Flat buyers get excuses and a six-month wait after MahaRERA order

Nov 08, 2018, 08:15 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Vidhi Developers owe six buyers of flats over Rs 4 crore for not adhering to the assurances of handing over the possession of the flats on time

Flat buyers get excuses and a six-month wait after MahaRERA order
The buyers were supposed to get their flats in the Kandivli project in December 2015

Six buyers of flats in Vidhi Developers's upcoming - and delayed - project in Kandivali West might have to wait longer to get their money back from the builders. Their lawyer fears the recent order given by the MahaRERA directing the suburban collector to attach the property might not be executed as easily and turn out to be a long-drawn process as the collector's office has begun making excuses even before accepting the order.

The developers owe the buyers over Rs 4 crore for not adhering to the assurances of handing over the possession of the flats on time. One of the buyers is Kotachiwadi resident Sainath Sarode (37) who had booked a flat in the project in 2011, when he was working in the Middle East. He'd paid over R41 lakh for the 680 sq ft property, which was promised to be delivered to him by December 2015.

Didn't stick to his word
Sarode told mid-day, "As the project was not ready, I'd decided to pull out of it and demanded a refund from the builder, which he did not give, even after making promises. Six families who'd booked flats in the same project came together and dragged the builder to MahaRERA, who later passed an order in our favour. However, when we went to the collector's office to submit the order copy for attaching the property of the developer in order to give us a refund, we were asked to come after six months. We were surprised." After the order came through, the buyers procured the warrant to attach the builder's properties in the last week of October.

He added, "Before the MahaRERA hearing, the developer's representative had made assurances of giving us a refund with the interest amount and asked for an extension, which was agreed upon and he still did not stick to his word. The developer was to refund us our principal amount in three instalments, and the fourth one would have covered our interest amount. But, he did not honour a single instalment, therefore we moved MahaRERA again and an attachment order (mid-day has a copy) was passed for seizing developer's assets and refunding the flat buyers."

No clue about what's next
"We were hopeful that post MahaRERA's order, we'll get our money back, but seeing the response from the collector's office, we have no clue about the next procedure. We don't even know what properties the developer has and what action the collector will take," he said. According to advocate Godfrey Peminta, who represented the buyers before MahaRERA said, "Even after passing an order in favour of the flat buyers, they have to run from pillar to post. The whole object of RERA gets defeated if authorities like the Collector cite shortage of staff to execute the warrant of attachment of properties of the builder in a time-bound manner."

He added, "Does it take four months to execute such a warrant? Because the staff at the Collector's office informed the flat purchasers that it will be executed only after March 2019." When mid-day reached out to the Collector's office, a senior officer said, "We are currently tied up with electoral duties. This matter will be taken up as and when the quantum of load reduces."

Rs 4cr
Amount developers owe the buyers

'All we need is time'
Jinam Shah, the legal representative of Vidhi Developers, said the project was left incomplete for sometime due to financial difficulties. But they've started work again. Regarding the buyers, she said, "We'd asked for some time from the flat buyers, but the time given to us was very limited, and as we could not arrange for the instalment money, we could not honour our promise. Also we must understand that the amount is also very huge and it would not have been possible to arrange the same in such a short time." "We're also contemplating approaching MahaRERA once again, to request them to reconsider the attachment order, and as our intent is to repay the flat buyers; all we are asking for is some extra time to adhere to the payment schedule dates. We are going as per the procedure and will follow the same," Shah said.

Developer owes...
. Sainath Sarode: R71,68,283
. Sankalp Kelkar: R61,87,257
. Melanie Mascarenhas: R1,08,33,163
. Rupa Shetty: R53,53,416
. Rinchen Wangdi: R52,78,563
. Nima Wangdi: R52,78,563

It will be a long wait
Advocate Vinod Sampat, an expert on MahaRERA, admitted that the flat buyers will indeed have to wait for a long time. "Such orders are welcome, but we must also understand that while MahaRERA has the power to pass such orders, it is up to the Collector to use his discretion to give a final hearing to the developer and MahaRERA representative before deciding on the property and assets that need to be attached, which in itself is a time-consuming process. MahaRERA does not currently have a mechanism where a representative will appear before the Collector during the final hearing. This also means that unless more manpower is appointed, it will remain a challenge," he said.

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