Considering the number of disputes pending before various forums concerning apartment allotments, delay in completion, missing amenities, sub-standard quality of construction, wrongful cancellation, inadequate compensation for delay in completion, escalation and hidden costs etc, it is all the more important that care is taken at the time of booking an apartment to avoid any disillusionment and mental agony in the long run.
Chain of documents: The apartment buyer should demand the chain of documents which includes the rights and title of the land and the building in which the apartment has been proposed. It is important to know about all encumbrances on such land or building or any right, title, interest or claim of any person over such land or building. A clear statement with respect to any pending legal proceedings or order involving the land and building is important.
Building sanction: The certified copy of the building layout plan and the floor plan of the apartment building sanctioned by the prescribed authority with the seal and date of approval are also important. Buyers should see that the promises or claims by promoters match the sanctioned plans. The layout plans handed to buyers along with the sales brochure is not an authenticated document and may vary from the actual sanctioned plan. The copy of the licence issued to the promoter and the no objection certificate (NOC) issued by the fire department, airport authority and environment department should also be collected.
Deed of declaration: The promoter is required to supply the copy of the deed of declaration which gives the details of all apartments, the common areas and facilities, besides giving the list of common assets like water pumps, water tanks, lifts, and elevators etc.
Builder-buyer agreement: It is important to go through the contents of the builder-buyer agreement and ensure that the time of completion of the project is set out clearly. It is important to verify whether the developer will adequately compensate the buyer in case of delay in completion of the project and the duration within which a buyer can demand full refund and compensation on grounds of delay. It is important to understand the terms of exiting the project and the earnest money that shall be forfeited and the time within which refund shall be made.
Credentials of the builder/promoter: It is important to look into the credentials of the builder/promoter and do a thorough check of his past projects, the delivery record by reaching out to present customers. The projects delivered in the past will give a clear indication of the policies and the orientation of the company. Adequate knowledge about the promoters/directors of the company is also important.
Site visit: Visiting the project site and ¬ verifying the layout plans at the site office is extremely important.
RTI: It is a good idea to file right to information (RTI) queries with the authorities periodically ¬during the project to find out about the status of payments made by the developer to the ¬authorities ¬concerned and about any -alterations being approved by the authority after the allotment.
It is better to assure oneself with all these facts and documents before investing one’s hard-earned money in any project whether for self-occupation or for future investment.
(The writer is an advocate in the Supreme Court)