Decks have been cleared for setting up of a housing regulator in Maharashtra. The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Thursday gave its go-ahead to the states Bill in this regard.
Meant to provide relief to flat purchasers against malpractices by developers,the state legislature had in 2012 approved the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Promotion of Construction,Sale,Management,and Transfer) Act that contains provisions for setting up of an independent regulator. It also contains provisions to enable deemed conveyance in layouts involving multiple buildings or phase-wise development.
The Presidents assent to the Act was,however,pending with the HUPA planning to table a central housing regulatory Bill. The ministry kept raising objections regarding provisions of the Bill.
After realising that the chance of the Union government tabling its own Bill in the near future was slim,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had been pushing for assent to Maharashtras Bill.
A senior source said the breakthrough came on December 21,when HUPA minister Girija Vyas consented to a no-objection to the states Bill. Chavan assured her that as and when the central Bill comes into force,the superior provisions contained in it would be incorporated in the states Act.
Based on the assurance,the ministry wrote to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs conveying its consent for Presidential assent to the states Bill. Senior sources in the state government said they were hopeful of the Bill securing the Presidents assent within two weeks or so. Once that happens,Maharashtra will become the first state in the country to have a housing regulator.
Under provisions of the Act,developers will have to register with the authority and complete details of projects undertaken by them will have to be provided on the authoritys website before issuing advertisements for sale or transfer of flats. This full and true disclosure will include details about the land title,approved plans,FSI utilised and carpet area of flats,common areas and amenities,including recreation grounds,playgrounds and parking spaces.The developers will also have to specify the timeframe for the completion of stages of development. Phase-wise plans will have to be submitted in case of bigger layouts,where each phase will be treated as a separate project. Flat buyers could approach the authority for non-compliance of these disclosures.
The authority,to be headed by a retired government official of the rank of principal secretary and two experts as members,will have the power to deregister defaulting developers and debar them from taking up new projects. It can also impose a fine of up to Rs 1 crore on offenders,prosecute repeat offenders and take up matters of default by flat buyers.
An appellate tribunal,headed by a retired High Court judge,and comprising two other members,will also be appointed to hear challenges to orders issued by the authority. Such applications will have to be filed within two months of the authoritys order.
The new Act will also include provisions validating conveyance of individual buildings in bigger layouts. This will be applicable to all buildings where at least 60 per cent flats have been sold. The conveyance will also be applied to proportionate rights for common areas,internal access roads and recreation spaces.