Most ongoing projects in NCR will be out of RERA ambit

GURGAON / NOIDA: Haryana and Uttar Pradesh’s RERA rules leave a majority of ongoing real estate projects in NCR outside the ambit of the new real estate law, with the number as high as 90% in Gurgaon, according to government and industry officials.

The figures from Noida, the city worst hit by delays in delivery of flats, were not immediately available but industry watchers expect little difference with Gurgaon

because Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have used the same yardstick for ongoing projects to be included in their Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act. Noida and Greater Noida together currently have 82 ongoing builder projects. Both states have decided to keep outside the purview of RERA projects that have been issued, or applied for, occupancy certificates. This is a significant difference from the central RERA notified on May 1 this year that had completion certificates as the benchmark for exemption.

In Gurgaon, for instance, 90% of the estimated 1.7 lakh units (flats houses) that are in various stages of construction or completion have either already received occupancy certificates or applied for it, or have received part-completion (also an occupancy paper). These will not be part of the Haryana RERA.Part completion does not mean the entire project is excluded from RERA.

A tower still under construction will have to be registered afresh even if other towers in the project are complete.

Homebuyers in both cities said they were unhappy at what they called a dilution of the Act because the main problem here is delayed possession. An occupancy certificate does not address that as ongoing projects where construction is complete but amenities aren’t can get occupancy papers. Buyers in these projects, therefore, cannot bank on RERA for solutions. Similarly , if a housing project has 20 towers of which three have occupancy papers, those three towers will also not come under RERA, though amenities will be built collectively for the entire project.

Industry and government sources in Gurgaon said new projects where work has recently started, mostly those launched in the last year, and old projects abandoned midway because of a developer facing financial crunch, will come under the Haryana RERA.

A homebuyers’ group in Noida met MLA Pankaj Singh to express their disappointment and seek a review of the rules before the Act is finally notified.The Centre has asked all states to notify the Act by July 31. Haryana’s cabinet cleared the rules on July 25. “ A large number of applications for occupancy has been made over the past month with the Noida and Greater Noida authorities. This means a large number of ongoing apartments will fail to reap the benefit of RERA as these projects would not be legally required to register. This leaves buyers in a compromised state,“ said Rashesh Purohit, founder, NCR homebuyers association.

Gaurav Prakash, a homebuyer in New Gurgaon, added, “RERA was introduced to address the pain of homebuyers. So how can the government lose sight of it? Why replace completion certificate with OC?“ But the ground reality is such that this may have been the only practical way of implementing RERA. No residential project in Gurgaon has a completion certificate, said a senior official of Haryana’s department of town and country planning. “Only a few commercial projects have taken a CC. Not changing the criteria of ongoing projects would have created a big problem,“ the official said.

Various buyers’ groups said they were planning to file petitions in courts. “We are highly disappointed but kind of anticipated this. The Haryana RERA is a further dilution of the draft rules which we had all objected to,“ said Shepalika Sharma, of the Forum of Apartment Owners in Gurgaon.

Realtors had a different view, saying as long as buyers got delivery of their projects with the amenities promised to them, there should not be a problem, irrespective of whether the project had an OC or CC.“The delay in obtaining an occupation certificate or completion certificate is as much a function of delay from the government’s end as the developer. The Haryana government has wisely considered that fact and come out with a pragmatic Act,“ said Jaxay Shah, president of realtors’ association Credai. “The government has not done anything wrong. This was the right way to move ahead,“ said Parveen Jain, MD of Tulip Infrastructure and president of Naredco, another realtors’ collective.

Rao Narbir Singh, Haryana’s PWD minister, said, “We have tried to bring out an Act which favours both developers and buyers. But if there are any issues, people can approach us and we will take their concerns to the chief minister.“

UP will replicate central law, claims Pankaj Singh Pankaj Singh, Noida’s BJP MLA, told TOI on Wednesday all changes the RERA draft brought in by previous Akhilesh Yadav government will be junked. “I have just had a discussion with chief minister Yogi Adityanath and housing department officials and it stands to be clarified that all changes made in the original RERA by the former UP government will stand cancelled after the matter is taken up in the (state) cabinet.It involves a certain process and that will be done. Buyers’ interests will be protected as it has been envisioned in the original RERA,“ Singh said over a call from Lucknow. Currently , the rules notified by the Akhilesh Yadav regime are being used for RERA registrations in UP.

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