In a first, a conciliation commission under Maha-Rera has resolved six disputes between flat buyers and builders before formal complaints could be lodged before the authority, reports Nauzer Bharucha. Maharashtra is the first state in the country to establish this forum comprising builders and consumer groups to arbitrate complaints before they are filed before the housing authority.
Four complaints in Mumbai and two other disputes in Pune were resolved out of the 16 cases heard by eight different benches of the forum in the two cities.
Some of the developers involved included L&T Realty, Acme Housing, Tridhatu Group, Ekta Group and Lavasa. Most cases were complaints about delayed possession, buyers seeking cancellation and asking for a refund.
“Both the parties were heard and made to talk to each other to arrive at a mutual agreement,” said a forum member. In two of the cases, developers agreed to refund the money with interest to the flat purchasers. In another case of delayed possession, the buyer wanted to cancel the booking but the builder said the project was 85% complete and would soon hand over the flat. The buyer agreed.
In another case, the builder agreed to refund Rs 1.5 crore plus interest before September 10, 2018. Moreover, the developer also agreed to pay the purchaser’s EMI of the bank loan of Rs 1.1 lakh a month, which would be adjusted and deducted in the final amount. “This builder agreed to pay the EMI of the complainant till his flat is sold and money given back to him within six months,” said a forum member.
The conciliators were developers Niranjan Hiranandani and Rajan Bandelkar, and consumer activists Smita Jamdar and Archana Sabnis of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP).
Both parties were made to sign an undertaking that they will abide by their decisions. The agreement would then be send to the Rera authority for confirmation.
“This is a promising beginning,” said state Rera chairman Gautam Chatterjee. “It will pave the way for bringing back the lost trust between promoters and home buyers,” he added.
Shirish Deshpande of MGP said he never expected the disputes to be resolved in the first sitting of the forum. “It is a winwin situation for both parties and bridges trust deficit.”
Last September, TOI was the first to report on this initiative, which comprises a panel representing builders and consumer groups to arbitrate complaints. The conciliation forum will mediate between two parties and help resolve their issues so that they can avoid taking the dispute before the housing regulator. Only in case the dispute is not settled can the party challenge it and lodge a complaint with the state regulator.