Developers cannot get away with dishonouring agreements they have made with customers. For the second time in a month, the consumer court has taken builders to task for trying to back out of agreements they have made with Mumbaiites.
Last week, the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed Arkade Developers Pvt. Ltd. to hand over the flat booked by Kandivli resident Namrata Gurav in 2004 without charging her anything extra than what had been agreed at the time of booking the flat. The developer has to give her possession within four months.
The issue goes back seven years. In April 2004, Gurav paid Rs51,000 and booked a 585 sq ft flat at Rs2,170 per sq ft in Bhoomi Arcade, Kandivli (East).
A month later, when she visited the project site, she found that the construction was stuck. On inquiring, she was told that because of some legal issues, the agreement of sale would be executed later. Two years later, Gurav learnt that the construction had resumed. However, when she visited the site in December 2006, the developer’s representative informed her that she would get the flat she had booked only if she paid the new, higher market rate, failing which her flat would be sold to another buyer.
Gurav moved the consumer court in February 2007.
In court, the developer argued that Gurav had paid the booking amount to an altogether different firm, to Arkade-Bhoomi Enterprises, and so she was not a consumer of Arkade Developers. Gurav, however, obtained information from the office of the Company Law Board that showed the two firms were linked.
The developer denied that Gurav had paid the booking amount, but she furnished a receipt that the developer had indeed accepted the amount.
The bench held the developer guilty of deficiency in service for failing to execute the Agreement for Sale despite receiving the booking amount, and for denying possession of a ready flat.
The forum noted that under provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, it is mandatory for a developer to execute the Agreement for Sale on receiving the booking amount and ordered that Gurav be handed over the flat.