After all the financial planning and analyzing various projects, you head to the developer’s office to purchase your dream home. Sales pitches like “rates are revising from tomorrow” makes you vary and didn’t let you think about the important aspects of property buying. This is where homebuyers get stuck easily.
One of the most important aspects is the “Layout Plan” of the project. Developers are looking to maximize their profits by purchasing additional FAR/FSI (Floor Area Ratio) and adding more apartments in the existing land. Most of the time these additional apartments/towers are added by reducing the common area of the existing owners. Already pained by the delayed delivery and shoddy quality of work, homebuyers are not letting their common area go down the greedy throat of the developers these days.
What is the Issue?
The law in most states does not allow the layout plans of the group housing projects to be modified without the consent of existing buyers (in under-construction projects) or the residents (in completed projects). However, the developers continue to take buyer for granted and either purchase additional FAR (permission for building more apartments) from the authorities or build the additional apartments / towers without the permission.
The existing buyers/residents are revolting to these malpractices of builders and increasingly approaching the court of law. They don’t want their park to be taken away by the builder for making profits. With LAW on their side, cases are being filed at the drop of a hat.
In most of the cases, the buyers were not even aware of the ongoing litigation between the developer and residents in court and were taken for a surprise when the orders from the courts came. Most of them did not even know if layout plans were revised. This is not a very good situation to be in.
How can it affect you?
Let us try to explain this with an example. Imagine a project was launched in the year 2010. There were 20 towers when the developer launched the scheme. After selling a significant number of apartments, the developer launched few more towers in the same complex against the wish of the existing buyers/residents. In the greed of making more money, the developer often encroaches upon the common areas shown in the initial layout plans.
The Law does not allow the builder to modify the layout plans of the apartment without the consent of homebuyers. Even the Hon’ble Supreme Court have repeatedly supported this very fact.
If the existing owners/residents decide to approach the court of law against such layout plan changes, your apartments shall unnecessarily be dragged in the litigation. Going by the past experiences, it takes years for such matters to be resolved by the courts.
To support our arguments, we will few two high-profile cases:
Supertech’s Emerald Court Residents Vs Supertech Developer: The developer decided to construct two towers on the common areas of the residents of Emerald Court society. This did not go down well with the existing residents and they filed a case in Allahabad High Court. Even when 22 floors were already constructed, the Court ordered demolition of the twin towers and asked the developer to refund the money of the buyers. This case is subjudice in the Supreme Court.
Palais Royale, Mumbai: Bombay high court recently held that the 13 upper floors of the 56-storey building, as well as a 15-storey public parking tower next to it, were “completely illegal”. The court has asked the municipal commissioner to decide the fate of the structures.
The Campa Cola society case is another example that leads by example. You can google all these cases to learn the fate of those homebuyers who got stuck.
How to ensure your booking stay safe
This is very simple:
- Ask the developer to produce original and revised layout plan. Walk out of the office if builder refuses to produce the documents or makes stories.
- Look for the architectural drawings approved by authorities and not the artistic images that are part of brochures. Note down the approval number for your reference.
- Do not believe in verbal assurances and other crap. They are good at making buyers fool. Be a logical buyer now and just walk out if concrete evidence are not provided.
- Book an apartment that was in the initial layout plan. Everything else is risky. No second thought about it.
- Even if the revised plans are approved by authorities, walk out. Authorities are hand in gloves to trap you.
Real estate is not the place to show guts. Walk away from the apartment that is part of changed layout plan.