Soumya Shekhar

Soumya Shekhar

Soumya is an independent legal consultant with over 7 years of experience. An alumnus of National Law University, Delhi and National University of Singapore, she has worked with various Tier-1 Law firms and is an expert in employment law, contract drafting and legal research. She enjoys writing and has been actively contributing articles for LegalKart for more than a year.

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Understanding RERA and How to File a Complaint under RERA
Property

Understanding RERA and How to File a Complaint under RERA

For a long time, the real estate sector had no regulation. If the consumers faced delays, there was no recourse. Most buyers were at the mercy of the builders as court cases would drag on for long. With the coming of RERA, a proper complaint mechanism has come into existence. Let us see how one can file complaints under RERA.

 

RERA Complaint Against Builder

RERA imposes certain obligations on the builder or the developer. As a homebuyer, you have certain rights under RERA. If the builder fails to discharge his obligations or violates your rights, then you can file a complaint against the builder. Under RERA, a homebuyer can, in addition to the builder, file a complaint against the following: 

  • Promoter

  • Real estate agent

  • Contractor

  • Intermediary

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If any of the above are found guilty of contravening the RERA, they would have to pay heavy penalties. Key penalties in the RERA are: 

  • Non-registration with RERA attracts a heavy penalty of up to 10% of the project's estimated cost or imprisonment up to 3 years. Sometimes, RERA may impose both imprisonment and a fine. 

  • Furnishing false information also attracts 5% of the estimated cost of construction as a penalty. 

Hence, heavy penalties may be imposed on the builder, promoter, real estate agent, etc., if they are in non-compliance with the RERA. 

 

RERA Complaint Registration

A homebuyer should have the following details if they wish to register a complaint against the builder: 

  • Details such as name, address etc. 

  • Registration number of the project and the address where it is situated. 

  • The response of the builder. 

  • The relief the homebuyer is requesting.

A buyer may file a complaint with the RERA Authority for any violation or contravention of the provisions of the RERA Act by a builder, developer, promoter or real estate agent. Conditions under which a buyer can file a RERA complaint include:

  • Delay in Possession: If a builder delays delivery of possession of the property, the buyer can file a complaint against the builder to get immediate delivery of possession or get a full refund along with interest.

  • False Advertisement: A complaint can be filed against the developer, promoter, and even the endorsers if false advertisements misled a buyer based on which he/she decided to deposit a sum with the promoter.

  • Advance Payment: A builder can ask for only up to 10% of the cost of the building, apartment, or plot as advance payment. If a builder asks for more than 10%, the buyer can file a complaint against the builder.

  • Improper Registration of a Project: All projects must be registered under RERA. If a builder has sold or is trying to sell an unregistered project, the buyer can file a complaint against the builder.

  • No details about the Project: All details regarding the project including project plan, layout, and government approvals need to be updated on the RERA website. One can file a complaint if a builder or developer doesn't adhere to this provision.

  • Structural Defects: In case of any structural defects in the workmanship and quality of the services, the promoter will have to compensate the amount paid by the allottee. If not compensated, the buyer can file a complaint.

  • Ownership Transfer: A promoter cannot transfer majority rights to any third party. In case he/she is found transferring majority rights to a third party without the consent of the two-third majority of allottees, one can file a complaint.

Typically, a homebuyer has to file a RERA complaint form along with the requisite fee to register his/her complaint. You can follow the given steps to file a complaint under RERA:

  • You can file a RERA complaint form along with the requisite documents and the fee before a RERA or an adjudicating officer. 

  • Once the authorities receive the complaint, they constitute an inquiry bench to hear both the parties involved. 

  • The matter is typically settled within 60 days of the filing of the complaint. 

 

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RERA Online Complaint filing

Many states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka now provide online complaint filing under RERA. The method of filing an online complaint almost remains the same in most states. However, the procedure, applicable fees are different.

To register a RERA complaint online in Gujarat, a complainant must comply with the following steps:

  • Go to the Gujarat RERA portal. On the home page, there will be a link for complaint registration.

  • Once you click on the link, you will be redirected to another page to provide relevant details of the complaint. These details are the same that one would provide in a physical complaint.

  • After filling in the personal details like name, address, contact details, etc., there will be an option for the complainant to attach supporting documents.

  • The complainant must pay a registration fee of Rs. 1000 to be able to submit the complaint. One can avail of any net banking or mobile banking facility for payment. After payment, one has to click the Submit button to successfully register the complaint.

In order to register a RERA complaint online in Maharashtra, a complainant must comply with the following steps:

  • Go to the Maharashtra RERA portal. On the home page, click on the Online Application Menu.

  • One must first log in to be able to access the online complaint form. Therefore, the complainant must create a new registration with an appropriate username and password.

  • Once registration is completed, the complainant must file his/her personal information to proceed with the complaint.

  • After providing relevant personal details, the complainant should find and select Add New Complaints. Here, the complainant would be able to fill in relevant details of the complaint.

  • The complainant must pay a registration fee of Rs. Five thousand to be able to successfully submit the complaint.

For all online portal complaints, once a complaint is successfully registered, both the parties would be called to express their facts and figures surrounding the dispute. The RERA will listen to both parties and will give a verdict on the merits of the case.

The aggrieved party would be given the option to challenge RERA's decision if they are not satisfied with such an order. The aggrieved party must challenge RERA's decision before the High Court.

Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Selling Your House
Property

Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Selling Your House

Selling anything is a tedious task, let alone selling a house. What are the requisite documents for sale? What is the correct procedure? Are there any risks involved in the process? If one does not have answers to such questions, selling a house can become an ugly affair.

 

Law relating to Sale of Houses

Houses are a tangible piece of immovable property. The main legislation which governs the sale and transfer of property in India is the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (hereafter referred to as "TPA"). Chapter III of TPA deals with the sale of immovable property.

  • Sections 54 and 55 of the TPA are of enormous relevance in our context. Let us discuss the crux of these provisions under the following headings:

 

Rights and Liabilities of the Seller - Section 55 of TPA

There are several rights and liabilities mentioned for both the buyer and seller. There are rights and duties regarding the seller, before and after selling his/her property. Let us discuss them under the following headings:

 

Before Sale of Property

The duties of a seller before selling his/her property are as follows:

  • Disclosing any defects in the property to the buyer.
  • Producing before the buyer, on their demand, all the legal documents as to the seller's property title.
  • Answering all the buyer's questions about the property.
  • Taking care of the property and all the relevant documents in the period between the date of contract and the date of delivery of the property.
  • Paying all the rents, government fees, dues, etc., up to the date of sale of the property.

 

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After-Sale of Property

There are a few duties of the seller after the sale of the property. They are as follows:

  • The seller is bound to deliver the possession of the property after the sale to the buyer.
  • Through the contract with the buyer, the seller's interest has professed to transfer to the buyer will exist, and the buyer will have the right to transfer the same.
  • If all of the purchase money has been paid by the buyer, the seller is bound to deliver all documents of title relating to the property in the seller's possession.

 

Documents required for selling your house

As already mentioned above, under TPA, the seller is mandatorily required to produce all the relevant documentation before the buyer. A bunch of property-related disputes arises due to the lack of proper documentation. Thus, it is crucial from both the seller's and buyer's perspectives to give the requisite attention to the documentation of the deal.

  • The documents required for the selling of a tangible immovable property (such as a house), are as follows:
  • Letter of allotment: This is the document that conferred the allotment of the property which is in possession of the seller, who had purchased this property from a relevant society or authority.
  • Sale Deed: All the original sale deeds from the previous owners of the property who have handed it down to the current owner (the seller). This helps in tracing the property title chain. The seller should have an original sale deed. It is compulsory under the law that the seller needs to have all the previous agreements.
  • Sanctioned Plan:  The seller also needs to have the approved building plan and occupation certificate by the local municipal authority or any other competent authority.
  • Society Documents: The seller must seek the permission of the relevant competent authorities (development authority or society) before selling the house. For example, if the seller lives in a gated community, then he/she must obtain a NOC (no-objection certificate) from the housing society or governing body.
  • Encumbrance certificate: This certificate is required as an indication of free title. This is because while buying a house or apartment, the buyer wants to ascertain no legal dues.
  • Sale Agreement: Lastly, but most importantly, after both the parties have arranged the documentation, the terms and conditions for the agreement for selling the property can be laid down. This agreement shall be the blueprint and precede the execution of the sale deed and hence is extremely important.

 

The procedure of selling your house

We've already discussed the documentation process, one of the most important parts of the procedure. There are other practical and/or legal aspects to the procedure, which includes the following:

  • Valuation of Your house: Make a good estimate of the value of your house. For this purpose, you can either consult a real estate agent or self-assess the property by researching the prevailing market rate in the society or locality where your house is located.
  • Find a buyer: The next step is to find a person who is ready to buy your house.
  • Intimate your intentions to the governing body: As mentioned already, you must seek approval from the housing society where the house is located by getting a NOC.
  • Prepare the house: You can now stage your house for potential buyers to visit. For this purpose, ideally, you should vacate the house and do renovation or repair work on the same.
  • Finally, list the property: Now, you can finally list the property for sale on online platforms or seek the help of brokers who can help you find buyers.

 

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Conclusion

Every seller needs to know such intricacies before proceeding to sell their house. Unless the seller is well-informed regarding such details, they can be taken for a ride by the buyer. The whole idea is to avoid being in that position as a seller.

RERA Registration Process
Property

RERA Registration Process

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (hereafter referred to as “RERA”) came into force on 1 May 2016. The main idea behind this law was the regulation and promotion of the real estate sector. Now development projects in real estate need to register themselves under RERA. RERA provides credibility to real estate projects and protects customers against delays in handing over the projects. 

How to Register Projects under RERA?

The process of Application for Registration of Real Estate projects differs from state to state. The detailed procedure for each state is available on each state’s RERA website. The promoters and real estate agents have to apply for registration on the website, which is relevant for their state. For registration, you need to submit certain documents along with the application. These, too, differ from state to state. However, certain documents are common amongst most of the states. These are:

  • Promoter’s PAN Card;

  • Legal title deeds of the land. (See Section 4(2)(l)A);

  • Encumbrance Certificate (See Section 4(2)(l)B);

  • Commencement Certificate (See Section 4(2)(c));

  • The Sanction Plan, Layout Plan, location details of the project (See Section 4(2)(d));

  • The plan of development works; and

  • Details of previous project experience of the promoter, if any (See Section 4(2)(b)).

Some of these documents across different states (as mentioned on their websites) are as follows:

  • Name, type, and registered address of the enterprise;

  • Registration Certificate, Memorandum of Association (MoA), Articles of Association (AoA) and date of incorporation of the promoter’s enterprise;

  • Audited balance sheets of the last three financial years;

  • Audited report and director’s report of the last three years; and

  • Name, address, contact details, and photographs of the promoter/director/partners/chairman/ or any other authorized person.

What Are the Key Benefits?

Before RERA, the real estate industry was in shambles. Customers faced delays, there was no regulation, and there was widespread corruption and high-handedness of real estate agents and builders. We see the following key benefits after RERA came into the picture: 

  • Carpet Area: A statutory definition of carpet area dispels the doubts regarding its determination. Promoters decided on carpet areas before RERA came into being. 

  • Buyers can seek information regarding the projects (Section 19, Clauses 1 & 2): Buyers under RERA can seek information such as completion status, plan layout, stages of construction, etc.

  • Delaying projects led to consequences for the promoter: Under RERA, each promoter has to give a due date on which they will hand over the possession of the property to the buyer. If the promoter cannot complete the project by this date,he can face penal consequences. 

  • Liability of promoters:  If there is any structural defect or flaw in constructing a property, the allottee may bring up such an issue to the notice of the promoter and the promoter will be obligated to rectify such flaws within 30 days. If the promoter does not do the same, the allottee will need to be compensated for such structural defects.

  • Advance Payments up to 10%: Under RERA, the builders cannot demand advance payments that are more than 10% of the project's total value.

  • The buyers were given rights in case of false promises: If the allottee finds themselves in a position where the initial promises made by the promoter are not being kept, or there is a mismatch in the commitment between the parties, the allottee under this Act, has the right to withdraw from the project and get a full refund (sometimes with interest or compensation).

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Impact On Home Buyers

Homebuyers now have the following rights under RERA: 

  • Buyers need not pay for the walls area, as the definition of carpet area is now clear. 

  • Builders need to disclose information, establishing transparency between the buyers and builders.

  • Registration manifests the credibility of builders and real estate agents. 

  • RERA also prevents indefinite delays in project development and misappropriation of funds. 

  • Asking for refunds in case of uncompleted projects is also easier under RERA. 

Impact On Real Estate Agents

RERA has the following impact on real estate agents:

  • Real estate agents now have to mandatorily register themselves and also keep renewing this registration. 

  • If a real estate agent is not registered, he will have to pay penalties. 

  • Real estate agents will have to maintain accounts, books, records, etc. 

  • They should display their registration number at all times, especially in the advertisements they place. 

  • False advertisements will attract a penalty. 

Penalties

Various penalties under RERA are:

  • Section 60: We already know that a promoter has to register themselves under Section 4 of RERA. For furnishing false information, a penalty of up to 5% of the approximate cost of the real-estate project needs to be paid.

  • Section 61: Just like in the previous section, even if the promoter violates any other provision of RERA (i.e., other than Sections 3 & 4), the same amount of penalty can be levied against them.

  • Section 63:  For non-compliance with RERA authority order, a penalty upto 5% per day gets levied on the promoter. 

  • Section 64: For failure to comply with the order of the RERA tribunal, a promoter may also face imprisonment. 

  • Section 62: If the real-estate agent violates the provisions of Section 9 & 10, they will be required to pay ₹ 10,000 per day till such default continues.


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RERA Laws Across India

Till now, every state has notified the rules for their respective state authority under RERA. The only exception here is the state of Nagaland, which is under process to notify the rules.

Most states have launched their websites regarding the same. However, in this regard, some north-eastern states (such as Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim) and Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and NCT of Delhi are lagging.

West Bengal refused to implement RERA and enacted its legislation called, “Housing and Industrial Regulation Act, 2017,” challenged in the Supreme Court.

Several states have implemented a diluted form of RERA. This has increased difficulties for homebuyers in these states.

RERA is forward-looking legislation, and before buying a house, you should always check the RERA registration of the builder and the real estate agent. If you are in the real estate business, make sure to comply with the provisions of RERA.

Consulting a Lawyer is always useful for quick and authentic information about RERA Act