RERA: Reality check needed
News By: Nasir Pipulkar
Members of the Shanti Niketan cooperative housing society in Vikhroli (East) had filed a complaint against Matrix Construction. “On May 10, 2007, we have assigned our project ‘Shanti Niketan’ for redevelopment. But till date, we have not yet received possession of our flats although the building is ready.
The 13-storey redeveloped building is ready, but the builder wants to add five more floors. The society said they had agreed to allow him to build more on the condition that he shares 25% of the profits from the sale of flats. Another condition was that the builder would hand over their new flats by May 2017 and give them a corpus of Rs 9 lakh per member. The developer was also to give them open car parking free of cost.
On fulfillment of these pre-conditions only members had agreed to give their NOC to construct five additional floors. However, the society’s managing committee had manipulated the minutes and gave NOC to the developer without taking prior approval of society members, said the complaint. Also the secretary hasn’t signed the NOC letter and was in dark.
The complainants said they discovered it when they approached Mhada, which told them that the builder had already procured the NOC without these conditions.
The state Rera last month dismissed the complaint filed by the members against their builder for failing to hand over their redeveloped flats for 11 years. They also accused the society’s managing committee of granting permission to the builder to add five floors without taking their approval.
In a December 2017 order, MahaRera chairperson Gautam Chatterjee said that the authority is not the proper forum to resolve the society’s issue with the builder.
The order has wide implications because majority of all constructions in Mumbai involves redevelopments. Housing experts warned that thousands of families stranded for years because their redevelopment projects are stuck and have no remedy under Rera.
“The complainants have not been able to point out any contravention or violation of the provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or the rules or regulations,” said the order.
However, the MahaRera order said that the dispute is between the society members and the managing committee (landowner) and the builder, and this did not contravene Rera provisions.
A senior Rera official said that the dispute between the society members and the society has to be resolved under Cooperative Society Act while the dispute between the society and builder is a civil dispute. In a MahaRera registered project, an aggrieved party will have to point out that which provision of Rera Act has been violated. Activist Dharam Shettigar, who has brought many housing societies in Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli, on a common platform, said: “This is a loophole in Rera. Dubious developers will exploit this gap even and society members will continue to suffer. How are the sufferings of home buyers and society members of delayed redevelopment project different? Members of the society should get justice in Rera because their lifetime asset their home is at stake.
Added housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu: “Any law which does not protect the rights of people would be considered useless. Either the government has to bring necessary changes in Rera or admits that it is of no use to majority of residents. He added that the Act must be “suitably amended” to protect the interests of those who are seeking to move to accommodation with better amenities.