Karamjeet Kaur is one of the homebuyers who bought homes after the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA). She invested her hard earned money in an under-construction project but decided to withdraw the booking amount owing to project layout inconsistencies.
The builder refused to return her booking amount. Her friend advised her to file a complaint with the RERA authority but none of them knew how to do go about it. Many buyers know that RERA has been implemented and it protects the consumers’ rights but only a few know how to file a complaint. Magicbricks scrutinised the procedure for filing complaints for consumers like Karamjeet to make it easy for them. “RERA has streamlined and disciplined the real estate sector. All information related to projects are in the public domain now and easily available. Transparency has increased significantly which has instilled confidence in buyers,” says Cecil Philip, a real estate lawyer in Mumbai.
How to file a complaint?
A complaint can be filed under Section 31 of RERA either with the Real Estate RegulatoryAuthority or the adjudicating officer. This complaint can be filed against promoters, allottees and/or real estate agents. Many state governments have laid out the procedures for filing applications under RERA. A complaint must be in the form prescribed as per the respective state government’s rules. If a buyer’s rights are violated or any provisions of the Act is contravened then a complaint can be filed under RERA in the format provided by the respective state government. You need to visit the RERA portal of the respective state government. “The fees for filing varies from state to state. For example, in Maharashtra, the fee is Rs 5,000 while in Karnataka the fee is Rs 1,000,” says Rahul Kripalani, a Delhi-based lawyer practicing consumer law.
Maharashtra buyers can go to https://maharera.mahaonline.gov.in and file their complaints. Similarly, UP homebuyers can visit http://up-rera.in to file a complaint online. The complaint must provide details such as:
Filing Complaint against – Promoter/Agent
Total value of flat
Amount paid till date
Date of possession
Pending court case
To initiate the case under RERA, you need to file an application with all these details but it may vary from state to state. “Karnataka, Maharashtra and UP are some of the states where you can go to the RERA website and file a complaint. It is easy if you know what your case is and what relief you are seeking with regard to filing a complaint under RERA. All your details such as project name, its address, total value of the flat and date of completion should be as per the agreement. Read your agreement for sale carefully before you file a complaint under RERA,” says Daniel David, a Delhi High Court lawyer handling consumer dispute cases.
Why to choose RERA?
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) may take time for final adjudication so RERA offers a hope for expeditious disposal and early resolution of a complaint. If your case is pending before the NCDRC then you can withdraw the case and approach the RERA authority directly. “The best part of RERA is that you can expect a faster resolution in comparison to other legal forums for that matter. It is a quasi-judicial authority meant for only real estate matters. Therefore, real estate cases can be better handled under RERA,” explains Cecil.
RERA is consumer friendly
The best part of the Act is that it is consumer friendly and looks into real estate cases only. It is more competent to understand the relief a consumer may need and chances are high that the dispute is resolved at the earliest. “Questions which come up before the Authority shall be dealt with as expeditiously as possible and statutorily the Authority is required to dispose of the same within a period of sixty days from the date of receipt of the application,” says Sudip Mullick, partner of law firm Khaitan and Co.
These are some of the benefits of filing a complaint under RERA:
Fast disposal of cases
Promoters cannot manipulate the law
Transparency is high
Buyers can claim compensation for delayed projects
Efficient dispute resolution body
“It is relatively easy to file a complaint in states where there is a functioning authority with a website. There is no specified list of documents required for filing but the agreement to sell, conveyance deed (if any) and application form are essential. There are certain other issues which a consumer may face after filing a complaint such as whether the project falls under the jurisdiction of RERA in that state. As per the Central RERA law, any project that did not have a completion certificate by May 1, 2017 would be an ‘ongoing project’ and amenable to RERA. However, some states have set a different yardstick for what would constitute an ‘ongoing project’ and consumers in those states would face a jurisdictional hurdle in approaching the state RERA, whereas, no such bar exists for approaching the consumer fora set-up under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986,” explains Kriplani.
When to file a complaint?
One has to be prompt to decide to file a case. Any delay which is unjustified may weaken your case and you may not be able to seek the relief you want. Under RERA, there is no specific time frame provided for filing a complaint but it should be filed well on time.
“All complaints under RERA will have to comply with the time periods as per the Limitation Act. “The time periods under this Act vary, based on the specific claims. It is advisable to approach the RERA authority whenever a violation has happened,” says Philip.
Filing a complaint under RERA is not a difficult task. You need to keep your documents ready and lodge a complaint online or offline only as per the facts of the case. If your claim is justified, RERA will not disappoint you. RERA is for consumers and the authority will pay heed to their cases as per the Act.
If you are also an aggrieved buyer then approach the RERA authority and feel free to file your case.