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Old habits die hard: carpet area remains a hype that govt built up

Stamp duty documents are still registered on the basis of built-up area, despite a recent legislation that makes it mandatory for developers to sell flats on the basis of carpet area alone.

Written by Shalininair | Mumbai | September 26, 2008 3:00:30 am

Stamp duty documents are still registered on the basis of built-up area, despite a recent legislation that makes it mandatory for developers to sell flats on the basis of carpet area alone.

Carpet area is the actual wall-to-wall area of a flat while built-up area includes the thickness of the wall. Being arbitrary by nature, a flat that is sold on built-up area is anything over 15 per cent more than the actual area of the flat. As almost all developers have been selling their flats based on built-up or super-built-up area, most buyers looking for a flat with a certain area end up with a livable space that is much less.

In May, the state legislature approved a bill to amend the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, 1963, making any developer who does not sell flats on the basis of carpet area liable to face imprisonment for three years. Again, last month, the state housing department issued instructions that only carpet area be used the basis for stamp duty registration, one of the chief ways to monitor the sale of flats.

“We have circulated the instructions to everyone including the Inspector General of Registrations (IGR). Maybe the instructions are yet to reach the lower levels,” said housing secretary Sitaram Kunte.

IGR Ramrao Shingare was not available for comment, while deputy IGR (Mumbai) AR Devgunde said, “We haven’t received any orders yet asking us to register the documents on the basis of carpet area.”

“Merely amending an Act without following it up with proper monitoring is an exercise in futility. This is a sheer lack of coordination between departments. The amendment was proposed by the housing department headed by the Chief Minister while stamp-duty registrations come under the revenue department headed by the Deputy Chief Minister,” said housing expert Sreedhar Sharma.

He added that this is the very reason why the state government should push for a housing regulatory commission.

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