Builders and developers cannot, under any circumstances, demand a new rate for flats already booked at an earlier rate, a Mumbai consumer court has ruled.
The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Forum last week held that demanding extra money for flats in delayed projects is a breach of the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, 1963, and amounts to an unfair trade practice.
A bench of forum president JL Deshpande and member Deepa Bidnurkar was hearing a complaint filed by Borivli-based couple Ranjana and Chandrakant Khatkul alleging deficiency in service on the part of Kanakia Spaces, a development company that demanded extra money from them after a housing project in Borivali (West) was delayed.
The couple had booked a 1,105-sq-ft flat in the project in 2002. By April of that year, they had paid Rs 1.05 lakh as a booking amount.
Thereafter, the project was delayed and, when work resumed, a Kanakia Spaces employee told the couple to either pay the new market rate or cancel their booking and accept Rs 3 lakh in return.
The couple instead app-roached the consumer forum.
There, Kanakia Spaces took the stand that the oral agreement with the couple had come to an end because they, the developers, had failed to procure additional development rights and complete the project on schedule.
The forum, however, did not find any mention of such a stipulation in the booking memo and therefore held that the developer was trying to profit from its delay.