‘No occupancy docus, no possession for buyers’
The buyer is a non-resident Indian who had the flat in June 1994 at Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai.mumbai Updated: Jan 03, 2017 00:38 IST
A builder cannot compel purchasers to take possession of ready flats without obtaining an occupancy certificate from the municipal corporation concerned, a city consumer forum has said while ordering a developer to hand over possession of a 1500-square-feet flat to the buyer within 15 days.
The buyer is a non-resident Indian who had the flat in June 1994 at Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai.
Noting that possession of residential premises without occupancy certificates is an offence under the municipal laws, the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Forum said, “Offering a purchaser to take possession of a flat without obtaining an occupancy certificate first is nothing but an invitation to commit an offence.”
“This is illegal,” said the bench of forum president MY Mankar and member of SR Sanap, adding, “Developer cannot compel the purchaser to take possession of a flat without obtaining an Occupancy Certificate.”
According to his complaint, Gopal Idnani had booked the 1500-square-feet flat in Sunny Towers at Koparkhairane for a total consideration of Rs6.74 lakh. The NRI further claimed that within a span of a year, he had paid a total amount of Rs6.30 lakh to the developer, Star Builders and Developers, in various installments, but the developer avoided entering into a formal agreement for sale of the flat for one reason or the other.
Four years later, in November 1999, the complainant received a letter from the developer demanding Rs3.03 lakh as balance amount – with an addition of Rs100 per square feet in the rate of the flat. The developer also offered possession of the flat.
On enquiring about the project, the complainant realised that the developer had offered possession of the flat without an occupancy certificate. He issued a legal notice to the developer and called him to execute a formal sale deed and for legal possession of the flat. He approached the consumer forum in 2009, after the developer failed to respond to the notice.
Star Builders and Developers contested the complaint contending that the amount of consideration – Rs6.74 lakh — did not include municipal taxes and maintenance charges. Pointing out that there was provision of imposing penal charges at the rate of 36 % per annum on delayed payments of installments, the developer further contended that the allotment was cancelled as the complainant had failed to pay the sum of Rs3.03 lakh.
The developer further claimed that since the allotment was canceled because of a default on the part of the complainant, they cannot be held liable for deficiency in service. The district forum, however, held that the developer could not have levied interest at the rate of 36% per annum in absence of any written agreement between the parties, and therefore, could not have cancelled the allotment for want of payment of penal charges.