City Pulse

All for a dream home, or not

January 02, 2015 By Team ICMYC

The lack of space, ever increasing demand for real estate and a haphazardly expanding city is something that many a citizen didn’t foresee in the quest for urbanisation.

In the age of gated communities, the impediments that mar one’s dream of owning a home start even before the foundation stone of your future abode is set.

Behind the façade of glossy buildings and the farce of an ‘ideal home’ created by many a builder, lies a truth many unsuspecting buyers aren’t privy to.

Amitav Roy is one such unsuspecting citizen who was fooled into buying a flat from a prominent builder in the city. His only fault was to buy a property from builders who thrived on corruption. He has helped expose several discrepancies. But the whistleblowing has cost him more than he could imagine.

Notably, Amitav Roy has been putting up a brave fight against the defaulting builders, at the cost of losing the flat along with the hard earned money he invested.

Trouble first surfaced when many buyers discovered that they were trapped by unfair clauses in the agreement that they were made to sign before the registrations even came along.

Amitav also signed the agreement after he had already paid a booking amount of over a lakh. Unfortunately, any person who refuses to sign the contract stands to lose the booking amount of Rs one lakh, as mentioned in the clause. Here is where troubles began to spillover.

According to an unfair clause in the agreement, buyers who failed to pay the whole amount by the designated date, were liable to pay 18 % interest on the amount due, whereas builders were to pay only 10% interest for any delay in handing over the apartment.

The builder was supposed to handover the flats to the buyers by November 2011, which they failed to do. They even crossed the three months of grace period as mentioned in the agreement.

Amitav, along with the others buyers, got together and demanded a specific date for the handover along with a commitment on the compensation payable to each of them. The builders responded to each of them by June 2012 and by September 2012, they started sending compensation details.

The point in time when Amitav could see right through their ploy was when they sent him his compensation letter demanding that he too will have to pay for a delay in payment from his end. This they claimed was for a period of 105 days, whereas Amitav had delayed the payment by only 9 days. All along, they remained mum about their compensation and told him that they will help adjust his payment at the time of the registration of the property.

Much after the first declaration, the company backtracked on their word and stated that they are unable to pay compensation to more than 10% of the buyers, leaving the remaining buyers high and dry. Meanwhile the delay in the handover of the house/flat has exceeded 33 months, and yet there is no sign of any compensation.

Attempts to protest, along with all the other affected buyers were quelled as the builders bought out the police who leveled bogus charges against Amitav. Besides which, his residence also was attacked twice.

Amitav has pointed out that such practices are rampant among builders across the city. Besides, a lot of money is taken in the name of various bogus charges. This was uncovered by Amitav through an RTI that he filed.

In a bid to get the corrupt to book, Amitav approached a body of legal experts who looked closely into the case and deduced the following-

Builders generally delay the project timelines from the ones promised to the buyer and later don’t pay the penalty as per the clauses mentioned in the agreement.

They have used the Arbitration clause in the agreement with the buyer, which effectively blocks legal avenues for the buyer in case of any conflict/ delay/ misappropriation.

Scores of other buyers are still reeling under the threat of losing their investments along with the flat, if they venture towards filing cases against the defaulting builder. However, Amitav resiliently marches ahead for justice.