NEW DELHI: In a significant order, a trial court has said that buyers can claim damages from builders if the latter fails to hand over the property on time.
Buyers can also seek compensation or sue the builders if what they get is different from what they were promised—if sub-standard material was used as against "high-quality" material.
"A builder who delays the handing over of the building to the buyer after completing the same within time or fails to carry out the construction according to the agreed specifications, entitles the buyer/ purchaser/ occupants to claim damages for any financial loss or physical inconvenience suffered by them on account of the same for which the builder can be made liable," additional district judge Kamini Lau said.
This order is likely to give fillip to buyers as there have been increasing incidences of delayed possession.
The court made these observations while deciding a 35-year-old civil suit filed by Dalmiya Cement (plaintiff) against Hansalya properties and three of its partners (all defendants).
Dalmiya Cement had claimed damages of over Rs 9 lakh on several grounds, such as delay of four years in possession of property. The plaintiff also sought compensation on account of the builder's failure to equip the building with adequate electricity supply, including a stand-by generator, and their inability to provide at least four lifts.
Dalmiya Cement alleged that the defendants were supposed to start the construction of Hansalya building at Barakhamba road in 1971 and were to give possession of the 11th and 12th floor to it in 1973. However, the plaintiff got the property only in 1977, the suit said. The judge, however, said that the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence to substantiate its allegations.
"The plaintiff has...failed to bring on record any cogent evidence to establish the claims. They have also failed to bring on record any material to prove that the delay was unjustified and unavoidable. This was...necessary because according to the defendant, the delay, if any, was due to non-availability of the required quantity of cement...," the judge said.
However, the court directed Hansalya properties to pay the plaintiff the transfer fees of Rs 12,000, the amount the former had charged when the latter bought its property, saying there was no law under which transfer fees can be charged.