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Post RERA, will Haryana home buyers still turn to Allottees’ Grievance Redressal Forum?

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Haryana home buyers still turn to Allottees Grievance Redressal Forum

Many aggrieved home buyers in Haryana, have turned to the Allottees’ Grievance Redressal Forum, to resolve matters with builders. With the state set to enact its rules under the Real Estate Act, we examine the role of such forums and the options for consumers

Sunil Singh, a resident of Gurugram, continues to wait for the completion of his group housing project, where only 50 per cent of the project is complete and the authority has issued the occupancy certificate for the built apartments. “Located in Sector 84 of Gurugram, the project was launched in 2007. While half of the project has received the occupancy certificate, the remaining half is still incomplete. How can one live in a project, where you have a large excavation site and construction activity in full swing, close to your apartment?” Singh laments. In another similar case, a group of buyers in Sector 37 of Gurugram, have witnessed their project being delayed, since its launch in 2008.

Such instances reflect the slump in Haryana’s housing market, on account of delayed construction, slow investor activity and an inventory overhang. Haryana, according to a recent study by industry body ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), has around 44 months of delays in construction and real estate projects, against the national average of 39 months. In particular, Gurugram’s market continues to witness high levels of unsold inventory and delays in projects.

In both the cases mentioned, buyers are now negotiating a deal with their builders, to finish the apartments.

The negotiations are being heard and resolved, with the help of a group of senior state officials, who are part of the Allottees’ Grievance Redressal Forum (AGRF). While Haryana aims to notify its own Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) soon, the AGRF continues to hear complaints of grieving home buyers.

 

What is AGRF and its function?

Instituted in 2015, the AGRF has so far received more than 200 complaints against a number of development firms, says a senior level official at the Department of Town and Country Planning, government of Haryana, on condition of anonymity. “The forum continues to listen to a number of complaints and will continue to help troubled buyers,” he adds. The Forum has representation from departments, such as HUDA (Haryana Urban Development Authority), the Department of Town and Country Planning, etc., and acts as an arbitrator between the complainants/buyers and development firms.

It hears complaints pertaining mainly to delays in projects, slow pace of work, overcharging and refusal to refund the booking amount, in case of exit. After hearing complaints, it directs the builder firms to resolve issues with consumers on agreed terms, along with committing and adhering to a revised timeline for project completion. Home buyers in key cities such as Chandigarh, Gurugram and Faridabad, continue to take their complaints to the AGRF.

 

Drawback of the AGRF

However, as the AGRF does not have any legal standing, home buyers remain concerned that developers may go against the directions of the Forum. “The Forum does steer things in favour of consumers but is only recommending actions for developers. There is no legal binding to these recommendations and directions,” explains Rajeev Singh, a home buyer whose project has been delayed.

 

Options for aggrieved home buyers in Haryana

It is likely that the Haryana government will soon notify its own rules under the RERA, after public consultation.

“The real estate authority, will provide an avenue for grievance redressal in a timely manner,” says Jaxay Shah, president of CREDAI. The question now, is what will happen to the AGRF, once the RERA in in place in Haryana? “Although we will soon enact our own RERA rules, the AGRF will continue to work towards the resolution of issues faced by consumers,” explains Dilbag Singh Sihag, RERA Haryana committee member and chief town planner, Haryana (retired).

In the ultimate analysis, while the avenues for consumers to file their complaints will increase in the state, whether these result in decisive solutions to tackle delayed projects, remains to be seen.

Source: Housing.com

 

Regulations

373 Maharashtra Cities To Fall Under PMAY Scheme

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The state of Maharashtra has added 232 cities to the existing 142 which makes it 373 cities under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme (PMAY).

The officials at the housing department feel that this step will aid the government take up more projects under the PMAY scheme.

Sachin Kulkarni, Builder shared his concerns over the lack of coordination between the department in executing PMAY projects. He said, “This is a good sign. However, the PMO’s seriousness in promoting HFA is diluted by the time it reaches the authorities. Apart from collecting application from interested beneficiaries, nothing has moved on the ground in urban centres. I hope that this initiative moves on fast track”.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis recently states that the in order to create more housing stock the state’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority scheme be brought under PMAY so that it can receive the subsidy to create more affordable housing. He clearly mentioned that the government intends to create more housing stock and it was taking various initiatives and making policy changes for it.

Also Read- Affordable Housing To Get A Boost With PMAY’s Scope To Be Extended To Private Lands

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Regulations

Real Estate Sector May Fall Under GST What Does It Mean For Buyers?

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One after the other the real estate sector has witnessed massive policy and law changes in its systems. Nonetheless, the tide has not passed yet. The GST council will take up a proposal to bring it under the uniform nationwide levy.

As the industry is still recovering from the RERA Act, the finance minister, Arun Jaitley said that there is a strong case to include real estate in the new indirect tax regime. He said this last week and also mentioned that GST Council will discuss it in November.

At present, the home buyers are paying 12 percent GST on under-construction properties. This percentage includes two taxes which are stamp duty and registration. The rate of which varies in each state but GST will make them uniform.

Santosh Dalvi, KPMG India partner (indirect tax) said, “If the entire real estate is brought under GST, they would have to abolish the stamp duty and we don’t know how the government plans to compensate the states for their loss.”

The stamp duty with registration and GST comes to approximately 18 percent for under construction properties. He further said, “So, it’s important to look at what rate it will be taxed at. We can then look at consumer prices”.

While agreeing, Bipin Sapra, EY partner (indirect tax), added, “It’s going to be a test for the government”.

Developers also pay taxes on raw materials. However, unlike other businesses, they don’t get any tax refunds through input credit. GST taxes every stage of the business activity to better compliance and compensates for it by permitting refunds.

Anuj Puri, Anarock Property Consultants chairman, said “By including real estate under GST, builders can get a fair amount of input credit, helping bring down costs,” He added that it would make homes cheaper for buyers.

According to Sapra, it will depend on the tax rate applicable.

Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder of Hiranandani Group said, “Real estate under GST ambit means consumers will only have to pay one final tax.” He stated that with the commencement of RERA it brings transparency and GST would reduce the burden in terms of taxes payable while buying the home. He concluded, “Not only will this create positive sentiment but it should also boost actual sales”.

Also Read: Affordable Housing Is The Changing Face Of Indian Real Estate

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Regulations

Home Buyers Will Be Covered Against Builders Who Are Going Bankrupt

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In a move to protect home buyers from builders declaring their bankruptcy, the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has amended rules which make it necessary for any company to showcase how they have dealt with interests of all stakeholders. This is directed towards companies like Jaypee Infratech and some of the entities of Amrapali Group.

The regulator has informed about the revised rules last week. This will ensure that banks and other creditors do not get away by protecting their interests at the expense of others who are impacted by the action.  Banks are part of the creditors’ committee. They become an important decision-making body after a company is admitted for bankruptcy.

An expert bankruptcy lawyer said, “The change in the rules has plugged a gap as flat buyers are of the view that there is nothing to protect their interests.”

According to the new law that was enacted last year intends to speed up the resolution process in a period of 180 days, with a possible extension of 90 days. This will be done by appointing insolvency resolution professionals who will take charge of the company’s operations and prepare a plan. As per the law, an information memorandum will be finalized if the creditor’s committee is willing to take applications from other interested companies to take over the company.

The insolvency experts say that the law providing for the plan binds corporate debtor (the company) and its members, employees, guarantors, and creditors, other stakeholders involved in the resolution plan. However, there are no obligations mentioned in the rule to give any treatment to the stakeholders other than the financial creditors (banks) and operational creditors, which includes vendors and others who may have dues.

The National Company Law Tribunal, based on the comfort provided by the revised rules, will choose the final resolution plan based on bids that are received. The lawyer further said, “The tribunal will not clear the resolution plan without giving notice to all stakeholders and the flat buyers can raise objections at that point of time.”

Also Read: Tanvi Group Fail To Deliver Homes And Declare Bankruptcy

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