Buying a house in India comes with endless documentation, and sometimes homebuyers tend to take the opportunity of taking possession when less paperwork is involved. Avoiding paperwork or negligence can cost you a lot of money and time. Regardless of the brand’s reputation, some developers are forcing their homebuyers to take possession of the property even without Occupancy Certificate.
- Importance of an Occupancy certificate:
An Occupancy Certificate is a document provided by government authorities stating that it is fit for habitation. Moving into a building without an Occupancy Certificate is an illegal act and may result in eviction, electricity and other services being shut down. Living in a house that does not have an Occupancy Certificate can also be dangerous for life and wellbeing.
- A buyer’s dilemma! And the solutions…
When a developer forces the buyers to take possession of the property without the Occupancy Certificate, what can a buyer do in such circumstances? Which authority should they contact if the developer forces them to buy the property? Let’s make you aware:
- RERA is here to help
RERA is founded to reduce the disparities in the real estate sector. Every state has its RERA authority and laws, but the basic rules remain the same.
If the property developer asks you to take possession of the property while the application of Occupancy Certificate is still in progress, then the buyer can contact RERA and ask for their help. All buildings and projects that have not yet received an OC are considered to be under construction. Such a plea gets admitted if the RERA is fully operational.
If the RERA in your state is yet to lay down the laws or go fully operational, then the other authorities for your help are:
- Consumer Court
The laws of the state empower the consumer forums authority to settle such issues and find a resolution. The state commissions work on three levels; therefore, the buyer must first contact the district court and if he is not satisfied, then the state level forum and then the national forum. It must be remembered that the value of the property also determines whether one can approach the apex court directly or not.
- File an FIR
According to Section 405 of the Indian Penal Court (IPC), which deals with the ‘criminal breach of trust’, a homebuyer can file an FIR against the developer. A warrant can be issued against the developer and brought to justice. If the police refuse to lodge the complaint against the developer, the homebuyer may request relief from the court in accordance with Section 156(3) of IPC, which authorizes the court to direct the police to file the FIR.