SC directs builder to repay Rs.33 cr maintenance

supreme courtBy Accommodation Times News Services

A big a blow to builders who don’t deliver on promised dates, the Supreme Court has asked Ambience Lagoon Apartments , in Gurgaon to refund residents Rs 33.38 crore — 70% of the maintenance fees it had collected since 2002 – for failing to provide the amenities it had committed to at the time of purchase.

A bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Adarsh Kumar Goel on Friday upheld a March 19 ruling of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) directing the developers of Ambience Lagoon Apartments to refund 70% of the total maintenance money collected over 11 years to 345 flat owners for failing to offer services commensurate with the maintenance charged.

There are 15 blocks in Ambience Lagoon Apartments, located behind Ambience Mall on NH8. At the time of allotment of flats, the buyers were promised one lift for every 10 flats. But in most blocks, only two lifts were provided instead of the four promised.

In November 2004, 66 residents of Ambience Lagoon moved court against Raj Singh Gehlot and his company, Ambience Pvt Ltd, for poor maintenance of lifts. The case dragged on, and finally, on March 19 this year, the NCDRC passed its judgment.

But the company moved the Supreme Court where it was represented by top-flight lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The residents were represented by Kamini Jaiswal.

Depending on the size of the flat, each resident will now get back anything between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.

Jaiswal said the developer’s appeal was rejected on the merit of the case by the apex court. A spokesperson for Ambience group said, “We will comment only after receiving a copy of the court’s order.”

“Even the lifts which were installed were not repaired once in 11 years,” said S C Talwar, an Ambience Lagoon resident. “Due to lack of maintenance there have been instances where the elevators have come to a stop after falling freely for several floors, thus putting our lives at risk,” he added.

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