With several redevelopment projects of some of the oldest buildings in the city being stalled for years due to the developer’s inability to complete or begin work, the state housing authority is now considering introducing a set of conditions that builders must meet to be eligible for such works.
If the plan goes through, developers seeking a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to take up redevelopment of cessed buildings will have to submit certain documents to the authority to establish their competence and financial stability.
Ramaswami N, chief officer of MHADA’s Mumbai repair and reconstruction board, said, “Currently, there are no such pre-qualification conditions before MHADA grants an NOC. We are now thinking of making it mandatory for developers to submit their audited balance sheets for the past three years, income tax returns, and a copy of the PAN card. We will also ask for the developers’ previous experience with MHADA, their overall experience in redevelopment works, and any complaints by tenants during the execution of previous projects.”
Ramaswami said the authority is considering a total of six conditions and is in discussions with the state housing secretary for their possible introduction.
Cessed buildings were constructed before 1969, with some of them being over a hundred years old. These are mostly tenanted properties with rents frozen under the Rent Control Act. There are about 14,000 cessed buildings in the island city and their redevelopment has so far been sluggish. MHADA’s repair board has granted about 1,600 NOCs to developers to revamp cessed buildings up till now.
However, most NOCs have become dormant with a large number of redevelopment work stalled due to myriad reasons such as differences between tenants and developers, lack of clearances, weak finances of the builders, and delays leading to disinterest in the project.
In 2012, MHADA scrutinised all NOCs granted before 2004 and served notices in 85 cases where the developer had not started any work.
Ramaswami said that overall currently there are at least 579 cases where an NOC has been issued but the work has not started and so far the authority has revoked 35 NOCs.