‘Maharashtra RERA has brought developers and buyers on a common platform’
MahaRERA chairman Gautam Chatterjee talks about the challenges he faced and those ahead, as it completes a yearUpdated: May 01, 2018 11:01 IST
It was a boon for homebuyers when the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) was introduced a year ago.
They are now able to get their grievances resolved within a month. The Act protects homebuyers against quality defects for five years after getting possession of their flats.
After a remarkable one-year stint as MahaRERA chairperson, Gautam Chatterjee says that the coming year will be a challenging period as builders will start giving possession of apartments. MahaRERA will be flooded with complaints such as late possession, deficiency of services and amenities.
Chatterjee talks about the challenges he faced and those ahead.
How has the first year of MahaRERA been?
It has been a good beginning. We got an excellent response from all stakeholders –builders, realty agents as well as consumers.
Last year, there were doubts whether MahaRERA will actually deliver.
The whole issue was the previous Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act (MOFA) 1963 which was good but the implementation was poor. Homebuyers were always at the mercy of builders. Not anymore. As far as MahaRERA was concerned, we made it compulsory that all information needed to be on the digital platform from Day 1. This increased transparency and buyers got all information of the project.
How did Maharashtra succeed when most states still do not have a basic structure in place?
It was easy because I was involved in the whole exercise. My earlier stint as the housing secretary helped. There was clarity right from Day One and deadlines were sacrosanct for us.
What is the current status of registrations and complaints?
We have 32,000 registrations, of which, 14,000 are from real estate agents. We have 16,200 projects registered which have 18 lakh apartments. Of the 2,500 complaints registered in the past year, 2,100 have been disposed of. The Act gives 60 days to dispose of complaints, but we take an average of 47 days.
Many experts and lawyers point that MahaRERA does not give justice per se but it’s more like a compromise for homebuyers.
Our main thrust was to bring both builders and buyers on a common platform which was not the case before. Our aim is reconciliation between the two. Many started looking for an amicable solution and eventually withdrew complaints. In February, we also formed a Conciliation Forum of representatives of builders and consumer activists.
You have been registering agents but their main grouse is while they are being accountable, their problems such as non-payment of brokerage are not in the Act.
The Act is new and we are still learning. It is true that issues such as non-payment of brokerage are still not there. It will take some time to get such provisions in the Act.
Many builders complain that government authorities, who give permissions, are not covered in the Act. They say waiting for approval delays projects.
We call government officials to explain their stance if there is a delay. If we find them guilty of delays, we will write to the authority and ask them to take action.
What is your forward-looking agenda?
The next year is going to be challenging as builders will start giving possession of apartments. There are going to be issues and problems and we are working on them. We are holding regular interactions with builders and making them aware of the nitty-gritty to be taken care of while giving possession of houses.