Builder told to pay for poor quality construction and pathetic maintenance services – NCDRC

Hundreds of homebuyers are up in arms against home developers for poor services being provided. It is alleged that despite charging hefty amount in the name of maintenance, developers fail to deliver even basics of the services. Delivering  inferior construction quality after making tall claims about luxury living is another issues.

While homebuyers are taking to twitter and other social media platform to protest against the poor services, others are doing protests at developers office. One group decided to take the developer head on in the court of law. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) ordered the developer to pay rupees 1.25 lakh to each of the flat owners as compensation for following issues:

  • Inferior quality of construction
  • Undelivered amenities
  • Poor quality of maintenance

Earlier, one such order was passed in the case of ambience in the past: Disappointed with poor maintenance by builder? Ambience Lagoon case provides a glimmer of hope

Case Study

Residents of River Heights by Landcraft Developers in Raj Nagar Extension on NH 58 were aggrieved by the poor quality of construction and pathetic maintenance services by the developer in their society. Here are some of their grievances:

  • Out of the two lifts installed by the developers, both would always remain under repair.  There was also a persistent problem of water entering the lift pit from below the ground of the lift because of which the same used to become unusable.  KONE, the company, in their maintenance report mentioned that there is a problem of water entering the left pit and because of the same, the metallic parts of the lift were getting rusted and they underlined that any accident because of the above would be at the risk and consequences of the user/complainants.
  • the parking area on the ground floor is structurally defective. Builders have made a park over the roof of the parking area and the roof is constructed with inferior quality of material, due to that, there is constant seepage. The parking area due to rain water and watering done in the park always remains water logged and the roof of the parking area has also swollen because of the same.
  • the swimming pool never became functional, which was constructed over the clubhouse due to a problem of seepage and water logging.
  • On 16.04.2013, there was an earthquake of a very low intensity.  The building suffered major damages and cracks at a number of places, including pillars, rooms, balconies.  The nature and pattern of cracks were common in most of the flats.  It reveals the inferior quality of material used and also the defect in the type of constructions.

Aggrieved by above mentioned and few more grievances, the homebuyers sought the refund of their money at market price along with other damages.

Builder’s defense

  • At the time of registration of lease deed, homebuyers signed the condition which reads: “That the vacant and peaceful possession of the said apartment hereby sold has been delivered by the Vendor to the Vendee and the Vendee has satisfied himself about the quality, specifications and extent of construction and design of the said apartment and undertakes not to raise any dispute hereto after in connection therewith.”
  • They also signed a maintenance agreement which reads: In this article force majeure circumstances shall include Acts of God, war, terrorism, civil commotion, riot, fire, earthquake, floods, theft, strike etc. and any circumstances beyond the control of the Company and/or FM agency”. Thus, we are not liable for the loss occurred due to the earthquake.

Court’s observations

  • Buyers have produced certain other photographs, which show the poor and precarious condition of few flats.
  • There is one newspaper cutting pertaining to Ghaziabad Edition dated 17.6.2013 in the Hindi language, which shows that due to cyclone and rains, some of the trees were uprooted and a balcony had fallen down.  The statements of the buyers are supported by their affidavits.  It is, thus, clear that the developers used inferior material in constructing this project.
  •  The buyers are in their houses for a pretty long time.  It is not possible either to refund the money or put them in an alternative accommodation.  Their grievances can be compensated by payment of costs.  The buyers have paid the entire amount in the sum of Rs.1,32,28,400/- but as per the prayer clause, they are demanding more amount than the total price of the flats.

The Order

  • The developers are hereby directed to repair both the lifts within 90 days from receipt of the copy of this order.  The certificate of their cent percent correction/their being flawless be issued by KONE.
  • The swimming pool should be constructed/repaired within 90 days above said otherwise the OPs will be liable to pay a penalty of Rs.5,000/- per day till it is fully repaired.
  • Pay Rs. 1 lakh each to flat owners.
  •  The flat owners will get the needful themselves.  Costs of Rs.25,000/- to each of flats owners are also granted.

Copy of the order is attached for your reference: Order-River-Heights-by-Landcraft-Developers-in-NCDRC

Conclusion

We at The Logical Buyer welcome the judgement from the Hon’ble NCDRC. This shall put the notorious developers on their toes if they deliver inferiors quality or mess up with the facilities.

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