NAVI MUMBAI: The booming real estate business and growing demand for houses and flats has also led to more complaints from home buyers. There have been several cases where buyers have not had proper agreement or sale deed and felt cheated by the realtors.
Maya Chikane is one such victim, who had purchased a flat for Rs 19 lakh in a Turbhe-based building in 2012. "We regret buying this one-room-kitchen flat here. The builder first delayed the possession and then we found out that the carpet area was much less than what was promised. The occupancy certificate (OC) of the building is also not clear, though the developer is trying to build extra floors. This is under the 12.5% project affected compensation scheme," said Chikane, who was compelled to approach the consumer grievance redress cell for this problem.
Anindita Lahiri Kovoor, activist and member of Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI), said, "From Navi Mumbai region alone, we receive close to 150 complaints from property buyers in a year. We normally try to bring the buyers and builders on one table to resolve the problems, as filing a civil or a criminal court case takes a long time to end."
In the entire Thane district, of which Navi Mumbai is a part of, there are close to 220 consumer complaints regarding housing problems annually.
She added that apart from the most common complaints such as delayed possession of flat and less than promised carpet area, often the land title itself is not clear. So, the structure itself may not be completely legal on various technical grounds.
"In the 12.5% compensation package plots, the builder and project-affected owner enter into an agreement to make a building project and then share the profits on a 50-50 or 60-40 basis. However, if the land owner suspects that the builder is not playing fair, he may approach the gram panchayat and stall the entire project, which would affect all the consumers, who had blindly invested lakhs of rupees in that project," said Kovoor.
Manohar Shroff, secretary of Navi Mumbai Chapter of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), said, at present, there were 350 ongoing building projects in the new Ulwe node, while there were 70 upcoming projects in neighbouring Dronagiri.
In Panvel region, several new buildings are mushrooming at places like Taloja, Kamothe, Sukapur and also towards Khopoli and Khalapur due to the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport and Metro Rail.
"We always try to caution property buyers to check all the documents before making an investment. However, if there are still any differences between the buyers and developers, we too try to resolve the issues face-to-face. Currently, 250 builders are registered with MCHI in Navi Mumbai and Raigad. So, they do come to the table to resolve property disputes," said Shroff.
He, too, stated that there were several complaints with regards to delay in possession. "Buyers must also try to consult with a legal expert before buying. Care has to be taken to see if there is an approved copy of the land plot and building plan, and if there is a clear title and ownership among others," he said.