The government on
Wednesday introduced the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill
in the assembly that would protect the interests of flat buyers by putting a
check on malpractices by developers.
The bill also
proposes to repeal the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963, and establish a
housing regulatory authority (HRA) and housing appellate tribunal for ensuring
effective implementation of the law. The HRA and the tribunal will help promote
a planned and healthy development, construction, sale, transfer and management
of flats, and residential buildings.
The HRA would have
the powers to levy fines ranging from Rs1,000-1 crore. The punishment for not
registering a project will attract a fine of Rs1,000 per day till it is
registered. If a developer fails to deliver on his promise, the fine could go
up to Rs 50 lakh.
minister of state (housing), said the earlier Act was meant to prevent
malpractices at a time when there was shortage of housing in several parts of
the state. After more than four decades, the housing activities have now
stabilised so, constant monitoring is required, he said.
The existing rule
cannot protect the interests of flat buyers and developers can get away easily
even when they do not follow the statutory obligations.
An aggrieved flat
buyer can only approach the consumer forum or civil courts for acts of
omission/commission of provisions of the 1963 Act.
The bill makes it
compulsory for developers to register their projects and display project
details on the HRA website. Projects with an area of less than 250 sqm have
been exempted. Developers will be bound to transfer flats to buyers before he
receives 20% of the sale price. Developers will have to form cooperative
societies within four months of issuing occupation certificates or when more
than 60% of the flats have been handed over to owners.
If a developer
fails the deadline, he has to refund the buyer his money if he doesn’t, he
will be fined Rs10,000 or 1% of the sale price. An IAS officer (age: not more 65)
will head the HRA. Its directives will be binding on developers/promoters and
The tribunal will
have two members — a retired judge and a retired IAS officer — who will not be
over 68. Its orders will be deemed to be a civil court decree. An appeal
against a tribunal order can be made in the high court. “The provisions of
punishments in the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code can be
invoked for punishment in case rules and regulations are not followed,” a
housing department official said.