An amendment to the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act is underway

In the City of Mumbai & Thane – Where Land costs equals to Gold & per sq feet rates of Flat are costlier than the rates of per carat of diamonds. In times when property prices have shot up through the roof unscrupulous builders don't think twice about cheating their clients. But soon they'll find it harder to get away.

Taking note of a growing number of complaints against crooked builders, the state government has decided to bring in amendments to the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act that will ensure heavier fines and jail terms for rogue developers.

To add teeth to the new provisions, a committee will be formed to look into complaints relating to housing, one which will have the powers of a civil court. Appeals against the decisions of this committee will have to be taken to the Bombay High Court, said officials connected to the initiative. The new committee, which will be given wide-ranging powers, will put an end to problems faced by those buying homes.

While earlier, disputes between home owners/buyers and developers were directed to the consumer or civil courts (police stations have generally shied away from filing criminal complaints in cases relating to housing), under the new provisions builders can be sent to jail for between six months and a year, while fines will range from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

Also, under the new plan, builders will have to register their projects with the new committee following which they will be given a code. Only after receiving this code can builders sell flats.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has repeatedly taken on the builders’ lobby since taking over as Chief Minister of the State. He had already insisted on all sales being based on carpet area rather than built-up or super built-up areas, saying it was easy for builders to use these terms and dupe purchasers.

This new initiative comes after the state government hit roadblocks in introducing the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act, which has been strongly opposed by the builder community.

I think pending the enactment of “Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act 2011” This new move can see the light of day soon because amending a law is easier than bringing about a wholly new law says Adv. R. P. Rathod.

-      Adv. R. P. Rathod.