Mumbai: Nightmare For Couple After Housing Finance Firm Loses Flat Sale Deed
Andheri residents run from pillar to post for solution after three deals to sell their Nalasopara flat fall through over deed
Chetna and Chandrakant Walam in Nalasopara. Pics/Nimesh Dave, Datta Kumbhar
A Mumbai resident, Chetna Walam, 42, has been running from pillar to post in a vain bid to retrieve a Sale of Agreement document or Sale Deed that has been misplaced by LIC Housing Finance, Fort branch, from whom she had taken a loan years ago. Walam is now finding it impossible to sell her flat without it.
Walam, who works with a pharmaceutical company in Andheri, lives in Chakala with her husband, Chandrakant Umaji Walam, and son, Ayush. Walam, an accountant, said, "In 2003, we bought a flat in Nalasopara for which we took a loan of Rs 3,25,000 from LIC Housing Finance, Fort branch." Ten years later, the Walams decided to shift to Andheri. Walam said, "In 2013, we took a 'top up' loan of Rs 5,00,000 from LIC Housing Finance and bought a flat in Chakala. This time, the loan was procured from the Santacruz branch of the institution.
Chetna Walam with her documents
Walam says the family then decided to sell their Nalasopara home. "My Nalasopara home is a fully-furnished, one-bedroom flat with 525 sq feet built-up area. In November 2017, we found a buyer, an army man, and were happy to strike a deal for Rs 28,50,000."
Walam said, "The army man had paid Rs 5,00,000 initially for the flat and I used that money to pay off my 'top up' loan. Imagine my shock when I learnt in November 2017 that the LIC office had misplaced my Sale Deed. They told me that my file could not be found. It had my original LIC policies, too." Walam added, "That's when my nightmare began. My husband and I used to run between Fort and Santacruz offices, begging for them to locate my file, spending hours at the office, many times at the cost of my work."
Deal called off
Meanwhile, things started falling apart as the army man said he was not getting a loan from his bank without the original Sale Deed. A True Copy of the deed would not do. In February 2018, he called off the deal.
Walam says, "He told me to return the Rs 5,00,000, but I had already used it to pay off my top-up loan. He called me a liar, and I had to constantly hear how I had tried to dupe him. Somehow, I took personal loans and returned his Rs 5,00,000." Walam is at her wits' end now. She said, "I have to repay several people. I do not want a True Copy of my Sale Deed, I want the original. Since March, two more prospective buyers have had to drop the idea of buying my Nalasopara flat without the Sale Deed. The LIC Housing Finance needs to buy my home at the current sale rate or sell it and give me the money. I feel suicidal at times because I am caught in a nightmare."
Police complaint filed
Walam filed a police complaint at Santacruz (W) police station in March, but they told her it is a civil case. "I want to ask the authorities what does one do when there are no answers. People say put this on Twitter, go to court, but I want to ask Modi sarkar, what are you doing for the common man?" she said.
Vinod Sampat, housing expert, says, "A True Copy is no substitute for the original Sale Deed. Chetna Walam needs to approach the consumer court which will help her get a hefty compensation from the State Commission. She can ask for compensation as high as Rs 99 lakh. The quantum to grant compensation is at the discretion of courts. Courts have awarded lakhs of rupees as compensation in such cases. Financial institutes often take matters like this very casually. The police needs to take cognisance of the complaint filed. They cannot pass if off as a civil matter."
Housing Finance Firm says
An LIC Housing Finance official said, "We have been requesting Chetna Walam to collect her True Copy and other documents but instead of doing that, she is going to the media and to the police. We have replaced her misplaced document with a genuine reconstructed document, which is as valid as the original." The official claimed that they did try hard to locate the document and there were at least two to three staffers working on Sundays trying to find it. "If a buyer has a problem securing a loan elsewhere on the reconstructed document, we are willing to give him the loan. We have also explained this to the police. We have a valid, legal replacement made and done in accordance with the law."
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