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What is the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA)? Here is how it will help buyers

RERA seeks to bring clarity and fair practices that would protect the interests of buyers and also impose penalties on errant builders.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 1, 2017 5:05 pm
RERA, Real Estate Regulatory Authority, eliminate malpractices, demonetisation, India's real estate, real estate, cash starvation. indian economy, indian express news, business news Picture for representation.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) will finally give India’s real estate sector its first regulator from Monday, May 1, 2016. The act was passed by parliament last year and the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation had given time till May 1, 2017, to formulate and notify rules for the functioning of the regulator. RERA seeks to bring clarity and fair practices that would protect the interests of buyers and also impose penalties on errant builders.

So what is RERA? Here is a look at the real estate regulator and how it will impact the real estate market.

According to RERA, each state and Union territory will have its own regulator and set of rules to govern the functioning of the regulator. Centre has drafted the rules for Union territories including the national Capital. While many states are still behind on schedule for notification of RERA rules, many have notified rules and a regulator will start functioning. Some of these states are Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Despite seeing a slump in the past three years, the ticket prices are relatively high and inventories are piling up. Low demand is also contributing to the reduced recovery of investment by developers. These reasons have deterred developers from reducing the ticket prices.

RERA seeks to address issues like delays, price, quality of construction, title and other changes.
Delays in projects are the biggest issue faced by buyers. The reasons are many and the impact is huge. Since the last 10 years, many projects have seen delays of up to 7 years. Projects launched after the turn of this decade have faced delays as well. Some have run into obstacles even before a brick was laid. The reasons include diversion of funds to other projects, changes in regulations by authorities, the environment ministry, national green tribunal etc and other bodies like those involved in infrastructure development and governing transport. In many places, land acquisition becomes an issue. Errant builders often sell projects to investors without the approval of plans, unauthorised increase in FAR, bad quality of construction, projects stuck in litigation etc.

Key provisions of RERA

The promoter of a real estate development firm has to maintain a separate escrow account for each of their projects. A minimum 70 per cent of the money from investors and buyers will have to be deposited. This money can only be used for the construction of the project and the cost borne towards the land.

To provide clarity to buyers, developers will have to keep them informed of their other ongoing projects.

RERA requires builders to submit the original approved plans for their ongoing projects and the alterations that they made later. They also have to furnish details of revenue collected from allottees, how the funds were utilised, the timeline for construction, completion, and delivery that will need to be certified by an Engineer/Architect/practicing Chartered Accountant.

It will be the responsibility of each state regulator to register real estate projects and real estate agents operating in their state under RERA. The details of all registered projects will be put up on a website for public access.

RERA talks about the quality of construction in projects. Over the last few years, buyers have protested about poor of flats. The regulator will ensure protection to buyers in this matter for five years from the date of possession. If any issue is highlighted by buyers in front of the regulator in this period including in quality of construction and the provision of services, the developer will have to rectify the same in a matter of 30 days.

Developers can’t invite, advertise, sell, offer, market or book any plot, apartment, house, building, investment in projects, without first registering it with the regulatory authority. Furthermore, after registration, all the advertisement inviting investment will have to bear the unique RERA registration number. The registration no. will be provided project-wise.

After registering the project, developers will have to furnish details of their financial statements, legal title deed and supporting documents.

If the promoter defaults on delivery within the agreed deadline, they will be required to return the entire money invested by the buyers along with the pre agreed interest rate mentioned in the contract based on the model contract given by RERA.

If the buyer chooses not to take the money back, the builder will have to pay monthly interest on each delay month to the buyer till they get delivery.

After developers register with the regulator, a page will be created for the builder on the regulatory authority’s website. The developer will be given login credentials using which it will upload all the information regarding the registered projects on the regulator’s website. The number, type of apartments, plots and projects and their completion status will be updated at a maximum quarterly basis.

To add further security to buyers, RERA mandates that developers can’t ask more than 10 per cent of the property’s cost as an advanced payment booking amount before actually signing a registered sale agreement.

The regulator will have the power to fine and imprison errant builders based on a case by case basis. The imprisonment can go up to a period of three years for a project.

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  1. N
    neha goyal
    Feb 20, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    This blog is quite worthful knowledgable. A real estate enthusiast should go through with this blog. Suvaas is a leading real estate company in Jaipur, rajasthan. For more details visit at suvaas
    1. R
      Rahul Thakkar
      Nov 21, 2017 at 3:54 pm
      i just want to understand on thing, once a builder submits the document to RERA is there any due diligence done by RERA before issuing RERA no?
      1. S
        S Y
        Oct 14, 2017 at 7:10 am
        Only 70 of cost of the flat/apartment is protected by RERA provisions. Balance 30 can be enjoyed by the builder in buying luxury cars, on lavish office space and on hiring services of painted women to convince buyers. Or even run away after taking 30 . syn at engineer dot com
        1. Brahmdutt Sharma
          Oct 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm
          I have studied and gone through RERA article , it is quite informative and to the point. Appreciate the writer's skill. It is indeed very right step by GOI to enact RERA for the benefits of buyers against Builders. Really speaking Developers n Builders exploit the people particularly corporate companies , who are in this line. RERA's Regulator must take special scrutiny of their application. These big builders normally cheats innocent buyers in the name of Maintenance Deposit as well as advance maintenance due course they mismanage the funds and grab the money and shows thumbs up to the buyers and this way spoils the future of prospective purchasers. This has to be looked and RERA should audit the Developer's account as well as the Maintenance Societies that has been managed by Developers staff. Mega Trade Complex at Naroda Road , Ahmedabad developed by Arvind Smartspaces Limited is recent example of such high rated mismanagement of funds reported to City Collector and CP.
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