Data reveals that more than 80% of the group housing projects launched between 2009 to 2012 are behind delivery schedule. In most of the cases developers were very swift in milking 70 – 90% of the payments as per the construction linked plan. By the end of 2013, the construction activity came to grinding halt on most of the construction site.
Pained by the slow progress and arrogant behavior of the developers, most of the buyers formed home buyers group through social media and other forums. Dissatisfied with developer’s lame excuses, most of the time buyers ended up with doing what a middle class Indian can do, “Protest“. Images of buyers holding posters and begging authorities to take action against unruly developers were common on social media and newspapers across the country.
The bigger questions is, does protest alone really help?
Let’s discuss some of the cases where people protested at every possible platform and the results.
Case 1: One of the NCR based developer decided to eat more than what he can chew and launched too many projects. When most of the projects were falling behind schedule, buyers group decided to meet the developer. For every meet either they had to protest or force the developer to sit on discussion table. Every such meeting resulted in a new delivery schedule. Here is what happened;
|Year||Developer Promise after Protests||Status|
|March 2013||Project to be completed by March 2014||Missed|
|March 2014||Project to be completed by March 2015||Missed|
|March 2015||Project to be completed by March 2016||Almost Missed|
|Dec 2015||New Timelines will be provided again||Looks Scary|
Original schedule was to complete the project by Mid 2014.
Case 2: One of the renowned developer decided not to give delay penalty as per BBA and arbitrarily increased the super area of the flat by over 8%. Some other charges amounting to roughly a lakh rupees were also added in the possession letter. People who were expecting that the last 5% of the demand shall be adjusted with penalty got shock of their life when developer instead of compensating, slapped a demand note of 7-8L rupees on their face. So, the total loss to a home buyer was around approx 7 lakh ( 3 Lakh delay penalty and 4 lakh for super area increase and other charges).
When buyers protested and approached the developer for discussions, in the name of settlement, they were offered 20 – 40% of the delay penalty as compensation. How nice is it to extort 7L from one hand give roughly 1L (25% of delay penalty) back to the buyer? You are still on the loosing end? Does protest really help?
Conclusion: In both the cases mentioned above, numerous protest were held, representations to authorities were made, news and media were approached and everything that a homebuyer(s) can do was attempted but everyone turned a blind eye and the developer continued to enjoy political patronage. Developers often resolve small matter when homebuyers hit their market reputation by protesting but nobody cares beyond a point.
What is the alternate?
Authorities who should look after protecting the interest on homebuyers are often hand in gloves with the developers. In numerous cases, homebuyers are stuck because of mess created by the authorities and developers. When protests doesn’t help, what should you do?
Legal!!! Legal!!! Legal!!!
While the protest etc. are good to get small matters resolved, it is very important to take legal action to protect your larger interest. Developer have siphoned off buyers money and are least bothered about the authorities. Only thing that can really protect homebuyer’s interest are The Courts. Some people might argue that judiciary in India is slow and doesn’t yield results but things are now changing. Lately, NCDRC have come heavily on notorious developers and really worked towards restoring the faith of Indian Citizens in Consumer Forums. The ease of social media have made is easy for like minded people to connect and file collective suit. The cases by buyer’s group are not only economical but also puts pressure on the judiciary to take swift action.
When to knock court’s doors
Based on our research, courts have favored buyer’s in following cases;
- Unreasonable delay in project completion.
- Unfair demands during possession.
- Non payments of delay penalty by enforcing Force Majeure conditions.
- Unjustified super area increase and other layout plan changes.
- Unfulfilled promises and non delivery of promised facilities.
- Project is scrapped.
It is important to note that developer can not deny possession of your apartment if it’s ready during the pendency of the complaint before the court.
How to go about it?
- Form a homebuyer’s association and bring together like minded people.
- File a complaint in NCDRC. Here are some of the cases may be useful.
- Ensure to do good documentation of your conversation with developer.
The question that you should ask yourself is? Who is the targeted audience of your protest? The developer or the authorities? Let’s be very open about it, none of them gives a darn about your problems. And if you are thinking that the future buyers are even listening? Well, ask yourself how much attention did you give to such protest when you bought the apartment.
In our opinion, you may continue to protest for small matters but to protect your larger interest, it is extremely important for homebuyers to approach the Courts and demand what is rightfully their!!!