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MUMBAI: The state government will this week finally approve the new Real Estate(Regulation & Development) Act (RERA), meant mainly to protect flat buyers from being short-changed by developers.
TOI has learnt that the state plugged most of the pro-builder clauses in the draft rules following an uproar from consumer rights groups and housing activists. This newspaper had first exposed the major loopholes and lacunas in the draft rules notified last December.
CM Devendra Fadnavis said the file containing the final rules was sent to him last Friday. “I am likely to approve them in a day or two,” he told TOI on Monday. “Maharashtra’s RERA rules will come into effect from May 1,” confirmed Gautam Chaterjee, a retired bureaucrat now designated by the government as the state’s regulatory real estate authority.
Government sources said most of the objections and suggestions submitted by consumer groups like Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) have been incorporated in the revised rules awaiting the CM’s approval.
A clause that angered housing activists was the one which allowed a builder to terminate a flat purchase agreement by giving just a week’s notice on email to the buyer who defaults on an installment. The developer could refund the money without interest to the purchaser at leisure, within six months.
However, sources said this controversial clause has now been modified. “The builder can send a termination notice only if a flat buyer defaults the third time on payment. The developer will have to give 15 days’ notice to the buyer,” he said.
RERA rules framed by the Centre say the builder must refund the money within 45 days (with or without interest, depending on the situation) and do not stipulate cancelling the agreement within seven days in case of default. “We have now almost aligned the state rules with those framed by the Centre,” said a government official.
The state is also believed to have rectified another controversial clause which said that builders pay the registration fee at just Re 1 per square metre. This means for a 1,00,000 square feet project, he has to pay approximately Rs 10,000.
“The state has now decided to amend this rule, fixing the rate at Rs 10 per square metre for registration. The amounts will vary from a minimum of Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh,” said the state official. Central rules prescribed fees of between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for residential and commercial projects.