MUMBAI: Flat buyers often find themselves at the mercy of property developers. Unscrupulous builders are known to suddenly turn around and demand additional money from purchasers when the time comes to hand over possession of the flat.
In a recent case in Mumbai, a developer refused to hand over 800 flats unless the people who booked them shell out additional amounts of Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh each. The builder claimed his cost of construction had shot up and wanted the buyers to pay for it. The aggrieved buyers held a dharna outside the builder’s office and have now approached the court.
But at what cost? Middle-class people who have invested their life savings to book a flat have neither the financial resources nor the muscle to take on such rogue developers. Such cases could take years before they are settled.
Builders also start selling flats, sometimes to gullible buyers, even before construction plans are approved. The new Maharashtra Housing (Regulation & Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management & Transfer) Act, approved by the President recently, may offer some solace to the victims, although housing activists say it is full of loopholes.
The provisions stipulate imprisonment and fines against builders who cheat flat-buyers. But the Act will leave out 10-20% Mumbai residents from its ambit as it does not apply to those buying homes built by government agencies like Cidco and Mhada. Families rehabilitated under various government schemes like slum and dilapidated properties redevelopment are also not covered.
Source: The Times of India, Mumbai