A broken promise, an incomplete flat and a big hole in the pocket

For thousands of people whose dream to shift into their own flat lies shattered, the Real Estate Act offers some relief

rahul

Rahul Dass | May 3, 2016


#Noida   #ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation   #Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act   #housing   #Real Estate   #NCR   #Akhilesh Yadav  
Amrapali Silicon City project
Amrapali Silicon City project

I still vividly remember that nippy February evening in 2010 when and I and my wife drove down to a real estate broker’s office in Noida and booked our dream flat in Amrapali Silicon City, with the hope that we would, in a couple of years, shift into our own abode.

That night we celebrated as we didn’t realise what lay ahead. The dream flat was actually just that – a bit of wishful thinking and the beginning of an unending nightmare. It has been six years and we are still waiting to move into our home.

The much awaited Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 came into force on May 1, setting in motion the process of making operational rules and creation of institutional infrastructure for protecting the interests of consumers and promoting the growth of the real estate sector in an environment of trust, confidence, credible transactions and efficient and time-bound execution of projects. 

The Act should provide some relief to aspiring home owners like us, who have pumped in their hard-earned money into something that is still far from complete.

Like clockwork, the lending bank helps itself to the EMI, leaving little elbow room in the beginning of the month. Then there is the rent to be paid. To top it up, the chartered accountant explains that you can only get full taxation benefits when you take possession of the flat.

Anybody who is going through this would vouch that it feels as if your finances are being clawed away and you can’t do anything about it. It is a grim and helpless situation.

What makes it worse is that since a substantial amount of money is taken away by the EMIs and rent, there is precious little left for the small joys of a family. Eating out, watching a movie in a cinema hall, a weekend trip, buying clothes, the anniversary celebration – all gradually fade away.

We can still understand it, but what about our son who is growing up in an environment where debt hangs heavy? Lately, he too has started to cease making any major demands, knowing well that his parents can ill afford it. As parents, it is heartbreaking.

From our side, we have paid up every time the builder sought money. They would send us the demand letter, which we would dutifully put up at the bank, which in turn issued a cheque and also promptly increase the EMI.

In July last year, we heaved a sigh of relief when we paid the last instalment to Amrapali – five years after we booked the flat. We were assured that we will get our flat within three months. Nine months have passed since the last payment was made and there is no sign yet of the flat being handed over to us.

We regularly make an increasingly disappointing visit to Amrapali Silicon City in Sector 76, Noida, to see our incomplete flat and the supervisor gives an explanation as to why it has not yet been completed. But he has no answer to the big question: when do we get our flat?

Some of us are so desperate that we are even willing to shift into a flat that is far from complete. Amrapali has done great injustice to homebuyers, even as the Akhilesh Yadav government just sat and watched. It is now that when the assembly elections are around the corner in Uttar Pradesh that the authorities in Noida are trying to do something about it.

However, that is too little and too late. We have already spent endless hours tossing and turning in bed, and on many nights have woken up suddenly with clammy hands, worried about our fate.

Our heart bleeds when we see the incomplete towering structure where the work is still on and wonder whether we are cursed to have decided to book a flat in this mega city and thought it to call our home.

The Real Estate Act calls for the early setting up of Real Estate Regulatory Authorities with whom all real estate projects have to be registered and appellate tribunals for adjudication of disputes is the key for providing early relief and protection to the large number of buyers of properties.

That should provide us some relief, probably.

The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 10 and all eager homebuyers began to closely follow this legislation. Then the Lok Sabha passed it on March 15 and the president accorded his assent on March 25. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 was published in the gazette for public information on March 26 while 69 sections of the law were notified by the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation on April 27, bringing the Act into force with effect from May 1.

We hope that this change in the statute book will provide relief to many home owners like us who just want their long awaited flat, a small world which they can call their own.
 

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