Lodging a Complaint under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) RERA Act, 2016
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 provides a forum to the buyers (allottees) where they can seek redressal of their grievances which often arise due to the misconduct of the builder/promoter or sometimes, the real estate agent. Prior to the enactment of this Act, home buyers were forced to seek redressal via consumer forums or civil courts. This Act not only addresses the grievances of the buyers but also acknowledges difficulties faced by the builders and promoters from time to time due to various reasons.
Advantages of lodging a complaint under RERA
One of the most common reasons why it is advisable to approach the Regulatory Authority is because it is consumer friendly. Filing a complaint under RERA is consumer friendly (a buyer can file a complaint without the help of a lawyer) as it focuses only on real estate grievances. Filing a complaint in a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, or National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission requires time and patience as such forums deal with all kinds of consumer disputes which are not particularly related to the real estate industry. Thus, it is beneficial for the home buyer (allottee) to file a complaint under RERA as it would render faster results than other redressal forums.
Filing a complaint under RERA is an easy task and can be done by an individual himself. One needs to keep their documents regarding the complaint ready while filing an online complaint. RERA has, from time-to-time resolved grievances put forward by home buyers (allottees)
When to file a complaint with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority?
It is always advisable to seek relief from RERA as soon as a person is aggrieved by the conduct of the builder or promoter. Delay in possession of the real estate property, Structural defects in construction, Poor quality construction, Promotion of real estate projects without getting it registered from the state’s Regulatory Authority, False advertisements of real estate projects, Non-adherence to sanctioned plan for construction, Non-delivery of Commencement certificate, completion certificate, and occupation certificate (OC) to the allottee, Starting construction without getting suitable governmental permissions, Refusal to accept cancellation booking, and Hidden charges are few of the many reasons for seeking relief from the misconduct of the promoter or builder.
Indian courts and tribunals, from time to time has provided relief to homebuyers. In Bikram Chatterji & Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors. [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 940 of 2017], around 48,000 aggrieved homebuyers approached the Supreme Court to seek relief from the fraud led by Amrapali Groups. After analysing all the facts of the case, Supreme Court directed NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation) to take over the construction of the stalled real estate projects of Amrapali Group. The court also directed the real estate authority of Noida and Greater Noida to issue completion certificate along with basic amenities for ready to move-in flats. This landmark judgement was a huge relief for buyers as the judgement favoured the buyer’s interests.
The time frame for dispute resolution under RERA
The Act does not prescribe a specific time frame for filing a complaint in RERA. Nevertheless, a complaint must comply with the time period as prescribed in the Limitation Act, 1963. It is to note that the time period under The Real Estate (Regulations and Development) Act, 2016 depend on the type and nature of the complaint. For example, in order to claim compensation from the builder/promoter under section 14(3) of the Act, the allottee must notify the builder/promoter about the issue within five years from the date of getting possession over the said property.
Lodging a complaint with the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (U.P. RERA)
Section 31(1) of the Act gives the buyers a right to either individually or in groups/association, file a complaint with the Regulatory Authority of the state or with the adjudicating officer (as the case may be), for any violation or contravention of the various sections and provisions prescribed under the Act. There is no specified list of documents that are obligatory for filing a complaint, however, the agreement to sell and conveyance deed (if available) are the two documents that are crucial for filing a complaint.
The procedure for lodging a complaint with the Authority is prescribed under rule 33(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Rules 2016.
Procedure for lodging a complaint with U.P. RERA [Form M]
Following are to steps to file a complaint under section 31 of the act:
• Step 1- Visit the state’s official RERA website (https://www.up-rera.in/index.aspx) and select the ‘Complaints’ section present at the top of the portal and then click ‘Register Complaint’
• Step 2- A log in page will open where the complainant is required to register themselves (if not already registered) and then log in.
• Step 3- After logging in, select ‘FORM M’ from the options. A complaint form will be displayed wherein the complainant is required to fill in all the asked details. The complainant is required to upload various documents such as the sale deed, registration number of the disputed project, etc. to support their complaint.
• Step 4- After filing the complaint, the complainant is then directed to a payment portal where they are required to pay a fee of one thousand rupees.
Procedure for seeking a Refund/Compensation with applicable interests from the Builder/Promoter [Form N]
According to rule 34(1), any aggrieved person can approach the adjudicating officer to claim his/her refund or compensation with applicable interests from the builder or promoter of the real estate project with respect to matters covered under section 12,14,18 and 19 of the Act. Such a complaint can be filed online by using the UP-RERA portal for redressal of the complaint.
Procedure for filing an Appeal in Real Estate Appellate Tribunal
Section 44 of the Act provides relief to any person who is aggrieved by an order or decision passed by the Regulatory Authority or adjudicating officer. This legal tool is available not only to the buyers (allottees), but also to the builders/promoters or real estate agents.
Every appeal which is to be filed under section 44(1) of the act must be in accordance with ‘FROM L’ along with a fee of one thousand rupees in favour of the Appellate Tribunal. The complainant must present an attested true copy of the order against which he is seeking relief, copies of all the documents which are relevant to the case, and an index of the documents.
Consequences of Non-Compliance of RERA Orders
Section 40 of the Act specifically mentions that in case a promoter, a real estate agent, or an allottee fails to comply with the decision/order passed by the Regulatory authority, adjudicating officer or the Appellate tribunal, the aggrieved person can file an application under RERA for the execution of the order and can recover the amount of compensation or refund as an arrear of land revenue. Upon receiving an execution complaint, RERA issues a recovery certificate (RC) to get it implemented by the district magistrate.
It is advisable to send a legal notice to the builder or promoter before filing an application for execution of order under RERA as the notice can be used as a proof and can strengthen the application.
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Vaishnavi Srivastava