The builder-buyer agreement is a very important legal document for home buyers. It is a contract which contains all the terms and conditions which have to be complied by both the buyer and the builder. While buying property, whether for personal use or as an investment, the builder-buyer agreement is important from the legal perspective as well. Buyers must read this document carefully as the terms and conditions mentioned will help to ensure that your rights are protected and you get what you have paid for. This agreement can empower you to stand up for your rights at any legal or non-legal forum.
Before the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA) came into force, primary issues related to the title of land on which the project was to be built; whether all relevant permissions and clearances had been obtained and if not, what was the time-frame within which this was to be done, the expected time before possession was to be handed over; the amenities and facilities to be provided, any additional payments or penalties which may be payable in certain situations, all these needed to be specifically mentioned in the agreement. Also, for under-construction projects, details of the unit ie flat/apartment number/floor, wing area, and cost of the same – along with a time frame – was also a part of the agreement.
In post-RERA, all terms and conditions are clearly mentioned in the agreement. All projects registered with RERA have to mention the terms and conditions, which have to be accepted and delivered. Two things that both the parties now have to ensure are that the Builder-buyer agreement has to be as per RERA norms and the project has to be registered with RERA.
Section 11 (4) of RERA highlights the importance of the Builder-buyer agreement. It says that the promoter shall – (a) be responsible for all obligations, responsibilities and functions under the provisions of this Act or the rules and regulations made there under or to the allottees as per the agreement for sale, or to the association of allottees, as the case may be, till the conveyance of all the apartments, plots or buildings, as the case may be, to the allottees, or the common areas to the association of allottees or the competent authority.
RERA lays down the responsibility of the promoter, with respect to structural defects or any other defect for such period as is referred in sub-section (3) of section 14, shall continue even after the conveyance deed of all the apartments, plots for buildings, as the case may be, to the allottees, are executed.
“Investors need to visit the RERA website and check as per the project’s RERA registration number – the project details will be available on the website; the format for the document to be RERA compliant is also available online – and, the investor/buyer must ensure that the agreement is registered. Not every investor/buyer can be expected to be well-versed with RERA and its norms, rules and formats for documentation,” says Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, national president, NAREDCO.
Though RERA has brought safety and security for the property buyer yet many buyers are still not aware of all the legal aspects. “Home buyers or investors can get the Builder-buyer agreement reviewed by a lawyer, experienced in real estate transactions, to protect from any sort of clauses which may cause any other legal hassles,” suggests Hiranandani.
One needs to ensure that the Builder-buyer agreement is as per RERA norms, as also whether the project is RERA registered – this aspect needs to be mentioned in the agreement.
“The Builder-buyer agreement is the most important document as it gives you rights in the property you are buying. You need to check the delay compensation clause and the place where you can file a complaint in case of a dispute. Check for dispute resolution clause along with the specifications and amenities of the flat so that you can ask for them in case they are not delivered to you at the time of possession,” explains Kumar Mihir, a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
A Builder buyer agreement will help you demand for amenities which are not delivered to you. This document will also decide whether you have a legal right to demand something from the builder in case of a legal dispute. Hence, be cautious and sign your Builder-buyer agreement only after you have read it thoroughly.