Courts and consumer forums have often ruled in favour of the home buyer.Go through this list to figure out where your case fits in because it is easier to convince a panel if you can cite a precedence.
SUPREME COURT VERDICTS
1.Housing construction is a service under the Consumer Protection Act
In 1993,the Supreme Court ruled in favour of MK Gupta in his case against the Lucknow Development Authority for not delivering his flat on time.This landmark judgement brought housing construction under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act,1986.The Supreme Court ruled that the purpose of widening the definition (of service) is to include in it not only the day-to-day buying and selling activity undertaken by a common man,but even activities that are otherwise not commercial in nature,yet partake of a character in which some benefit is conferred on the consumer Similarly,when a statutory authority develops a land,allots a site,or constructs a house for the benefit of a common man,it is considered a service similar to that by a builder or contractor.When possession of the property is not given within the stipulated period,the delay is denial of service.Such disputes or claims are not with respect to immovable property but deficiency in rendering of service of a particular standard,quality or grade.A person who applies for allotment of a building site,or flat constructed by the development authority,or entered into an agreement with a builder or contractor is a potential user and the nature of construction is covered in the expression service of any description.
2.Interest has to be paid for delay in possession
In the Ghaziabad Development Authority vs Balbir Singh,2005 CTJ 124,the apex court observed: Normally,a case of delivery of possession,though belatedly,stands on a different footing from non-delivery of possession,because in case of the former,the allottee also enjoys the benefit of a plot/flat.In such a situation,the rate of interest should not exceed 12%.In a specific case,where it is found that the delay was culpable and there is no contributory negligence by the allottee resulting in harassment/injury,both mental and physical,the forum/commission would not be precluded from making an award in excess of 12% per annum.
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION CASES
1.Buyer is entitled to opt out of a project if there is a delay in delivery
A buyer can opt out of a housing project if there is a delay in delivery of possession by the developer,says the National Consumer Commission.It has also said that the buyer is entitled to a refund of the entire money with reasonable interest,and any deduction by the builder is unjustified.The commission passed the order on a petition of Agra resident Indira Gupta,seeking a quashing of the Uttar Pradesh State Commission direction to deduct 20% from the amount to be refunded by the Agra Development Authority.
2.Buyer can withhold payment if construction does not proceed
In the Ansal Housing vs Renu Mahendr case (revision petition no.1218 OF 2006),the commission held: If the company has not apprised the respondent about the status of the project,which in fact was associated with payments to be made by the respondent,then the respondent having withheld the payment was not at fault.The company,while making all these communications,had been insisting that the respondent release the payment,but it did not adhere to the terms of the allotment letter,letting the respondent know about the progress of the construction of the project.
3.Buyer can move a court despite what is said in the sale agreement
In the Neha Singhal vs Unitech case (first appeal no.426 of 2010) the commission held: To emphasise,the clause relating to jurisdiction of courts in the agreement between the parties cannot by itself override the statutory right of the appellant/ complainant conferred by the above-mentioned provision of the Actthat would defeat the purpose and object of the Act.This view is also in accordance with the provisions of Section 28 of the Indian Contract Act,1872 (as amended with effect from 8 January 1997). Source:ET Wealth
CREDAI,a body of real estate developers in the country with over 6,000 members,is now banking on peer pressure to resolve consumer complaints.It has got all its members to sign a code of conduct and launched a Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum,where a buyer can lodge a complaint against a CREDAI member.
Code of conduct
There should be a true disclosure of the project in the title certificate showing the rights and obligations of the developer.
2.Inspection of sanctions:
All sanctions,like approved plans,should be made available to the buyer at the time of signing the agreement.
The developer should start booking only after obtaining the plan sanction,commencement certificate and clearances from the authorities.
4.Agreement of sale:
The developer should enter into an agreement immediately after receiving earnest money or any deposit from the buyer.
Payments should be scheduled according to the progress of the work.
The developer should not enhance the price of the flats once the sale agreement is executed.
The developer should offer his units for sale based on either the carpet area or saleable/ built-up area.
Problems with the code
The code is merely recommendatory in nature.
CREDAI has no punitive powers and can only cancel the membership of a developer.
The redressal forum too has developers on the panel to decide on complaints.
Where to lodge a complaint
Complaints can be lodged on the CREDAI website,Welcome to CREDAI. Source:ET Wealth
If you have a complaint against a real estate developer,you can choose from these five options to have it resolved.
The legal route
The Sections in the IPC under which the builder can be charged: Section 407: Criminal breach of trust.Section 415: Cheating.Section 420: Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.
You can approach a consumer court under the Consumer Protection Act as housing construction has been categorised as a service under the Act and the builder is liable for deficiency in service.
The Competition Act prohibits three things: anti-competitive agreements;abuse of dominant positions;and mergers,acquisitions and amalgamations that hamper competition.You can approach the Commission if a builder commits any of these violations.
A group of buyers,whose interest in a particular project,places them in a better position to negotiate with the builder,than individuals.Even taking legal recourse as a group has its advantages.
There have been instances where local authorities have mediated between builders and buyers to help reach a settlement. Source:ET Wealth
Casa Bella group has kindly shared with us the contact details of few Casa Bella residents. You can speak with any one of them and give their name to the Security as acquaintance/known friend for attending the meeting.
Delay was expected as was always doubtful if Lodha can give the possession on said date.
If u go thru the architect certificate many other buildings of Casa Rio have their buildings ready like mine and Vishaka's - VIVA , now only plastering and interiors work pending.
So some no. of buildings have been constructed very fast and some going slow.
Hopefully ur building work will also pick up speed and get completed soon.
Good Luck !
Originally Posted by swami85
I too had the same contact details which Anshu has just shared.. You can speak to them and intimate them, if you happen to visit the site. Understand that your possession has been delayed by 6 months till Dec'12, still as of now its only you and Vishakha who could speak on these lines..Great going..Rest of us.. atleast me, still hunting with them for initiation of any physical work after excavation..