The Maharashtra government tabled a legislation in the state assembly on Wednesday to bring the much-needed transparency and discipline in the realty sector, and protect the interests of flat buyers. The Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill also proposes to repeal the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963, envisaging establishment of a housing regulatory authority that will also be an appellate tribunal so as to promote planned development of flats and other residential buildings, besides their construction, management, sale and transfer.
Minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir, who tabled the Bill in assembly, told Business Standard the legislation proposes providing a civil court status to the proposed housing regulatory authority. “It can also initiate action under the Indian Penal Code against parties who have defied the provisions of the Bill,” he added.
The Bill also seeks protection of public interest in relation to the conduct and integrity of promoters and other persons engaged in the development of flats, facilitating smooth and speedy construction and maintenance of such properties. It mandates the promoter to make full disclosure of his housing project, register and display them on the website of the housing regulatory authority.
For all transactions, including sale or marketing for sale of flats, a new project has to be registered and details displayed on the website of the authority. The responsibility of entering such record or details lies with the promoter. A defaulter will have to pay penalty ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 crore.
The minister recalled that the nearly half-a-century-old Ownership Flats Act was promulgated to prevent malpractices of promoters or developers of properties during a time when the state was facing acute shortage of housing in several regions. The housing activities on Wednesday have stabilised, but there is a need for continuous control and monitoring.
“The existing rules are not effective in protecting the interest of flat purchasers and promoters would avoid the statutory obligations imposed on them,” Ahir noted. 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.