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By SRELJ Bureau

In its Order dated 18th May 2020 vide Order No 14/2020, Maha RERA have invoked Force Majeure for COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Order with reference to the advisory issued by the Central Advisory Council on 13th May 2020, have extended time line for all all statutory compliance due to “Force Majeure” under the provisions of RER Act 2016.

The Order said “Whereas, in view of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Pandemic and consequent nation-wide lockdown with effect from March, 2020, reverse migration of labourers to their native places and break in supply chain of construction material, the construction activities of real estate projects across the country have been severely impacted.”
“Whereas, an urgent meeting of Central Advisory Council (CAC) was held on 29th April, 2020, and as per its recommendations Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has issued Advisory regarding extension of registration of real estate projects and concurrently extending timelines of all statutory compliances due to ‘Force Majeure’ under the provisions of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), on 13th
May 2020”

Accordingly, in keeping with the advisory of Government of India and in exercise of the powers under section 37 read with Section 34(a), 34(f) and 34(g), a force majeure period of six months, from 15 th March to 14th September, 2020 is being invoked and the following directions are issued with immediate effect:

MahaRERA vide Order No. 13/2020 has already revised project validity by three months. The said validity is extended by a further period of 3 months suo-motu. MahaRERA shall accordingly issue project registration certificates, with revised timelines for such projects, at the earliest. The aforesaid extension will be in addition to the extension already granted or that may be granted to a project under the first proviso to Section 6 of the Act.
• For further extension beyond the aforesaid 6 months, for adversely affected projects, concerned promoters will have to apply in accordance with provisions of Section 6. MahaRERA may at its discretion waive the fee for such extension due to force majeure in accordance with rule 7 of Maharashtra Real Estate Registration Rules, 2017.
• The time limits for compliance under Section 11, which become due anytime during force majeure period, stand automatically extended for a period till the expiry of force majeure period.
• The Force Majeure period will be treated as a “moratorium period” for the purpose of calculating interest under section 12, 18 19(4) and 19(7) of the Act.
• The work of registration of sale documents has been adversely affected due to non-functioning of the offices of the Sub-Registrar. Therefore, any registration of agreement for sale, which becomes due during the force majeure period under Section 13 of the Act, can be registered in a period extending till the expiry of force majeure period.
• The dates of possession mentioned in already registered agreements for sale, shall be deemed to be extended by the Force Majeure period.
• Due to non-functioning of the concerned offices, the work of transfer of title and conveyance has been adversely affected. Therefore, any compliance under Section 17 that becomes due during the Force Majeure period is allowed to be completed in a period extending till the expiry of the force majeure period.
• In the Neel Kamal Realtors Suburban Pvt. Ltd. and anr. Vs Union of India and Others, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court division bench in para 115 of its order has observed that the object and purpose of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 is to complete the development work within the stipulated time. Keeping in view the spirit of this order and to ensure that the available liquidity in the designated RERA Accounts get utilized, on priority, for completion of the project, any refund, which under rule 19 of MahaRERA Rules becomes due during the Force Majeure period is allowed to
be executed in a period extending up to one month after the expiry of the Force Majeure period.
• Similarly, any amount, which under Section 40 of the Act becomes payable during the Force Majeure period, shall be recovered after the expiry of the Force Majeure period.