A property buyer, who spends his hard-earned money in purchasing a home and does not receive its possession of the property on time. Moreover, not only fails to take a roof over his/her head but also ends up losing funds, in the form of EMIs on the home loan and paying for rented accommodation. Moreover, the buyer may also have to pursue a long and tedious legal battle to get the justice.
Legal advice for property buyers
- In case, if possession of the property is not delivered on time, a buyer can send a legal notice to the property builder, claiming the refund of the expenses paid along with interest and damages.
- The home buyer can file a consumer complaint about deficiency in service as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the real estate builder.
- The flat buyer is required to file a written complaint before the appropriate consumer dispute redressal forum set up under the act which is depending on the value of the property, or the cost of damage he has suffered.
- Moreover, any dispute over Rs 20 lakhs can be immediately filed before the State Commission, and any property dispute over Rs 1 crore can be filed before the National Commission in New Delhi. Furthermore, any dispute for a value lower than Rs 20 lakhs has to be filed in the District Commission.
- Recently, Unitech was punished Rs 3 crore by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC), for a delay in giving possession of its flats. In another case, in Greater Noida, more than 300 flat buyers staged a protest against a builder, for a delay in giving possession of the property. A few months ago, a developer in Mumbai was asked to compensate buyers for a delay in possession of the property.
- Property lawyers point out that a property buyer can also file a regular lawsuit before a court of requisite jurisdiction, for specific performance or damages, under the Indian Contract Act, 1872. If there is fraud involved–for instance, if the real estate builder knew from the commencement that he would not be ready to give possession within the specified time and by some misunderstanding, induced the buyer to book the flat – criminal and civil proceedings can be begun.
Type of damage and relief the complainant can get through the legal action
The purchaser/ complainant can get the following reliefs:
- Claim the money required to purchase alternate accommodation at the ongoing market value in the particular area. The buyer can also claim the funds given to the real estate builder.
- Claim interest on the payment made till date.
- If the purchaser/ complainant is purchasing the property for personal use, he can file a complaint asking relief in the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
- If the buyer/ complainant is sure to get possession of the property in a few months or years, he can claim reimbursement for the money that he will spend as rent on an alternative accommodation. It will be applicable if he is a first-time property buyer, or if his building is being renovated.
- The buyer can claim damages for loss of opportunity caused to the buyer, had he invested his funds elsewhere.
Before signing any agreement, buyers should read all the terms and conditions, including the disclaimers and check the real estate builder’s financial credibility.