It will be a year-long wait for home buyers who have been assured of certain guarantees and relief under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. On Thursday, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation notified Sections of the Act, effectively setting April 30, 2017, as the deadline for all states to establish a Real Estate Regulatory Authority and an Appellate Tribunal.
The notification also sets a six-month period, until October 31, 2016, for states to frame rules under the Act. Ministry officials said that they will soon issue model rules on which states can base theirs.
“We have notified certain Sections of the Act that require states to have an Authority and Tribunal in place before the rest of the Act is brought in force on May 1, 2017. Those states that fail to do so can be taken to the court by consumers,” said a senior government official.
As per the Act, the Housing Regulatory Authority and Appellate Tribunal each have a maximum of six months to dispose of cases. In addition to setting a time frame for implementation of the Act, the ministry’s latest notification also repeals the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Act, 2012, with immediate effect.
Though Maharashtra was the first state in the country to enact a regulatory act for the real estate sector, it was never enforced as the state failed to appoint an authority or a tribunal as required by the legislation.
The Act was passed by Parliament during the Budget session and mandates registration of real estate agents and projects which can be revoked in case of they are found to be indulging in fraudulent practices.
All residential and commercial real estate properties that are over a minimum area of 500 sq m or have more than eight flats come under the purview of the legislation and these include project beyond urban areas. Under the Act, builder face imprisonment of up to three years and/or monetary fine while buyers and estate agents are liable for one-year imprisonment or/and a fine if they do not abide by the ruling of the appellate tribunal.