The H-Rera’s Gurgaon bench, headed by K K Khandelwal, widened the scope of the real estate law recently, when it ruled that mere filing of applications for completion or occupation certificates would not leave a project outside its purview.
The rules, which came into effect in July 2017, say an incomplete project won’t be categorised as ‘ongoing’ if the promoter had applied for an occupation or completion certificate before that date, drawing severe criticism from homebuyers. But Khandelwal says applicability of the Act and registration under Rera are two separate things. A project may not be required to get registered under the law but it will still come under its ambit. Excerpts from an interview:
What has Rera achieved since it came into effect?
The biggest achievement is the confidence that the new real estate law has instilled in homebuyers that developers can no longer act on their whims and fancies; their trust on the Rera that the authority will ensure timely commencement, completion and delivery of projects.
How many complaints has the authority received so far? And what is the status of cases against developers?
The Rera has received around 900 cases related to 100 projects since the law came into effect. Among those, it has received replies from developers in around 250 cases, while another 104 cases have already been decided.
How do you explain the role of Rera in cases where projects have been completed?
The Rera is not just a compensation dispensing body, it has a larger role. In cases where projects have been completed, the authority will ensure implementation of builder-buyer agreement, handing over common areas and conveyance deed to residents’ associations, possession of flats within three months of the completion and maintenance of the projects for five years thereafter.
There were misconceptions among developers regarding the Act. Have those been clarified by Rera?
Most of the builders thought non-registration with the Rera would keep them out of the authority’s purview. They were under the impression that if they obtained occupation certificates or completion certificates, they would be exempted. But the fact is they will be out of the registration process but not out of the Rera ambit. For example, if a balcony of a completed project collapses, the authority still can initiate action in the case irrespective of the fact whether the project is registered with the Rera or not.
How does a project, which is not registered, come under Rera’s purview?
Registration serves the purpose of monitoring of a project from the beginning to completion mainly in three respects — checking fund diversion, reviewing quarterly progress and completion within the deadline. Once the project is completed, the registration lapses. But other issues, including maintenance and execution of other terms of the builder-buyer agreement, will be monitored by the Rera.
Why is Rera not online yet?
We are working on two websites for the authority, the website for Gurgaon bench will be the benchmark for other benches in the country. It will make communication and process of filing cases very easy. It will be launched soon.
What are the new initiatives that the authority has taken?
We will name and shame defaulting developers. But before that, they will be sent three notices through complainants, speed post and riders. Apart from this, camps will be organised for developers for easy registration. We will also organise allottees’ conferences to spread awareness about the law. Further, we will ensure opening of escrow account and the amount kept in it cannot be diverted to other projects or businesses.
Rao Jaswant Singh, Economic Times, Delhi/NCR