- Date : 17/06/2022
- Read: 7 mins
A homebuyer whose house is stuck in a delayed or stalled project can initially go to the real estate regulator or the court to get further relief.
It is the worst nightmare for any homebuyer to face the long halt delay in possession of his/her dream house. This not only affects the homebuyers economically but also makes a big dent in his/her mental state. Before we move forward, it is important to understand the difference between delayed projects and stalled projects.
Delayed projects are ones with slow or minimal progress, while stalled projects are ones with absolutely no construction activity.
According to the latest reports, it is found that more than 1.75 lakh housing projects are stalled across just the top seven cities of India, which amounts to more than 1.5 lakh crore. The maximum number of the stalled projects belongs to the National Capital Region and followed by it is the Mumbai Metropolitan Region which accounts for more than 1.15 lakh and 50,000 stalled projects, respectively.
Along with that, it was also revealed in the reports that most of the projects, i.e., more than 60%, fall inside the price bracket of Rs. 75 lakh.
As the number of situations in which projects are delayed or halted grows by the day, it's more vital than ever for homeowners like you to understand your rights and the legal options available to you.
Thus, in this article, we will cover what things you as a homebuyer can do if your real estate project is stalled or delayed.
Role of the Real Estate Regulator
According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) came into existence with the main aim to safeguard homebuyers while simultaneously boosting real estate investments. It mentions a few of the most essential roles of a real estate regulator which are:
1. Registering and regulating real estate projects and agents.
2. To create and maintain a website of records for the public to examine all real estate projects for which registration has been granted, including information submitted in the application.
3. To keep a public database on its website with the names and photographs of promoters who are defaulters, as well as project details, whose registration has been withdrawn or penalised under the act, and the reasons.
4. To post the names and photographs of real estate agents who have applied and been registered under this act, including those whose registration has been rejected or cancelled, on its website for public access.
5. To establish laws for each region under its jurisdiction, including the fees that will be charged to allottees, promoters, and real estate agents.
6. To guarantee that the promoters, allottees, and real estate brokers comply with the duties imposed on them by this act and its rules and regulations.
7. To ensure that its regulations, orders, or instructions issued in the exercise of its functions under this Act are followed.
8. To carry out any additional tasks that the government may delegate to the Authority in order to carry out this act.
From the above discussion, we can clearly say that for delayed developments, the first option is to register a consumer complaint with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Authority (RERA). It will either help you get a refund or put pressure on the builder to complete the project sooner.
What is the Legal Route?
If you are experiencing unreasonable delays in receiving ownership of your property from the builder and wish to pursue legal action, you can choose a preferred hearing body or court.
Although Section 79 of RERA prohibits civil courts from exercising jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of India had clarified that the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, is a valid forum for aggrieved home buyers to file a case against builders.
However, in India, each state has its own forum, and in addition to that, there are city-level forums in India's major cities. These forums serve as consumer courts, where you can file a complaint against the developer and request a refund if the house or flat is not delivered within a year.
Based on the value of the property, you can directly approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in the following courts:
- For the property value worth up to Rs. 20 lakh, the District Commission should be approached
- For the property value between Rs. 20 lakh and Rs. 1 crore, the State Commission should be approached
- For the property value beyond Rs. 1 crore, the National Commission should be approached
Should You Sell the Property?
This question comes as the first thought in the mind of a homebuyer like you whose house is in a stuck project. Mainly because you are financially and mentally disturbed due to such a big delay in the project; thus, the best option that comes out is to sell the property. But it isn't as easy as it may seem.
The major factors which make it hard for you to sell the property are as follows:
- Due to such a delay, the value of the property is often compromised.
- Within a major housing complex, delayed projects have unfinished development.
- Stalled projects have no guarantee that they will ever be completed.
- The basic infrastructure and construction maybe be incomplete in most of the delayed projects.
All of these factors make it very hard to find a new buyer for the property, as no one would be ready to get a real estate property with these many issues and problems.
Should You Continue To Pay for EMIs?
This is a very common question to arise as you might be confused if you should continue paying your EMIs for the home loan that you had taken from a financial institution like a bank, or should stop.
There is also a fear that if you will stop paying your EMIs for the home loan, then your credit score will be badly impacted, and it will decrease your financial creditability in the market.
To address this concern, Delhi High Court in its recent order, said, “We are directing banks to ask the Credit Information Bureau of India to restore the credit scores of all the homebuyers who had stopped paying their monthly instalments, i.e., EMIs as their houses are stuck in the stalled or delayed projects.”
This recent decision from Delhi High Court has come as a blessing for more than 1,200 homebuyers who had suffered a downgrading in credit scores due to non-payment of EMIs.
But according to the perspective of some experts, “You as a homebuyer shouldn't stop paying your EMIs even if the construction of your house is stalled or there are delays in the possession. The major reason for this is that financial institutions like a bank from where you might have availed your home loan might proceed against you and drag you to the Court of Law and, in addition to that, also charge you with the interest of the EMIs amounts deferred by you.”
- If your house is stuck in a delayed or stalled project, then the very first option is to register a consumer complaint with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Authority (RERA).
- You can also directly approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) based on the property's price.
- If you are thinking of selling your house as it is getting very tough for you to handle that financial and mental pressure, but there are many factors due to which it will be tough to sell your house, which is stalled or delayed for long.
- As per the viewpoint of some experts, you, as a homebuyer, shouldn't stop paying your EMIs because financial institutions who have given you loan can drag you to the Court of Law.