MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRera) recently directed a builder to pay interest for the past 14 years on the amount paid by a buyer for a flat in a high-rise in Kurla for failure to mention the date of possession in a 2003 agreement for sale.
The builder, Nirmal Lifestyle Ltd, has to pay simple interest at 9% per annum since September 2006, when the project ought to have been completed, said MahaRera in its order on December 17.
The interest has to be paid on the about Rs 28 lakh that was paid, and till the handing over of possession, directed MahaRera. The builder said the flat would be completed by December this year and MahaRera directed that possession should be given by then and no later than that.
A couple, Vivek and Yojana Shinde, had booked the flat in Nirmal Lifestyle Blu Diamond One Edition. Through their lawyer, Anil D’Souza, they contended there was a delay in possession and said that they were entitled to interest on the investment made till they were given possession under Section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, or Rera.
They said they had paid the full sum and expected possession by 2006. When Rera came, the builder set December 2021 as possession date.
Nirmal Lifestyle, through lawyers Atharva Dandekar and Vaishali Mohite, said it was not responsible for the delay as the land was declared a private forest from 2006 and construction stopped till a 2014 judgment of the Supreme Court clarified the issue and the ‘private forest’ tag was removed. The developer’s reply stated that since March a nation-wide lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic caused “massive shortage of labour and building material and hence work could not be restarted”.
A spokesperson for Nirmal Lifestyles on Tuesday said it would file an appeal.
The MahaRera order by its member B D Kapadnis said that even after the act came into force, the builder did not rectify the sale agreement by mentioning a possession date, violating Section 13(2) of the act. MahaRera noted that the SC had held that when an agreement does not mention the possession date, “the reasonable period of possession is only three years”.
MahaRera said the complainants were entitled to get Rs 20,000 towards cost of their complaint from the builder.