A large percentage of NRIs and people of Indian origin wish to maintain ties back home in India and have a base in India, so that they can stay connected with their roots. One of the most prevalent ways by which overseas Indians do that is by making investments in real estate – residential or commercial. With liberalisation and the emergence of India a key global economy, the real estate sector in India has seen assets values rise manifold and some of the most expensive real estate in the world, is now in India.
This extended bull run of the real estate sector has resulted in multitudes of residential and commercial project mushrooming across the length and breadth of the country. The developers of such projects have NRIs as a prime focus (given the economic strength of NRIs) to offer these new projects as investment opportunities. On the downside, this boom has also spawned many unscrupulous and fraudulent developers, who take gullible NRIs for a ride, since they do not have the requisite expertise and understanding of the real estate market in India. NRIs end up making significant investments with such unscrupulous developers resulting in their hard-earned money being swindled and they are faced with the prospect of not being able to realise their dream of owning a real estate asset in lieu of the investment made.
Over the last few years the real estate market in India has been faced with a massive slowdown as part of a long overdue cyclical re-balancing of real estate prices, this has resulted in many bona fide developers being unable to meet their obligations to the people who have invested in their projects. Non-compliance to the prevalent laws and obligations, false assurances and delay in handing over the possession to buyers is the prime cause of growing number of cases and conflicts between buyers and developers. This has led to significant monetary losses and mental harassment to the buyers. The problem becomes grave when the buyer is an NRI, as they are not fully abreast with their legal rights and constantly changing legal scenario for consumer protection in India.
Some of the key issues that NRIs face with regards to their investment in residential or commercial real estate in India are:
- Inability of the Developer to complete the project
- Delay in handing over Possession to the buyer within stipulated timelines
- Deficiency in the quality of construction
- Non-compliance to the clauses mentioned in the agreement executed with the developer
- Non-compliance to the prevalent laws for layout plans or construction
- No communication from the Developer/Builder/Company with respect to construction or progress (In case of ongoing projects)
- Amendment in the layout plan or building/structure without the knowledge of the buyer
- Non-issuance of completion/occupation certificate
- Demand of additional/hidden fees
To help our NRI clients overcome these issues, NRI Legal Services offers a full suite of services for the resolution of any legal issue pertaining to the Real Estate Developer/builder claims. The objectives of our services are to ensure that our clients receive:
- Refund for the full amount paid by the buyer with penal interest
- Any other costs
To ensure our clients receive the most effective representation we have the capability and resources to address such issues and disputes across all consumer forums, namely:
- District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
- State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
- National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
- Real Estate and Regulatory Authority – Appellate & Tribunal
We provide very strong and effective representation to deal with fraudulent and non-performing real estate developers and to contest or claim the investment made, along with penal interest and other costs. Our team of highly competent and experienced team of lawyers have thorough and exhaustive knowledge of all the nuances, procedures and laws pertaining to such disputes. Coupled with our experience of about two decades in representing our clients in such matters, puts us in a very strong position to be able to deliver the outcomes that our clients desire.
An in-depth review of the facts and documents by our legal team is the first step towards the assessment of the case and preparing a legal strategy for resolution of the case in the most efficient, time bound and effective manner. We are also empathetic to our clients time and money and have many a time been able to achieve a fair settlement for our clients via out of court settlements, while making sure that our clients’ interests are fully protected whenever such a settlement is done. We boast of an unblemished record with a 100%-win rate in all such matters filed against Real Estate developers at the appropriate consumer forums.
What documents are required where the property has been purchased by taking loan from bank/financial institutions?
- Tripartite Agreement, if any between the builder, bank/financial institutions and the buyer.
- Correspondence between buyer and the bank/financial institution which financed the payment of the property.
- Correspondence between the builder and the bank/financial institutions, if any held with the buyer.
- Statement of finance from the respective Banks/Financial Institutions for the payments made to the builder.
- Account statement issued by the builder showing the details of payments received by him paid by the buyer or the bank/financial institution on behalf of the buyer.
What documents are required where the property has been purchased by not taking loan from bank/financial institutions?
- Allotment Letter issued by the Builder.
- Receipts given by the builder to the buyer for the payments made to make the purchase of the property.
- Buyer’s Agreement.
- Floor Buyer’s Agreement (in case of sale of a floor)
- Apartment Buyer’s Agreement (in case of an apartment/flat)
- Bank statement/cheques of the buyer showing details of the payments made by him to the builder.
- Correspondence between the buyer and the builder.
- Account statement issued by the builder showing the details of payments received by him paid by the buyer.
- Site plan of the property in question.
- Any other transaction details.
- Brochure of the Developer.
- Present status of the property, if known.
- Present status of the builder, if known.
Any litigation details available if suit has been filed by the other buyers against the builder.
The Act provides for a three tier Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies depending upon the claim with regard to value of the suit property. These are:
- District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in the District,
- State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at the State level and
- National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at the National level.
A complaint has to be filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action/deficiency in service/defect in goods arises. However, a complaint may also be filed after two years, if the complainant satisfies the Forum that he/she has sufficient reasons for not filing the complaint within such period.
Sale Agreement even not registered is enforceable in Law, and shortage of stamp charges can be paid into with the courts order. Agreement is valid for three years from the date mentioned to execute. So file a suit to get the deed registered through court.
A dissatisfied consumer can file a complaint directly with the National Commission, State Commission or District Forum depending upon its jurisdiction to deal with the complaint. An appeal against decisions of the District Forum and State Commission can be filed within a month from the date of the order.