By Legal Bureau
Occupancy Certificate is a very important document. It evidences the completion of the building as per the approved plan and compliance of local laws. local bodies like city corporations / city municipalities issue occupancy certificates. Without the occupancy certificate, it is difficult to get the water and sanitary connection. Financial institutions insists on occupancy certificate to sanction loans.
Problems with respect to issuance of occupancy certificate arise on account of violation of building laws which are increasing day by day. Though the people have spent their hard earned money on the project with a dream of owning a house, they could not occupy the house for want of occupancy certificate. They have to suffer for none of their faults. Builders having good connections escape through various loop holes in the law.
Having invested precious money in such buildings and after waiting for many years to get an occupancy certificate, the purchasers occupy the houses lest they may loose the property. They prefer to occupy the flats without power, water and sewerage connections instead of loosing the property.
In one of the cases the builder unable to obtain the occupancy certificate after a prolonged wait requested his purchasers and handed over the apartments without power, water and sewerage connections. He put the entire blame on revenue authorities and disappeared. The occupants have to find their own way.
Obtaining the approval of the plans has become just a casual affair and nobody will abide by that. It is just a document to be produced during inspection. During the boom time a builder constructed several houses and flats violating building rules and regulations. He deviated from the approved building plans and went on to construct apartments where he should not have constructed.
The civic authorities refused to give occupancy certificate despite best efforts of the builder.
In the mean time, the apartment purchasers on the assumption that things were happening to their satisfaction, performed house- warming ceremonies and took possession of the flats. When they were about to move in, the builder revealed the shocking news that even though he had constructed the apartments and houses to their liking, the authorities were not issuing occupancy certificate on one pretext or the other.
Another builder constructed small flats targeting the middle- income group. The authorities, however, refused to issue occupancy certificate because of deviation from the approved plan. In this case, the builder got the plan approved for construction of 4 dwelling units – 2 on the ground floor and 2 on the first floor. However, he did some thing different in gross violation of the approved plan. Instead of constructing 4 dwelling units, he constructed 6 dwelling units. The persons who have invested in the flats are now desperate, as they would lose their money and the fiats if the authorities decide to demolish the structure.
It is not that only the flat owners are suffering. A few builders, who have a heart for the investing public, too face problems. One such builder constructed 8 flats in accordance with the building regulations and bye-laws and approved building plan. He has completed five and 3 remains to be completed. The builder has received the full payment from five purchasers other three have backed out. This has put the builder in a difficult situation. For want of funds, three flats remain incomplete. The authorities will issue occupancy certificate only after completion of the entire construction and the financial institutions are refusing to lend in the absence of occupancy certificate or no objection certificate from the authorities. The net result is that not only the builder is losing money but also the purchasers of the flats, who have to pay interest to the financial institutions. The financiers too face difficulties in getting back loan installments.
The authorities in the scheme of things must be blamed for this state of affairs. The inspecting authorities do not carry out periodic and surprise checks at the construction site. In case of deviation they should take the builder to task in the beginning itself and not at the fag end of the construction. Majority of the builders follows rules and regulations; but a few do not. They dishonor rules and regulations by violating them.
This is a vicious circle, which only the government can break. Government must initiate immediate remedial action to stem the rot. The authorities shall not be very rigid in granting completion certificates. If the builder has deviated a little more than the allowed percentage, the authorities may impose the penalty and regularise the building.
The investors too must share the blame. They do not check the antecedents of the builder and his track record ‘Before taking possession they do not check whether the building is according to the sanctioned plan and the fixtures are according to the agreement. Many do not demand occupancy certificate, parent documents, tide deeds, deposit receipts, from the builder.
The purchaser who has not collected all the required documents, has to face various types of problems at a later stage.