RERA – Buying a home is a significant milestone in one’s life and often represents a substantial financial commitment. However, the real estate sector in India has had its share of challenges, including delays in project completion, quality concerns, and unfair practices by builders. To address these issues and safeguard the interests of homebuyers, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) was enacted. RERA has revolutionized the real estate market by establishing a regulatory framework that ensures transparency, accountability, and the protection of homebuyers’ rights.
In this article, we will delve into the rights of homebuyers under the RERA Act 2016, understanding how it empowers them and transforms the real estate sector in India.
Right to Transparent Information
One of the fundamental rights guaranteed to homebuyers under RERA is the right to transparent information. Developers are mandated to register their projects with RERA before advertising or selling them. This registration process necessitates developers to provide comprehensive details about their projects, including project plans, approvals, timeline, and financial details. This information is then made available to potential buyers on the RERA website.
This transparency ensures that homebuyers have access to all the relevant information they need to make informed decisions about their investments. It also minimizes the risk of investing in projects that are not legally sound or financially viable.
Right to Legal Title of Property
RERA makes it mandatory for developers to confirm their legal title to the land on which the project is being developed. This means that homebuyers can rest assured that the property they are investing in has clear and undisputed ownership. Prior to RERA, disputes over property titles were a common concern for homebuyers, often resulting in protracted legal battles.
Under RERA, developers must also provide a copy of the title deed of the land to the homebuyer, giving them further assurance of the property’s legality.
Right to Timely Possession under Rera Act
Perhaps one of the most significant issues faced by homebuyers in India before the advent of RERA was project delays. Developers frequently exceeded the promised project delivery timelines, causing considerable inconvenience and financial strain on homebuyers. RERA addresses this issue by ensuring that developers commit to a specific project completion date at the time of registration.
In case of project delays, developers are required to compensate homebuyers with interest for the period of delay. This right to timely possession and compensation for delays ensures that homebuyers’ investments are protected from unnecessary setbacks.
Right to Quality Construction
Quality concerns have plagued the real estate sector for years, with many homebuyers facing substandard construction and materials. RERA tackles this problem by mandating developers to adhere to quality standards and project specifications as declared during registration.
If the developer fails to deliver the promised quality of construction, homebuyers have the right to seek redressal through the regulatory authorities. This empowers homebuyers to hold developers accountable for any compromises in quality.
Right to Refund under RERA Act
RERA provides homebuyers with an exit route in case they are dissatisfied with the project or if the developer violates the terms of the agreement. If the developer fails to deliver the project as promised or violates any of the RERA provisions, homebuyers have the right to request a refund of the amount paid along with interest. This right safeguards homebuyers against unscrupulous practices and provides them with a legal recourse to protect their investment.
Right to Information on Carpet Area
Before RERA, builders often quoted prices based on super built-up areas, which included common spaces, corridors, and balconies. This led to confusion and disputes over the actual usable area of the property. RERA mandates developers to disclose the carpet area, which is the actual area within the walls of the apartment, allowing homebuyers to understand exactly what they are paying for.
This right ensures that homebuyers are not misled by deceptive pricing practices and can accurately compare properties based on their usable space.
Right to Changes in Project Plans
Sometimes, developers make changes to the project plans after obtaining approvals or after the sale of units has commenced. RERA protects homebuyers from such changes by making it mandatory for developers to obtain the consent of two-thirds of the buyers for any alterations to the project plans. This ensures that significant changes are not made without the consent of the majority of homebuyers.
Right to Grievance Redressal
To further protect homebuyers, RERA establishes Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) in each state and union territory. These authorities are responsible for addressing grievances and ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Act. Homebuyers have the right to file complaints with the RERA if they believe their rights are being violated or if they have disputes with developers.
RERAs have the authority to mediate between parties, impose penalties on developers for non-compliance, and even revoke a project’s registration if necessary. This right to grievance redressal provides a streamlined and efficient mechanism for resolving disputes, ensuring that homebuyers’ concerns are addressed promptly.
Right to Transparent Financial Transactions
RERA mandates developers to maintain separate bank accounts for each project and deposit a specified percentage of the project’s funds into this account. This ensures that the funds raised from homebuyers are used exclusively for the designated project and not diverted to other purposes. Homebuyers have the right to access information about the financial transactions related to the project, providing transparency and accountability.
Right to Possession and Compensation in Case of Default
If a developer fails to give possession of the property on the agreed-upon date or breaches any other conditions of the sale agreement, homebuyers have the right to withdraw from the project and seek a refund with interest. This compensation is a significant safeguard for homebuyers against unscrupulous developers who may not deliver on their promises.
Right to Inspect Project
Homebuyers have the right to inspect the project’s progress at reasonable intervals. This allows them to ensure that the project is being developed as per the approved plans and timelines. If discrepancies are found, they can report them to the relevant authorities, ensuring that developers are held accountable for any deviations from the original agreement.
Right to Know About Legal Proceedings
Developers are required to disclose any pending legal cases related to the project. This information is vital for homebuyers as it can affect the project’s completion and their investment’s safety. Knowing about legal proceedings allows homebuyers to make informed decisions about whether to invest in a particular project or not.
Right to Compensation for Structural Defects
In the event of structural defects or poor workmanship within five years of possession, homebuyers have the right to demand compensation from the developer. This provision safeguards homebuyers against unexpected repair and maintenance costs due to construction flaws.
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, has ushered in a new era of transparency and accountability in the Indian real estate sector. By conferring various rights upon homebuyers, RERA aims to protect their interests, ensuring that their investments are secure and that they have recourse in case of disputes or non-compliance by developers.
While RERA has undoubtedly been a game-changer for homebuyers, it is essential for prospective buyers to be aware of their rights and to exercise due diligence when entering into property transactions. Consulting legal experts and thoroughly researching developers and projects are crucial steps in making a sound real estate investment.
With the implementation of RERA, the Indian real estate market has become more organized, transparent, and investor-friendly, ultimately benefiting both homebuyers and the industry as a whole. As more homebuyers assert their rights under this landmark legislation, developers are incentivized to deliver on their promises, further strengthening the foundation of the real estate sector in India.