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Maharashtra Housing Bill tabled in assembly

Proposes status of civil court to regulatory authority

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The Maharashtra government, in a bid to bring in much-needed sanity and transparency in the realty sector and protect the interests of the purchaser of flats, today tabled the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill. It also proposed to bring in discipline in transaction of flats by putting a check on malpractices. The Bill proposed to repeal the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963 and thereby envisaged establishment of housing regulatory authority, housing appellate tribunal to promote planned and healthy development, construction, sale, transfer, management of flats and residential buildings.

Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir, who tabled the Bill in state assembly, told Business Standard: "The Bill aims to safeguard the interest of flat purchasers. I hope the house will hold a comprehensive debate on this crucial Bill. The Bill proposes providing a civil court status to the proposed housing regulatory authority which can also enjoy powers of initiating action under Indian Penal Code against the concerned parties who have defied the provisions of the Bill."

Ahir informed that Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act of 1963 was made to prevent malpractices of promoters or developers of properties during the time when there was acute shortage of housing in several areas of the state. After a lapse of more than four decades, the housing activities have stabilised, and there is a need for continuous control and monitoring.

He said the existing rules were not effective in protecting the interest of flat purchasers and promoters would avoid the statutory obligations imposed on them. The aggrieved flat purchasers could only approach the consumer forum or civil courts for acts of omission or commission of provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act of 1963.

The Bill also proposes to protect public interest in relation to conduct and integrity of promoters and other persons engaged in the development of flats and facilitating smooth and speedy constructions and maintenance of such properties.

The minister said as per the proposed Bill, the promoter will have to make full disclosure of his housing project, register and display it on the website of the housing regulatory authority.

There will be no transaction including sale or marketing for sale of flats in the new project without registering it and displaying it on the website of the authority.

The responsibility of entering record or details on the website lies with the promoter.

Any promoter who fails to comply with the provisions will have to pay heavy penalty ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 crore.

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