Deferment of Possession – Trouble for Defaulters

Deferment of Possession

 Today’s harsh reality coaches one to fight for what is theirs, even though the affluent and influential throw obstacles in one’s way. Buyers usually spend humongous amounts of money to buy something as essential as a house or even a piece of land for example, and yet, when upon contractual terms they are supposed to be given their lawful property, they are denied this right.

Various provisions of India’s civil, consumer or criminal law help in taking action against the seller in this case, such as sending a legal notice to the seller, and claiming refund of payment made to him along with interest/damages, as the case may be. In case of delayed possession of a house, the buyer may also claim the consideration that will be spent on buying or renting alternative accommodation. A consumer complaint may be filed against the seller under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for ‘deficiency of services’, especially since the landmark case of 1993- Lucknow Development Authority v. M.K Gupta- wherein remedy for all housing construction activity was construed under Consumer Protection Act. The International Consumer Rights Protection Council also lists numerous grounds for liability in Consumer Court, the prime one being ‘Delayed possession beyond stipulated time period’. Furthermore, a suit may be filed under the Indian Contract Act, 1872 for non-fulfilment of contractual liability.

Some prospect also lies in the recently introduced statutes. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) makes it necessary to furnish details regarding completion and delivery of property, without which, the seller/agent may be held liable and fined or prosecuted. If delivery is not done on the contractual date, the entire money invested by the buyer, along with the agreed interest rate mentioned will be refunded under the act. One more option would be to exercise the arbitration clause, usually present in the builder’s agreements, that states a pre-mediated compensation in case of default by either parties.

Certain states do have specific provisions for their jurisdiction, such as a remedy under Section 8 of the Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act, 1963, in case there is a delayed possession of flats etc.

Remember always, that any problem can be solved. All we need to do is open our eyes to possibilities, and have some faith.

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