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MahaRERA asks builder to refund Rs 1.5 cr to buyer

Skyline Constructions, part of RNA Group, also ordered to pay home buyer 10.55% interest from payment date

The Maharashra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has asked a developer to refund a home buyer Rs 1.58 crore, plus 10.55 per cent interest from the date of payment, for delayed possession.

Skyline Constructions, part of the RNA Group, is to issue the refund for its RNA Exotica project in Goregaon to home buyer Manish Mody.

Mody had booked Flat No. B 3201in RNA Exotica, a 36-storey project close to Ram Mandir railway station, in October 2013. He was promised possession by December 31, 2017. RTI activist Sulaiman Bhimani, appearing for Mody, sought a refund of his investment under Section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act (RERA) for failure to hand over possession by the agreed date.

During the hearings before MahaRERA member Bhalchandra Kapadnis, advocate Subit Chakrabarti, appearing for Skyline Constructions, argued that the complaint was not maintainable as no agreement for sale had been signed, and no date of possession was agreed. He said the complaint was premature as other home buyers from the project had filed a suit in the Bombay High Court, and the construction was being monitored by the HC. The project is to be completed by October 31, 2019, he said. He also said his client could not complete the project as it is under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme and there were several hurdles, including in obtaining various sanctions.

He said it took two years for the developer to get environmental clearance in November 2012, and that there was a delay in getting height clearances from the Airport Authority of India, which gave final clearance only in August 2015. The developer had to reduce the height of the building by 5 floors, and seek amended approval from the MMRDA, which came in August 2017. He said the reasons for the delay were beyond the developer’s control.

Holding that the developer had failed to hand over possession on the agreed date, and that Mody was entitled to a refund with interest, Kapadnis said though there was no sale agreement, the allotment letter issued in January 2014 showed that the developer had accepted Rs 1.58 crore. He rejected the contention that HC had directed the developer to complete the project by October 31, 2019.

“Even if it is taken for granted that they are genuine reasons which are beyond the control of the respondents, the respondents cannot claim an extension of more than six months from the date of possession in view of Section 8 (b) of Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act ,” Kapadnis said in his October 31 order.

Anubhav Agarwal of RNA Group told Mirror, “We will file an appeal against the order.”

A developer can file an appeal against a refund order before the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal, but under Section 43 (5), the appellant has to deposit 30 per cent of the refund amount with the tribunal before the appeal is heard.

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