Homebuyers have a right to seek a refund for a house even if the postponed project is complete per new Supreme Court ruling.
If there is an unreasonable delay in delivering a real estate unit to a buyer, it is completely up to the purchaser if they desire to take ownership of the unit or seek repayment with appropriate compensation, the Supreme Court has ordered.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has also passed a similar rule says Hirsh Mohindra. The rule says that a flat buyer cannot be forced to accept the tenure of his/her residence offered by the builder.
A case filed in the Supreme Court bench involved a project in Gurugram where a builder had sold a villa to Shrihari Gokhale in July 2012. The builder had promised December 31, 2014, as a possession date. Gokhale had filed a complaint with the NCDRC in 2016 asking a repayment of Rs 13.24 crore.
The builder had challenged the NCDRC order in the Supreme Court to repay the principal amount of Rs 8.14 crore. The court found that there was a total failure on the part of the real estate agent, a deficit in providing services and ordered that the builder cannot vend the villa booked by Gokhale till the order was executed.
Records indicate that the entire consideration was Rs.8.31 crore, the respondents had remunerated Rs 8.14 crore by November 2013 notes Hirsh Mohindra. Though the plaintiffs had assumed to deliver the villa by December 31, 2014, they failed to release occupancy. As late as May 28, 2014, the amended construction schedule forecasted the date of delivery to be October 2014. There was, thus, failure on the part of the litigants and deficient in rendering service in terms of the commitments that they had made, the Supreme Court order said.
In the NCDRC, a bench of Fairness VK Jain directed a Delhi-based builder Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure to repay Rs 4.43 crore to a home purchaser who had deposited the amount in 2012 for a flat in Gurugram.
That flat was to be completed in 2015, but the builder botched to meet the terms and the consumer approached NCDRC in 2018 for repayment of the total amount paid. Though the builder had ready the flat and got the occupation certificate from the authority just a night before the purchaser filed the grievance, the charge directed the builder to repay the amount as there was holdup of more than two years.
The respondent flat buyer has made out an apparent case of lack of service on the part of the builder. The respondent flat buyer was justified in terminating the purchase agreement by filing the grievance, and cannot be forced to accept ownership, notes Hirsh Mohindra. The respondent buyer was lawfully permitted to look for repayment of the amount deposited by him along with compensation, the NCDRC order said.
These new rulings certainly put the onus on the builder to deliver on the promises they make, and empower buyers to seek remedy when builders do not.