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Home buyers unhappy with UP real estate watchdog as builders exploit loopholes

Home buyers say the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority has failed to protect their interests and ensure developers’ accountability. In the absence of a full-time chairman and members, the body is unable to get its orders implemented as cases drag on for years.

lucknow Updated: May 20, 2018 16:13 IST
M Tariq Khan
M Tariq Khan
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Home buyers,real estate,Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority
Lucknow figured third on the number of complaints regarding erring developers made with the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority, with Noida and Ghaziabad occupying first and second slot. (HT/File Photo)

Home buyers are disappointed with the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UPRERA), which they say, has failed to protect their interests and ensure developers’ accountability.

In the absence of a full-time chairman and members, the real estate watchdog lacks the teeth to get its orders implemented.

Consequently, whatever orders have been passed by the authority have been challenged in court by erring developers, who continue to exploit legal loopholes.

Experts say UPRERA is not a priority of the state government due to which its implementation has remained sluggish and flawed, a year after it was set up in UP.

“Principal secretary, housing, continues to be the interim chairman of UPRERA. He has delegated most of his powers to vice-chairmen of development authorities and secretary of the authority. It is a sorry state of affairs,” said an official associated with the office of the chairman.

“It has been years since I booked a flat with a developer. I lodged a complaint with UPRERA in October last year. But forget any relief, all I have got so far are dates from the regulator as the case lingers on,” said Arvind Kumar, a resident of Jankipuram Colony on Sitapur Road.

He said even if the regulator passes an order, the realtor says it would have no legal implications, as only an officer of district judge level is authorised to deal with such complaints, as per the Act.

Kumar is not alone. Hundreds of harried home buyers are facing a similar situation.

“When I booked a flat with this same developer in Lucknow, I was assured of possession in three years. But eight years have passed and not a single brick has been laid at the site by the realtor,” said Ruchi G.

An erring developer went to the extent of blaming the delay in project delivery to economic slowdown and demonetisation. “The economic slowdown and demonetisation have severely hit the real estate industry, which is passing through its toughest time. Considering the conditions, the respondent (developer) is entitled for extension of time,” pleaded the builder’s lawyer before the regulator.

A senior UPRERA official, requesting anonymity, said they had delivered verdicts in more than 200 cases out of the 1,500 complaints.

Lucknow figured third on the number of complaints made with the authority, with Noida and Ghaziabad occupying first and second slot.

“Only last week, we issued recovery challans against five developers, four of Gautam Buddh Nagar and one in Ghaziabad after they failed to comply with the authority’s order,” he said.

But with the realtors challenging the very authority of the chairman of UPRERA, who they say, cannot delegate his powers to his subordinates and plans to move court on the issue, such orders are unlikely to provide any succour to home buyers.

Home buyers allege that a full-fledged UPRERA is not a priority for the UP government despite the promise made by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath to protect their interest.

The officer quoted above admitted that they were bogged down with the surfeit of complaints in the absence of proper office, staff and infrastructure.

“In July, the state government had invited applications from both retired and serving officers for appointing chairman of UPRERA and its members. We got 13 applications for the post of chairman and 37 for the post of members,” said an official associated with the selection process.

The selection panel, he said, was headed by chief justice of Allahabad high court, who would recommend names of two candidates to the UP CM, of which one of them would be appointed as the chairman of the authority.

First Published: May 20, 2018 16:13 IST