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RERA TRIBUNAL GRANTS INTEREST ON DELAYED POSSESSION
Mumbai: Setting aside a 2018 MahaRERA order, the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal has ruled that a couple who purchased a flat in Indiabulls Greens-1 project in Panvel were entitled to interest on their investment for 30 months for delayed possession by the developer.
Home buyers Shridhar and Rupal Mani had booked a flat in Indiabulls Greens-1 in September 2009. It is their case that despite paying 100% of the consideration, the agreement for sale was executed only in 2011, that too with a clause that entitled the developer to revise the possession date by 60 months with a grace period of nine months. The complaint alleged that the developer Lucina Land Developers Ltd had unilaterally revised the plans from a 15-storey tower to a 37-storey tower, which led to delays.
MahaRERA in its 2018 order declined to grant interest on delayed possession on the grounds that if a project is completed or possession is given, Section 18 of RERA would not apply. The Manis then challenged the order before the MREAT where a singlemember bench ruled in their favour on April 15, 2019. The developer then went in for a second appeal before the Bombay High Court, which directed the developer to give possession to the home buyer, and remanded the matter back to the Tribunal to decide afresh.
Advocate Satish Dedhia, appearing for the complainants, argued that since the promoter failed to handover possession for more than nine years, he was liable to pay interest for the delay in possession under section 18 of RERA but MahaRERA declined to grant interest.
Advocates Abir Patel and Nirman Sharma, appearing for the developer, strongly denied the allegations and contended that as per the 2011 agreement, the 60 months and grace period of nine months ended on May 28, 2017. The Occupancy Certificate was received on May 11, 2018, and possession was offered on May 16, 2018, before the complaint was even filed. They argued that, therefore, it was only a 12-month delay. Further delays were caused due to delay in obtaining FSI and high-rise related clearances and were not caused by the promoter.
After hearing both sides, the Tribunal bench consisting of Shriram Jagtap, Member, Judicial and SS Sandhu, Member, Administration held that the home buyers were entitled to interest for delayed possession from May 21, 2017, till the date of actual possession in January 2020.