MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has granted interest on delayed possession to the buyer of a private firm who purchased a flat in Lokhandwala Minerva, Mahalaxmi, from January 1, 2023, on the premise that the developer had failed to provide possession on terms agreed upon earlier.
Shree Saisidhi Exports LLP, a limited liability firm, had filed a complaint with the regulatory body in August 2022 seeking interest on delayed possession under Section 18 of RERA. The firm purchased flat number 5702 on the 45th floor in A wing of the project in March 2018. In the agreement for sale, the date of possession was mentioned as December 31, 2020, with a grace period of 12 months. The complainant said it had paid ₹5.46 crore out of the total price of ₹6.04 crore, which leaves an outstanding balance of ₹58.14 lakh. The complaint said the developer had failed to handover the possession as promised in the registered agreement for sale and hence interest on every month of delay should be granted from January 1, 2022.
During the hearings before MahaRERA, the developer Lokhandwala Kataria Construction Pvt Ltd alleged that the complainant was using pressure tactics to avoid paying the balance. The developer’s advocate contended that despite difficulties in obtaining permissions they had tried to complete the project timely, but the delay was due to reasons beyond their control.
The developer contended that the Minerva project was ground 90 floors and is under SRA scheme. It had begun the construction of the free sale building after the SRA issued requisite Commencement Certificate. Due to changes in the Development Control regulations 33 (10), they had to redesign the entire project. They had to file a writ petition in the Bombay high court for grant of 4 FSI in 2014, and after HC order in July 2015, there was delay in obtaining SRA’s letter of intent, MOEF permissions, revised NOC from high rise committee.
After hearing contentions of both parties, MahaRERA member Mahesh Pathak observed that the delays cited by the developer were before the agreement for sale was executed in March 2018 and the developer was well aware of the constraints. He said due to Covid-19 pandemic, MahaRERA has granted one year extension to all registered projects, and hence the date of possession can be extended from December 31, 2021 to December 31, 2022.
As the developer had failed to complete construction and hand over possession he was directed to pay interest from January 1, 2023 till actual date of possession. To ensure that the project’s completion is not jeoparadised and the interest of home buyers, the authority asked the developer to adjust the interest amount against the balance consideration of ₹58.14 lakh due from the buyer.