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Should homebuyers accept a refund?

Legal experts say payments will be held up if case goes to SC

realestate Updated: May 02, 2014 20:18 IST

After the direction of Allahabad High Court to demolish two towers – Apex and Ceyane - in Supertech Emerald Court’s group housing project, 600 homebuyers who have invested `40 lakh to `55 lakh are clueless about the course of action they have to follow.

While some buyers feel it’s best to get a refund and invest the money in other ‘safe’ projects, others say they are thinking of appealing to the Supreme Court to resolve their problems as the compensation is inadequate given the property price escalation in the last five years.

Bhaskar Mishra, a 28-year-old management consultant with a Gurgaon-based IT company, who invested about `35lakh in 2009, wants to withdraw his money from the Emerald Court project.

“I personally believe that there is no point getting involved in litigation but it’s not easy to get a refund. Also, the developer has stopped answering our e-mails so we don’t know what to do,” says Mishra.

Another homebuyer, K K Mittal, has a different take on the whole issue. He says, “If the developer goes to the Supreme Court and gets a stay on the Allahabad High Court judgment, he will not refund any money. In that case, we have no option but to be a party to the litigation. Some of the homebuyers have to pay for their rented apartments as well as EMIs. The longer it takes for the dispute to be resolved in the Supreme Court the bigger the loss suffered by the homebuyers.”

Mittal also feels that the refund amount is not sufficient even at the rate of 14% compounded annually - as directed by the Allahabad High Court.

D K Sharma, who has a flat in Apex tower, says ready-to-move-in apartments in other projects in Sector 93B cost between `7500 to `8000 per sq ft and there is no project in which “we can get flats at the rate of `5000 per sq ft. So we want to fight for the apartment. We don’t want a refund.”

However, RWA members of Supertech Emerald Court, on whose petition the Allahabad High Court passed the demolition order, suggest that the homebuyers of the two towers should get a refund and invest the money somewhere else.

“I don’t think homebuyers will lose anything if the developer refunds their money. If someone bought the project in 2009 at the rate of `2900 per sq ft and if he gets the refund at the rate of 14% compounded annually, his investment would have doubled – at around `5,000 per sq ft,” says Ajay Goel, an RWA member.

He says he fails to understand why some homebuyers are insisting on staying invested in the project and want to file a petition in the Supreme Court. “The case will go on for several years and their financial burden will go up due to legal expenses,” he adds

Rahul Rathod, a Noida-based lawyer, says, “The developer can make the homebuyers wait for a few months as the High Court has given the developer four months to give refunds. If the money is not paid the homebuyers can file a contempt petition in the Allahabad High Court.”