In a significant development for homebuyers, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has issued a ruling that extends liability to landowners in stalled projects. The decision means that landowners, often joint venture partners, are now jointly responsible for compensating homebuyers for stalled projects.
The ruling holds particular significance in cases where developers are absconding or facing insolvency. Legal experts emphasize that this decision provides a crucial avenue for homebuyers seeking compensation in such challenging scenarios.
The NCDRC’s order, dated December 15, 2023, directs the parties involved to complete the construction of flats within three months, obtain the occupancy certificate, and pay delayed interest at 6 percent annually from the possession date.
Advocate Chandrachur Bhattacharyya, who represented the homebuyers in the case, highlighted the groundbreaking nature of the ruling. He noted that while traditionally, homebuyers held only promoters accountable for project delays, this judgement firmly establishes the liability of joint development partners, including landowners.
The case in question involved Unishire Homes LLP and its joint development partners in a Bengaluru-based project, Unishire Terraza. Homebuyers who had booked apartments between 2012-15 faced delays in possession, leading to the NCDRC’s intervention.
The commission found merit in the review application filed by homebuyers, holding both developers and landowners jointly responsible for the project delay. This ruling aligns with a 2019 circular from Karnataka RERA, treating landowners with revenue share as promoters.
Dhananjaya Padmanabhachar, Founder of the Karnataka Home Buyers’ Forum, emphasized the increased options for recovering investments with this judgement. Homebuyers can now include landowners as parties in cases of developer absconding or insolvency, enhancing their chances of recovering lost funds.
This ruling underscores the importance of recognizing landowners’ accountability in completing projects, providing homebuyers with additional avenues for seeking justice and compensation. As the real estate landscape evolves, such legal precedents contribute to a more robust consumer protection framework.