property builder on your own, chances of the case getting settled are much higher than when done in a group!A group means more people -  more people equals more strength.

In addition to the above, if a case has been instituted by a group or an association of 20 consumers belonging to one delayed project any additional person intending to file a case against the same builder shall have to do the same through an impleadment application, where the additional party will be required to join the already existing case.

Seek the help of best property lawyers for redressal of your grievances through MyAdvo!. Drop email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9811782573.

While delay in delivery of possession is the most common act of the Builder, there are various other reasons for which they can be sued!

In cases where the product delivered is of substandard quality, the buyer can file a consumer complaint in the relevant consumer forum for deficiency in services. The consumer forum can order the builder to remove such defects and also direct him to pay compensation to the Buyer. 

  1. Below-Standard work -When a buyer purchases a property, he trusts the builder that quality and class material will be used to construct his property. However, there have been more than a  few cases where the Builder has conned the buyer by using substandard products, poor quality material, etc. The Supreme Court of India has held in a judgment that if a Builder uses substandard material in construction of a building or makes false misleading representations about the condition of the house then that is denial of the facility or benefit of which a consumer is entitled to claim value.

    In cases where the product delivered is of substandard quality, the buyer can file a consumer complaint in the relevant consumer forum for deficiency in services. The consumer forum can order the builder to remove such defects and also direct him to pay compensation to the Buyer. 

  2. Construction without permits-When a buyer purchases a property, or signs a deal with the Builder for purchase, he does so with the implied trust that the Builder has sought all required permits by relevant authorities. In case the Builder fails to do so, and that results in a delay in delivery of possession or construction, such an act on the part of the builder amounts to deficiency in service.
  3. Construction on illegally acquired land-When the Buyer finds out that the promised property has been constructed on an illegally acquired land, the Buyer can approach the relevant court and can claim refund of the entire amount or seek an alternate accommodation while also claiming damages.
  4. Fraud in booking-The Buyer in such cases can file a complaint against the builder in the consumer forum or file a civil suit in civil court and also file a criminal complaint before the police for the fraudulent act under the Indian Penal Code.
  5. Change of land use, layout plan and structures without the approval of the Buyer-In case the the builder wishes to undertake additional construction, which is not part of the layout plan shown to the buyer, at the time of executing the sale, the Builder must obtain the consent of the Buyer. In case the Builder does not seek such consent prior to executing such addition, the Buyer can send a legal notice to the builder and if he does not respond to the same the Buyer can file a complaint against the builder.
  6. Hidden charges- In case the Builder is overburdening the Buyer by the excessive hidden charges in the purchase agreement, the buyer can file a civil suit in a civil court.
  7. Enhanced external development charges- If the builder demands enhanced development charges from the Buyer, the Buyer can file a civil suit in a civil court.
  8. Cancellation of booking/project-If the Builder cancels the booking after receiving the booking amount, the buyer can file a consumer complaint to get a refund for the amount paid.
  9. Delay in delivering possession-In case of delay in delivery of possession by the builder, the legal options that are available to the buyer are to file a consumer complaint or file a civil suit against the builder for the refund of amount paid to the builder and the interest thereon.
  10. Creation of third party interests- Where a builder creates a third party interest in the flat allotted to the buyer i.e. accepts an offer for the same property from someone else, the buyer can serve a legal notice to the builder and in case no response is given, the buyer can file a consumer complaint or can file a civil case. The buyer can also file a criminal complaint against the builder for cheating and fraud.
  11. Not providing completion certificate- In case the builder has not received the completion certificate from the concerned authority, the buyer can file an RTI application with the SPIO of the local Municipality demanding the copies of all the documents submitted for seeking approval and can file the required NOCs with the concerned authority and can obtain the completion certificate himself.

If the builder has obtained the completion certificate but he is unwilling to give it to the buyer, then he can file a consumer complaint or file a civil suit against the builder.

Seek the help of best property lawyers for redressal of your grievances through MyAdvo!. Drop email at info@myadvo.in or call at +91-9811782573.

The Real Estate Bill shall be one of the transforming steps towards the development and enhancement of Indian market of Real Estate. It will instil a sense of confidence and authenticity in consumers as well as institutional investors. It aims to keep an eye on proper construction and execution of both residential and commercial projects. The objective behind this Bill is to promote and regulate the real estate sector in an efficient, accountable and transparent manner such that the rights and the interests of consumers are preserved and also to establish a full-fledged dynamic mechanism that holds the power to make ultimate decisions and give next direction in case any dispute arises. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 10 March 2016 and by the Lok Sabha on 15 March 2016.

Under this Bill, every new project having carpet area of more than 500 square meters or more than 8 storeys, planned to be constructed or under construction has to be registered with Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). The maximum jail term for a developer who violates the order of the appellate tribunal of the RERA is three years with or without a fine.

This Bill obliges the developer to park 70% of the project funds in a dedicated bank account. This will ensure that developers are not able to invest in numerous new projects with the proceeds of the booking money for one incomplete project, thus delaying completion and handover to consumers. 

This Bill extends its effect in all union territories and states except Jammu and Kashmir. The bill aims to create a balance among the developers since they will not get the permission to start a new project until their ongoing projects reach the finish line. 

This law makes it mandatory for developers to post all information on issues such as project plan, layout, government approvals, land title status, sub contractors to the project, schedule for completion with the State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and then in effect pass this information to the consumers. 

Under this bill, the buyer can contact the builder within one year of taking possession for after-sales services for any deficiency in project. The contact can made in writing.

It establishes the State Real Estate Regulatory Authority for every state as the government body to be approached for redressal of grievances against any builder. It shall empower state level RERAs to curb the illegal construction and monopoly of a few builders and contractors and will help home buyers to regulate transactions and to get assure for timely completion and handover.

The time has come to say goodbye to the days when the handful builders or contractors exploited the Buyers! 

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