NRI flat buyer struggles to recover Rs 26 lakh from Naigaon builder and RERA can't do much

Oct 05, 2017, 11:50 IST | Laxman Singh and Chetna Yerunkar

The extremely stringent MahaRERA (Maharashtra-Real Estate and Regulation Act) may have come into effect, but home-buyers continue to be at the receiving end of the unprofessionalism of builders

The extremely stringent MahaRERA (Maharashtra-Real Estate and Regulation Act) may have come into effect, but home-buyers continue to be at the receiving end of the unprofessionalism of builders.

Ashish Shukla, 30, a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) from the United Arab Emirates, had dreamed of settling down in India.

Ashish Shukla

Today, he is running from pillar to post to recover R26lakh, a sum he made as initial investment to a builder who had promised to give him his flat this year. Shukla says, far from being handed possession, construction on the project has not even begun.

Adding to his woes is the fact that AVF Realty is not registered under MahaRERA, which means Shukla will not get much help from authorities either. Nevertheless, Shukla has made several complaints to RERA via email.

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In 2015, Shukla had invested in the AVF Greens project that was expected to come up in Naigaon East. The builder was to construct five buildings, of nine floors each, and hand them over to buyers by 2017. Shukla had paid R26 lakh as the booking amount on two flats of 1 BHK each. When he arrived to check on the project in May this year, he realized work had not begun.

Plot where the project was to come up

Speaking to mid-day from UAE, Shukla said, "It was my dream home. I had taken a personal loan and had also put all my savings into the two flats. I have travelled from UAE over and over again by taking leave from work only to meet the developer, but he has ignored my calls and has been unavailable at his office."

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He added, "As an NRI, it is difficult for me to travel to India often. When I visited the promoter in May, he assured me he would return the money or accommodate me in some other ready-to-move-in project by August. But, nothing has happened till date."

Another home buyer of the same project, Surekha Valunju, said she had paid R5 lakh as booking amount in March 2016. "Apparently, the project has been stuck since 2013 since the proposed site is a wetland. Despite this, the developer accepted the booking amount. It's been more than a year and there is no progress. In February 2017, I applied for cancellation of booking."

Also read - Mumbai: Builder arrested for selling redeveloped flats of allottees in Goregaon housing society

She added, "After chasing the developer for months, he finally gave me a post dated cheque, that too only for 50% of the amount."

Ashish Shukla with his familyAshish Shukla with his family

Developer's side
According to the developer, the project has been put on hold as a court case is ongoing. Hussain Boxwala of AVF Greens, said, "As there were no further permissions, after the VVMC's Commencement Certificate, because the project is on a wetland and the case is pending in court, we could not register it with RERA nor could we complete the project. But, as per the allotment agreement, I am returning the money to whoever has come to me with booking cancellation requests. I also had a hearing at RERA on September 27, where I signed an undertaking." Shukla refused to elaborate on details of the undertaking.

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RERA Speak

RERA officials said that a detailed analysis was being conducted as per the complaints coming online over unregistered projects. Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, member of RERA, said, "If the developer fails to register the project with RERA, he could be penalised 10% of the total project cost and if he has registered and not complied with RERA rules, then he can be booked/jailed for three years."

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