Possession without OC: Action ordered against 45 homebuyersUpdated: Jul 25, 2020 23:57 IST
The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRera) recently called for prosecution of 45 homebuyers for taking possession of their apartments without the premises possessing an occupation certificate (OC). Apart from the buyers, MahaRera also asked the municipal commissioner concerned for similar action against the project promoters for handing over possession, which it said was an offence.
“The Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act prohibits the occupation of the building without occupancy or completion certificate and it is an offence,” said MahaRera member BD Kapadnis in his order.
The order referred to the case filed by builders Niranjan Dashpute and Dattatray Dashpute against the landowner, the Saste brothers, accusing them of causing obstruction in completing their project — Nivrutti Heights — in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Both parties had entered into a development agreement on July 9, 2012, where the project was to be completed within 36 months. However, disputes arose, which forced the Dashputes to approach MahaRera.
The Dashputes contended that they were unable to procure the OC for their building since the Saste brothers — Rajkumar, Sanjay and Vijay — were causing obstruction and thus not allowing them to complete the project and install a fire-safety system in the premises.
The Saste brothers defended themselves, saying that the builders used substandard construction material and the 45 families staying in the building were not provided amenities promised to them.
Kapadnis, in his ruling, directed the Saste brothers not to create obstacles and allow the builders to complete the project. However, he came down heavily on both parties as well as the occupants over the issue of people staying in the building without an OC.
He directed the MahaRera secretary to bring to the notice of the Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal commissioner to take legal action against the builder, landowners and also the occupants. “Section 3 (2) (i) of Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, 1963, prohibits a builder from inducting any person without completion certificate into the flats and also prohibits the buyer from entering into possession of such flat without Occupancy Certificate or the Completion Certificate,” said Kapadnis.
Earlier, he said, “I have been told that 45 families have already moved into this building, which is not yet completely constructed and which is not safe to live in the absence of a fire-safety system. The respondent [Saste brothers] cannot be allowed to put the lives of others in danger for their own sake or benefit,”
Currently, there are three lakh buildings in Maharashtra, of which 15,000 in Mumbai still don’t have an OC. The reason: The builders violated rules or did not construct a mandatory compound wall or defaulted in payments. The builders deserted the projects leaving the residents high and dry. The result was BMC allowed them to stay on humanitarian grounds, but they are charged double the amount for water bills. Various efforts by the government to regularise them through amnesty schemes failed as the penalty was too high and not affordable for flat owners.
According to Ramesh Prabhu, chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA,) it was an excellent decision, which would dissuade both builders and buyers from moving into flats without an OC. “As MahaRera is now monitoring the possession date, buyers need not worry as it is binding on the builders to give possession with OC to buyers before the deadline,” said Prabhu.