“It is now established that allottees have the right to ask for [a] refund if possession is inordinately delayed, particularly beyond one year.”
The Mohans (name changed) are a middle-aged couple who have just made the payment for their first apartment complex in Gurugram.
Mr Mohan finally feels like he has achieved something substantial in his life and is happy that he will be able to retire and settle down in his own home, which Mrs Mohan is very enthusiastic about doing up from scratch. They are told that the possession of the flat will be handed over in eight months.
On this assurance, Mr Mohan makes a bulk payment as well.
The eight months quickly pass, but when the Mohans visit the site, they see that there is no progress. A company representative is on the site, assuring them that all is well and work will be completed in another three months.
Reluctantly, the couple returns to their rented apartment and waits for another three months.
This process goes on well beyond a year—they return to the site after three months only to be sent back with more assurances.
There are so many like this couple who are stuck after making huge financial commitments towards homes that are far from completion.
Recognising the plight of such homebuyers, the Apex Consumer Commission has now said that if there is a delay of more than one year in the project, the investor can seek a refund from the developer. Although it was clear that buyers could not be made to wait for possession indefinitely, this ruling does away with any ambiguity.
According to a report published in The Times of India, Prem Narain, Member of the Consumer Commission, while hearing a petition, opined, “It is now established that allottees have the right to ask for [a] refund if possession is inordinately delayed, particularly beyond one year.”
This order comes after a Delhi resident moved the court seeking relief. Having bought a flat in 2012, he is still waiting for possession. The developers had promised that the flat would be handed over in 36 months, with a grace period of six months.
When the builders failed to deliver, the petitioner moved the court to enable them to either give him possession or refund the money.
The court has also ordered the builder to complete the construction, and handover the apartment according to the agreement, by 30 September 2019. The commission also asked the builder to pay interest at 6 per cent on the deposited amount.
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If you or anyone you know is facing a similar issue with their builder/developer, be sure to seek legal recourse.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)