When and how should you file a complaint under RERA?

Will the Real Estate Act make it easier for aggrieved home buyers to take errant builders to task? We examine the procedure for filing complaints against builders, and how the RERA compares, with other consumer protection laws that are already in place

After the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), home buyers are optimistic that the new law will protect their interests. However, the moot question is, whether people know how to file a complaint or a case, under the new RERA rules.

Digbijoy Bhowmik, head of policy, RICS, explains, “Complaints can be filed under Section 31 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, either with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority or the adjudicating officer. Such complaints may be against promoters, allottees and/or real estate agents. Most state government rules, made appurtenant to the RERA, have laid out the procedure and form, in which such applications can be made. In the case of Chandigarh UT or Uttar Pradesh, for instance, these are placed as Form ‘M’ or Form ‘N’ (common with most other states and union territories).”

A complaint under the RERA, is required to be in the form prescribed under the respective states’ rules. The complaint can be filed with respect to a project registered under RERA, within the prescribed time limit, for violation or contravention of provisions of the act or the rules or regulations framed under RERA.

See also: What is RERA and how will it impact the real estate industry and home buyers?

 

Filing a case under RERA

Ameet Hariani, managing partner, Hariani & Co, points out that “As far as Maharashtra is concerned, the rules with respect to lodging a complaint with the RERA authority, have been notified. Any person who has an interest in the project, can file an application with the RERA authority. The application can also be filed online, as per the format available. The complainant must provide:

  • The particulars of the applicant and the respondent.
  • The registration number and address of the project.
  • A concise statement of facts and grounds of claim.
  • The reliefs and interim reliefs, if any, sought.”

To initiate proceedings before the adjudicating officer for compensation under RERA, the complainant needs to file a similar application. This application must also be made in the prescribed format and must contain particulars similar to those required in the application to the RERA authority, Hariani adds.

 

What to do with pending cases under the NCDRC?

Experts point out that real estate cases under the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), can take a lot of time for final adjudication, owing to the huge volume of cases pending before the commission. The Real Estate Act, hence, may provide for expeditious disposal and prove to be more effective than the NCDRC, vis-à-vis judgment and realisation of compensation under Sections 12, 14, 18 and 19 of the RERA.

“For cases pending before the NCDRC or other consumer fora, the complainants/ allottees can withdraw the case and approach the authority under the RERA. Other offences (except complaints under Section 12, 14, 18 and 19) can be filed before the RERA authority,” explains Ajay Monga, partner at SNG & Partners law firm.

 

Time frame for dispute resolution under RERA

There is no specific time frame provided in the RERA, for filing a complaint. However, a complainant should not be complacent. Hariani explains, “Complainants under RERA, will require to comply with the time periods for initiating proceedings, as prescribed in the Limitation Act, 1963. The time periods under this Act vary, based on the specific claims. In addition, in order to seek urgent interim relief, it would be advisable to approach the RERA authority as soon as possible, after the action causing the complaint takes place.”

 

The benefits of filing a case under the RERA

  • Chances of expeditious disposal of complaints.
  • Requirement of financial discipline by the promoters.
  • Transparency.
  • No ambiguity in area measurements.
  • Promoters are liable for compensation for delayed delivery.
  • Adjudicating mechanism to be in place.

 

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