Realty bill stuck in Bengal 48 hours before deadline

The deadline to notify and implement an important legislation to protect the interests of home buyers is only 48 hours away, but lack of information on its implementation in West Bengal has put retail property customers in a quandary.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2016, passed by the Centre in March last year and scheduled to come into effect on May 1 this year, provided the respective state governments notified and put in place a regulatory body, is in a limbo in Bengal as the government is yet to notify it or appoint a regulator.

The West Bengal government had released the draft rules for the State Real Estate Regulator in the public domain to start a discussion but has not notified it, leaving it open for public debate. Housing minister Sovan Chatterjee said the government was working closely with Credai and other stakeholders to implement the legislation. “Safeguarding the interest of home buyers is a priority,” he said.

But till that becomes a reality, home-buyers in Bengal will be at a disadvantage to those states where RERA provisions are in place.

Till RERA is notified, buyers who intend to invest in projects will have no information other than that on the website of the real estate company. Under the act, it will be mandatory for real estate firms to get registered with the regulator. They will be required to submit detailed project reports, including the deadline, land title, name of the architects and agents and bank account details where the amount generated from project sales will be deposited. This amount cannot be used for other activities till the entire project is completed. Secondly, if a developer cheats a home-buyer, the latter will cannot approach the regulatory authority for justice because it does not exist, atleast as of now.

The Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai), the apex body of builders, expects the legislation to provide a positive impetus to the industry in the state. “RERA will usher in an era of stability, standardisation and flow of funds. It will create a bond of trust between buyers and developers. It will also weed out unscrupulous players and only those who deliver quality for money and abide by the deadlines will survive,” Credai president Nandu Belani said on the sidelines of an interaction organised at Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

States like Maharashtra and Karnataka have completed 100% work while states in the northeast are faced with problems over land titles. While the Bengal government is most likely to miss the May 1 deadline, an MNC and its Indian franchise has already started conducting an audit on the health of the properties.

Source: The Times of India
Date: 29.04.2017