Homebuyers in Ghaziabad won’t have to risk their hard-earned investments in projects where building plans have been violated. The Ghaziabad Development Authority’s (GDA’s) advisory to the revenue department makes a completion certificate (a document which ensures that there has been no violation of building plans in a group housing project) now mandatory for registering the property.
What this means is that if a developer sells an apartment, he cannot get the deal registered at the sub-registrar’s office until he provides a copy of the completion certificate. Earlier, hundreds of homebuyers purchased and registered unauthorised flats under the impression that the registration ensured the legality of a property.
However, many of them were later sealed by GDA because of violation of building rules. HT Estates, in a November 17, 2012, issue had for the first time highlighted the plight of several homebuyers who had bought unauthorised flats through registered sale deeds and, much to their horror, had their apartments sealed by GDA later.
“The lack of coordination between GDA and the revenue department led to the problem, but now we have plugged the loophole. A completion certificate is now mandatory for the sale-purchase registration of a flat in Ghaziabad,” says Santosh Kumar Yadav, vice chairman, GDA.
Yadav also says that GDA has taken steps to stop developers from handing over the flats without the certificate. “There was lack of coordination between GDA and the electricity department, too. The electricity department used to give power connections to apartments which did not have the document.
Now, however, we have written to the electricity department asking officials not to provide power supply to the defaulters. Obviously, without power, possession of an apartment cannot be offered.”
Yadav also says that he is moving against errant developers who have sold unauthorised flats. “Most of the building violations in Ghaziabad can be regularised by penalising the developers. We will take several other measures to make the developers fall in line,” he adds.
The Uttar Pradesh Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership & Maintenance) Act, 2010, which was implemented almost three years ago, already has a provision which says, “An apartment may be transferred by the promoter to any person only after obtaining the completion certificate from the prescribed sanctioned authority concerned as per building by-laws.”
However, many development authorities, including GDA and Noida, have till now failed to implement the act. Many homebuyers were made aware of the issue only when Alok Kumar, representing the Federation of Apartment Owners’ Association of Ghaziabad, filed a public interest litigation in the Allahabad High Court last year.
Now, though GDA’s attempt to address a pertinent real estate issue has been welcomed by all, the homebuyers say that unless the authority implements the apartment act in totol and plugs all loopholes, any half-baked measure will further complicate matters.
“My question is, what will the GDA do if a developer does not take the completion certificate and delays possession? He already takes 95% money from the homebuyers during the several stages of construction and only 5% remains to be paid at the time of possession. Any other delay would mean more suffering for the buyers,” says Ajay Sharma, a sales executive, who bought a flat five years ago in a developer’s project which has still not been delivered.
The buck does not stop here. There have been cases of completion certificates being granted for builders’ apartments in which building plans have been flouted. “Some such cases in Indirapuram are under litigation. In one, the district magistrate’s report has indicted the GDA for flouting norms to grant completion,” says an RWA member of a society with such apartments, on the condition of anonymity.
However, the builders’ body, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) NCR, holds GDA responsible for the homebuyer’s plight. While welcoming GDA’s ‘no completion, no registration’ move, CREDAI NCR makes some suggestions, which according to it, is in the interest of both the buyers and developers.
Says Anil Kumar Sharma, president, CREDAI NCR, “It’s a very good decision. However, I think GDA should expedite the process of granting completion certificates. The problem is that when a developer applies for the certificate and GDA finds faults in the building plans, it takes months and years to sort out the matter.”
“GDA’s indecisiveness harms both the buyer and the developer. Unfortunately, buyers get the impression that the delay is on the developers’ part. GDA should impose a penalty for the violation at the time of application for completion, collect the money and immediately grant completion,” suggests Sharma.