TATA housing directed to refund money to homebuyer
TATA housing in a recent order was directed by the Appellate tribunal of MahaRERA to refund the money to the homebuyer along with interest.
By Varun singh
Homebuyer Ratul Lahiri had approached MahaRERA originally in May 2019 against TATA housing.
However, the homebuyer couldn’t get a favourable order and hence appealed at the appellate tribunal.
The appellate tribunal on June 22, ordered TATA housing to refund the homebuyer the money along with interest.
Actually the home buyer had booked a flat in TATA housing’s project ‘Gateway Towers at Aveza’ at Mulund, Mumbai.
The homebuyer alleged that developer had promised to hand over possession by the end of 2018 at the time of booking of flat. Allotment letter which did not mention the date of possession was issued in July, 2015
The homebuyer even paid the developer Rs 59.73 lakh between July to October 2015 of the total consideration of Rs 2.25-2.51 crore.
When Lahiri visited the project site in July 2017, it was allegedly informed that possession will be given in 2020.
Around March-April 2018, while developer pursued with the buyer to pay necessary charges towards stamp duty and registration fees for execution and registration of agreement for sale. The buyer came to know from the website of MahaRERA (the Authority) that developer has revised the date of possession to December, 2022.
The buyer was not ready for a delayed possession and hence sent the builder a demand notice on October 29, 2018 seeking refund along with interest.
There was another contention of no registered agreement for sale. The counsel for the homebuyer alleged that as per allotment letter it was developer’s duty to send agreement copy within 15 days.
He also argued that by receiving amount more than 20% of the total price of the booked flat without executing agreement for sale, developer had in fact violated the provisions of MOFA as well as the RERA.
The counsel for the developers stated that there was no promise made to give possession by August 2018.
The tribunal noted that, the contention was date of possession, the buyer said he was promised the possession be given by 2018 and later on it was revised to 2020 and ultimately to 2022 as is declared on the portal of MahaRERA.
The developer on the other hand contended that final date of possession is 2022 as declared on MahaRERA portal and developer never promised delivery of possession by 2018 or 2020 to the allottee.
The tribunal noted that, that in a futile attempt to deny that possession was promised to be given by 2018, developer has ended up in making self-contradictory claim.
“Developer has declared the original date of possession as August 2018 and revised possession date as 2022 on the MahaRERA portal. This undeniable fact substantiates the contention of allottee and therefore with no further doubt we can safely conclude that developer had committed to handover possession by 2018,” read the order.
The tribunal noted, “..there is undoubtedly a clear delay in possession. Therefore, there is no hindrance at all in invoking Section 18 of RERA for granting relief to allottee as per law. Accordingly, we outrightly reject the contentions of developer on this count.”
Developer had also raised the issue of non-joinder of M/s Richa Realtors (a Co-developer of the project as per Joint development agreement) as a necessary party in the complaint.
The tribunal on the said, “Allotment letter, various communications such as notices for payment of various charges, replies to various notices from Allottee etc. are all done in the name of Tata Housing by developer. Therefore, we do not see any merit in the submissions of developer.”
Finally the tribunal quashed the order passed by MahaRERA’s adjudicating officer and directed the builder to refund the amount paid by the buyer with interest @ 2% above SBI’s highest Marginal Cost of Lending Rate from the date of payment of the said amount till realisation of the amount.
Charge of the amount shall remain on the booked flat till realisation of the amount.