The Haryana Regulation of Property Dealers and Consultants Bill, 2008, passed by the state assembly on Tuesday, is a landmark move to reign in unscrupulous property dealers. Haryana’s neighbours, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, would do well to follow its example and enact a similar law themselves.
The Union Urban Development Ministry had drafted a legislation to rein in errant builders in the National Capital Region of Delhi two years ago. But the bill is yet to see the light of the day. Amid allegations and counter allegations that the proposed law was favouring the builders’ lobby on the one hand, or was being too soft on government agencies like the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on the other, it was soon tied up in bureaucratic knots and set aside.
Thus in the national capital there is no system in place to protect property buyers from unscrupulous real estate developers, agents and promoters.
There are stories galore of these people making tall promises of first-rate facilities in flats on sale, but ultimately, once the payment had been pocketed, providing far less.
Instances of substandard material being used in construction, cheap accessories being fitted, and massive delays in completing construction are rampant. But there is very little people can do once the money has been handed over and the flat taken possession of. Barring cases of rank cheating, when criminal complaints can be lodged with the police, there is no other recourse. There is no authority in place to take errant builders to task.
There is no way property buyers can challenge even government agencies providing housing like the DDA if the final product delivered is not up to the mark.
A Real Estate Regulatory Authority had been mooted precisely to fill this gap. Its mandate would have been to regulate property transactions, impose limits on the commissions charged by property dealers, and bring transparency to real estate transactions.
Union Minister of State for Urban development Ajay Maken had said at a seminar in 2006 that the regulatory authority bill for Delhi would be a model bill, which other states would follow. But there is still no bill, and Haryana has stolen Delhi’s proposed thunder.