Citizen groups, housing activists and experts in Mumbai welcomed the new rules proposed under the Legal Metrology Act by the Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO). The introduction of these rules will empower flat-buyers by allowing them to complain against developers if they receive less carpet than what is mentioned in the sale agreement.
On Thursday, Girish Bapat, state minister for food, civil supplies and consumer protection, confirmed that landmark rules framed by LMO, a statutory body under the department, have been forwarded to the Central government.
If the new rules are sanctioned by the government, the LMO, which is in charge of enforcing rules related to weights and measures while goods and services are sold to the consumers, will be able to measure the carpet area and prosecute the errant developer, under section 30 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
This could attract a penalty of Rs10,000 for first-time offenders and imprisonment of upto one year for second-time offenders.
“For the past two decades, a majority of builders have been ignoring the measuring standards, and have been fleecing home-buyers by giving them less carpet area than what is promised in the sale agreement. With the introduction of these rules, the competent authority will decide if the developer has sold the right area or not,” said advocate Vinod Sampat, expert in housing matters.
At present, consumers have a common complaint about being cheated by developers when it comes to carpet area. However, home-buyers rarely complain, since it involves litigation and there is no specified method of measuring the area.
“Introduction of these rules will bring transparency while purchasing the house. If anyone has any doubt, the LMO will certify the exact area of the flat. It will be a win-win situation for both home-buyer and developer, as future litigation can be avoided,” said Dr MS Kamath, general secretary, Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI).
Housing activists welcomed the move. “This will make the system of registering complaints easier for flat-buyers,” said Santosh Daundkar, housing activist.