We received an email from a buyer this morning and it reads as under:-
[su_quote]I had recently booked an apartment in a Noida/Greater Noida’s project. After few months into my purchase, I got to know that the Tower in which I had booked my dream home is illegal. Existing home buyers of the project have filed a complaint with Authority about it and development authority is planning to take an action against the builder. [/su_quote]
Let’s understand the issue in detail. This unfortunate homebuyer is from Noida region of NCR. India’s real estate industry is notorious for lack of transparency and Noida/GN tops the list. Developers in collusion with Authorities have violated every possible law. Recently, most of the developers added extra towers and floors in the existing project. This is done in violation of Uttar Pradesh Apartment Act 2o10.
What is the issue?
“Apartment Acts” across the country does not allow layout plans to be changed without the permission of existing homebuyers. Recently, Hon’ble Supreme Court also confirmed that a developer can not make modifications in the layout plan and floor plan without the consent of existing residents. However, most of the developers are still violating these laws. They have been adding extra towers by reducing the common areas of societies.
How many of you remember the case of “Supertech Apex and Ceyane Towers”? Well, let us try to refresh your memory. The residents of “Emerald Court” approached Hon’ble Allahabad High Court seeking demolition of Apex and Ceyane towers, which were not part of initial layout plans. Residents claimed that these towers were raised on their common areas like park. After few years of legal fight, the Court ordered demolition of these buildings. Money of all the flat allottees was only refunded after intervention of Supreme Court.
In recent past, homebuyers have started fighting for their rights. Homebuyers across Noida/Greater Noida are taking up the issue of layout plan changes with authorities. Buyers have filed written objections against any variation in originally finalized building plans.
Why should it concern you?
Did you book an apartment in the tower, that was added by developer in the revised layout plan? Or, did you even bother to check if this tower/apartment was in the original layout plan? Ok, did you even look at the project approvals? If you do not have an answer to any of the question, you should be concerned right now. Here is why:
Suppose you booked an apartment after few years of project launch. Most of the developers would have changed the layout plans and added few new towers by now. These towers are against the liking of the existing buyers/residents. Developers did not take mandatory approval from existing buyers for such change. In some cases, even the authorities violated all laws and either approved these changes or turned a blind eye to builder’s wrongdoings. Buyers oppose these layout plan change to concerned authorities. In case authorities fail to break the ice between developer and homebuyers, their are chances that buyers may approach the courts. There shall be one of these outcome of such illegal plan changes:
- Court orders demolition of new towers if constructed.
- Court orders developer to restores the original layout plan if construction is yet to start.
- Case may be stuck in courts for long long time.
In all possible scenarios, you shall be the ultimate sufferer. No matter what the final outcome of the case is, if you are part of such conflicts between developer and residents, you are bound to get sleepless nights. Banks also stops home loan disbursement foo such towers.
How to stay out of trouble
- Check the original layout plan: We have always emphasized on the list of documents that a homebuyer must check before buying a house. Project approvals such as layout plans are most important documents among others. If you are booking an apartment, ensure you validate the approved layout plan. You have to be careful while validating the plan, ensure that the developer is showing you the original layout plan. A revised layout plan ideally carries a stamp that reads “REVISED”. You are not looking for this plan, ask the developer for the initial layout plan. One way to ensure that the layout plan is original building plan and not the revised plan, the approval date should be close to the initial launch date of project.
- Speak to the existing buyers: One way to ensure that your tower is not an addition to original layout plan is to speak to existing home buyers. If you are purchasing an apartment in a society that is under construction for some time, there are good chances that you may find buyer’s group on social media websites or property forums like IREF.
Remember one thing, we are not talking about the artistic layout plans that are available on developer’s website. You need to check the original drawings approved by the local development authority.
What if you are already a victim of such fraud
If you overlooked the basics of property buying and purchased a property in such towers, first thing you need to do is to find out what the existing buyers/residents have to say about such layout plan changes. In case they do not have an issues with it, you may well be safe. However, if even few of them plan to raise objections to such changes, it should be enough to ring the alarm bell for you. Not every project have such issues but homebuyers should find out the facts take an informed decision.
In such cases, we suggest that you should speak to the developer and ask for an easy way out. Best solution is to ask the builder to shift your booking in one of the safe towers. In case the amount invested is not very high and you have only paid initial few payments, think of exiting the project. If case you have already invested significant amount of money, take a written assurance from developer that in the event of any litigation from existing residents, you shall be compensated. Chances of getting such declaration are very unlikely.
We recently suggested buyers to do proper research before purchasing a commercial property in group housing projects. Read more at:- Careful while buying commercial space in Group Housing projects
It is always advisable to do thorough study and homework before finalizing real estate deal. Delay of few weeks is worth rather regretting your decision later. Moreover you are committing huge sum to buy your Dream Home. Next time when you are planning to purchase an apartment in under construction project, ensure that your apartment is part of original layout plan.
Over to you:- we would like to know your experience on this subject. Please write in comments section if you have any advice for those buyers who are stuck.