The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), the state housing authority that builds affordable homes, will have to return Rs1.18 lakh to one of its flat purchasers for selling him a flat that is 68 sq ft smaller than the area mentioned in the allotment letter and paid for. A consumer forum in the city passed an order to the effect last week.
In October 2006, the Mhada had allotted Borivli resident Yatish Dhabale a 604.61 sq ft flat in its scheme no. 152 at the rate of Rs1,730 per sq ft, for which he had accordingly paid a total of Rs10.45 lakh.
However, when Dhabale got possession of the flat in January 2007, he discovered that the area of the flat was lesser than what was promised. It was 536 sq ft. Dhabale had then approached the consumer forum seeking refund of the extra amount, and compensation.
The housing board flatly denied that Dhabale had got a smaller flat and requested the consumer court to dismiss the case. However, when a court-appointed architect visited the flat and measured it, he found it was only 468 sq ft against the promised 604.61 — minus 136 sq ft.
After this report submitted, the complainant filed an application seeking permission to amend his complaint, but for unexplained reasons, Dhabale withdrew the application and stuck to the original complaint that his flat was 68 sq ft smaller than promised.
A bench comprising forum president JL Deshpande and member VG Joshi found the Mhada guilty and has directed the housing board to refund
Rs1.18 lakh — the excess amount charged for the non-existent 68 square feet — with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date on which the complainant got possession of the flat in January 2007.
Dhabale will also get an additional Rs3,000 towards cost of the litigation.