What action can I take against a builder who is delaying possession?
The first course of action should always be to issue a letter in writing to the builder stating your grievance. Ensure that all assurances by the builder of giving you possession on such and such date are given to you in writing on the letterhead and under the seal of the builder. If it appears that the builder will not be giving you possession in an acceptable time period then you may approach CREDIA for mediation.
Will CREDAI resolve my dispute if I have already approached the Courts?
As an unwritten rule, CREDAI will refuse to mediate your dispute if you have already approached the courts. Therefore, it would be best to first approach CREDIA to resolve your dispute and exhaust this remedy. If the mediations are unsuccessful then you may approach the courts.
What are the functions carried out by CREDAI?
CREDIA prescribes certain norms and standards to be followed by all its members. As a majority of builders and developers are members of CREDAI, the norms prescribed by CREDAI go a long way in bringing uniformity in the practices and policies adopted by builders and developers throughout India. For example, builders and developers who are members of CREDAI are not allowed to impose exorbitant penalties for late payments made by buyers. CREDAI carries out several other functions such as mediating disputes between end buyers and builders/developers. CREDIO is also responsible for representing its members before government authorities on policy matters affecting the real estate business.
How do CREDAI mediations work?
Once you have filed your complaint online with CREDAI, you will be provided with a date when CREDAI will carry out its mediation proceedings in which your case will be taken up. At the mediation proceedings, CREDAI will take up the cases of different builders separately. If there are several other buyers who have a similar complaint as yours then those complaints will be clubbed together. You can however always speak up and make your own points if you wish to. Mediation proceedings are informal and do not have any strict rules of procedure. There will be a mediator from CREDAI and a representative from the builder or developer present there. The mediator will try and reconcile the issue between both sides till a settlement is arrived at. The settlement will be recorded in an order right there and then. This order will be signed by the mediator, the buyer and the representative of the builder. This order in effect has the sanctity and force of an order of a court and if binding on the parties like a contract.
What is CREDAI?
The Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI) is an association formed by developers and builders in India for self-regulating the business of real estate development. CREDAI has more than 8500 member developers and builders through 112 member associations with representation in all the major cities and states of the country. CREDAI has its office at #703, Ansal Bhawan, Street 16, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, Delhi 110001.
How can I best prepare my case for CREDAI mediation?
Pinpoint the clauses in the contracts that you have signed with the builder and the bank to ensure that the merits of your case are easily brought out and understood by the mediator. Read all your documents very carefully. The terms in the buyer’s’ agreement, letter of allotment, tripartite agreements with banks etc. are crucial to your case as the dispute are resolved based on the provisions of such documents. Representations made to buyers in the brochure can also be used to lend grounds to your case. Representations made to your verbally by the builder or developer can seldom be relied upon and it is your duty to ensure that all such communications are recorded in writing. Engaging an advocate will go a long way in helping you prepare your case.
Will the consumer courts order a monetary penalty apart from requiring the principle amounts to be returned?
Consumer courts usually require the builder to return the amounts deposited by the buyer with up to 18% interest on the amounts calculated annually from the date on which the amounts were deposited with the builder. The consumer courts may additionally order for legal fees and costs expended by you in the court to be paid by the builder.
Can I file a criminal complaint against an erring builder?
Yes you may file a complaint with the local police station and a complaint case in the criminal courts if the builder has defrauded or cheated you.
How can CREDAI resolve my dispute with a builder?
CREDIA regularly mediates disputes between buyers and its member builders and developers. A complaint can be lodged with CREDIA online at their online portal http://www.credai.org/. Since CREDAI has several regional chapters it would be best to file your complaint with the relevant CREDIA chapter. For example, a dispute over real estate being developed in the National Capital Territory should be referred to the CREDAI NCR chapter which can be found online at http://www.credaincr.org/. Filing the complaint online is a simple enough process and replies are prompt.
In what instances may I approach the consumer courts?
You may approach the consumer courts against a builder who is delaying possession, provided you with a sub standard construction, unilaterally increasing the rate per square feet of the built up area or reducing the built up area, or doing anything that runs contrary to the terms of the letter of allotment or the flat buyer’s agreement.
What should I do if CREDAI fails to resolve my dispute satisfactorily?
If the outcome of the mediation proceeding is not to your favor, then you may engage an advocate to file a consumer complaint. A civil case can also be filed in the district courts however the consumer forums are a better option in such cases as they see several disputes between builders and buyers and take a shorter time to conclude proceedings. The procedural requirements in a consumer court are also simplified when compared to ordinary courts.
What reliefs can the consumer courts provide me with?
The consumer courts can provide you with several possible reliefs including monetary compensation for the loss caused to you. The consumer courts can also order the builder to provide you with an equivalent property instead of compensation.
How do I approach the consumer courts?
You may approach the consumer courts by filing a consumer complaint. Before you file a consumer complaint you are required to send a notice to the builder informing him of the lapse on the builder’s part and of your intention to approach the consumer court.