MahaRERA: Failure of completion of a flat project will lead to money refunded plus interest to buyers

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RERABy Fiona Mehta

 

In the matter of Mr. Vikas Gupta and Neena Gupta v. M/s. Wheelabrator Alloy Castings Ltd and M/s. Runwal Real Estates Pvt. Ltd (CC006000000197002) under the MahaRERA Authority on 17th January 2022, the complainants had filed this complaint seeking directions  from MahaRERA to the respondent to refund the amount with interest and  handover possession under the provisions of section 18 of the Real Estate  (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 in  respect of the booking of a flat in the  respondent’s registered project known as “Runwal Forests Tower 5-8” in Mumbai.

During the hearing on September 2, 2021, the respondents were fined Rs. 10,000/- for failing to file their replies on MahaRERA’s record. The respondents, on the other hand, filed a review application to have the order set aside, which the MahaRERA granted after hearing the parties on October 5, 2021.

 

Facts:

The complainants had reserved the aforementioned flat in the project registered by the landowner, respondent No. 1, for which a letter of allotment dated 18th October 2015 was properly issued to the complainants upon payment of the booking price of Rs. 59,91,565/-. Respondent No. 1 specified August 2019 as the date of possession in the stated assignment letter. Following that, on August 19, 2016, an agreement for sale was signed and registered, and the date of possession was altered to February 2020. The complainants alleged that they had paid a significant portion of the compensation.

Furthermore, the proposed completion date for Tower 8 has been pushed back several times till October 31, 2021. The complainants were then informed, via an e-mail dated 8th April 2021, that the project was completed up to 40 levels. The complainants then asked to be removed from the project. Furthermore, work on the flat sold to the complainants under the agreement for sale has yet to begin. As a result, the complainants are seeking a return of the monies spent to date, plus interest, as well as amounts paid for Stamp Duty and Registration, GST, VAT, Service Tax, and other taxes.

The MahaRERA has reviewed both parties’ submissions as well as the public record. The complainants, who are allottees of this project, have approached MahaRERA with this complaint, requesting a refund as well as interest for the delayed possession under section 18 of the RERA. The complainants further claimed that section 12 of the RERA had been also violated.

The respondent promoter refuted the complainants’ claim by filing written representations on record with MahaRERA, claiming that the delay in this project was caused by the competent authorities issuing Stop Work Notices due to a lack of Naval NOC, and that this was beyond its control. In light of the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision in the case of Janta Land Developers, the respondent has also rejected the complainants’ claims by raising the question of MahaRERA’s single bench’s jurisdiction to decide this complaint on its own.

 

Judgement/Held:

Given the facts and circumstances of this matter, the MahaRERA believes there is substance to the grounds for delay provided by the respondent, and that the delay was beyond the respondent’s control. As a result, the respondent is entitled to request MahaRERA’s assistance in completing this project. However, the respondent has now committed to finish the project and hand over control of the property to the complainants by acquiring the occupancy certificate on or before June 30, 2022.

Given these facts, the present complaint is dismissed with a directive to the respondent promoter to complete the project, obtain an occupancy certificate, and hand over possession of the said flat to the complainant on or before June 30, 2022, failing which, the complainants’ money will be refunded, plus interest, at the rate of SBI’s Highest Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) plus 2%, as prescribed under the provisions of the SBI Act.

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