New housing law lacks clarity: Experts | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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New housing law lacks clarity: Experts

The proposed Maharashtra Housing Act, 2012, that will repeal the earlier housing regulatory law, is intended to protect your rights as a flat buyer, but experts say it will fail because it lacks clarity and the teeth to punish errant builders.

mumbai Updated: Apr 12, 2012 02:14 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

The proposed Maharashtra Housing Act, 2012, that will repeal the earlier housing regulatory law, is intended to protect your rights as a flat buyer, but experts say it will fail because it lacks clarity and the teeth to punish errant builders.

“This law is in no way an improvement over the earlier Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963. The authority has little power to give justice to flat buyers,” said Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association.

He added that several provisions in the proposed legislation had loopholes for unscrupulous developers (see graphic).

Consider some of the provisions. All developers will have to register their project details on the website of the housing regulatory authority. But, these details can be posted by the promoter without any independent verification by the authority, and without getting all their approvals in place.

The central provision of the law is that you can drag your developer/promoter to the authority for not complying with any project conditions or not giving possession within time. But, the authority cannot initiate criminal proceedings against the errant builder.

It cannot even cancel registration unless that is cleared by court of law. It only has powers to penalise builders ranging from Rs 1,000 per day for contravening orders to a maximum of Rs 1 crore. And flat owners can also be penalised for contravening orders or not paying amount as per agreement for Rs 10,000 or 1% of the flat’s cost.

Prabhu also pointed out that one of the side effects of repealing the earlier law instead of amending it meant that several well established high court and apex court judgements in favour of consumers would no longer apply to the new law.

Sachin Ahir, minister of state for housing, said: “In earlier law, there was provision for criminal proceedings. But, I don’t think any builder was convicted. This authority can recommend filing of FIR as well. Let’s not shoot down this bill prematurely.”