By Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, LLB, PhD
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 which came into force in total by 1st May 2017 have very specifically provided under Section 3 (1) that No promoter shall advertise, market, book, sell or offer for sale, or invite persons to purchase in any manner any plot, apartment or building, as the case may be, in any real estate project or part of it, in any planning area, without registering the real estate project with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority established under this Act:
In the section, it is not said that the real estate project should be ongoing or any new project after 1st May 2017.
However, the definition of Real Estate Project is given under section 2 (zn) “real estate project” means the development of a building or a building consisting of apartments, or converting an existing building or a part thereof into apartments, or the development of land into plots or apartment, as the case may be, for the purpose of selling all or some of the said apartments or plots or building, as the case may be, and includes the common areas, the development works, all improvements and structures thereon, and all easement, rights and appurtenances belonging thereto;
This definition clearly define Real Estate Project. A real estate project, as defined, is development of buildings and apartments. However, the Act has given exemptions to completed projects which are completed before 1st May 2017, as per section 3(2)(b). Question is if a project got OC or completion certificate before 1st May 2017 and yet have 8 or more units to be sold or above 500 sq mtrs then will RERA registration required.
In my opinion, all such projects which have 8 or more units to sell, whether having completion certificate or not, are subject to RERA registration. Because the very purpose of section 3(1) which says that no promoter should sell without obtaining RERA regiatration after 1st May 2017. The project completion certificate may for physical completion but a project is not completed till the last key is handed over, society or association of purchaser is formed and conveyance given according to RERA.
If a project is selling, completion certificate for which is obtained before 1st May 2017, any units more than 8 units should be subject to RERA registration because the very purpose of RERA is to protect buyers. What protection under the Act will be available to those who buy such properties which are not RERA registered?
An Occupancy Certificate must also have three component along with certificate. Water, Electricity and Sewer. Without these three amenities, OC is useless. Even a part OC to a building should attract RERA registration because the project should be seen in total and all phases and not mere partial OC.
An OC received as a completion certificate is not the last document to complete the project. The RERA wants promoter to form society and hand over conveyance. In the presence of RERA exemptions, who will protect these buyers?
Many builders are under the impression that if they get OC within these three months of exemption granted under section 3(1) which reads as : will be available to them.
Provided that projects that are ongoing on the date of commencement of this Act and
for which the completion certificate has not been issued, the promoter shall make an application
to the Authority for registration of the said project within a period of three months from the
date of commencement of this Act:
However, they forget the first line of the provision which says that “projects that are ongoing on the date of commencement of this Act and for which the completion certificate has not been issued” are subject to RERA registration. In other words, if a project is ongoing and have not received OC before 1st May 2017, even if it received it in MAY- June or July 2017, then also RERA will be applicable.