Builders cannot ask for maintenance costs from buyers without OC
Real Estate

Builders cannot ask for maintenance costs from buyers without OC

In a relief to homebuyers who are pushed to take possession and start living in their apartments without occupancy certificate (OC) due to delay on the part of builders to get all approvals from the authority, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held that builders cannot ask for maintenance charge from the buyers without OC.

The apex consumer forum held that homebuyers would be liable to pay maintenance charges for their apartments only after the builder obtains occupancy certificate from the civic authority, and it is not appropriate for builders to demand it even though the home buyers start residing in their apartments after taking over the ownership.

It said if the builder fails to obtain OC then it means that the project is not yet finished and it would be viewed only as “paper possession” if the flat is handed over to the buyers. The NCDRC permitted a plea of a batch of 15 homebuyers from Benguluru led by Harinder Singh who was compelled by a builder to pay maintenance charges after taking control of their apartments without OC.Their lawyer Chandrachur Bhattacharya claimed before a bench of S M Kanitkar and Binoy Kumar that the buyers were forced to pay two years of maintenance in advance while taking control of the apartments for which the builder failed to obtain OC despite a delay of six years.

Opposing homebuyers’ plea, the builder VDB Whitefield Development Private Ltd argued that maintenance cost was being charged as it was providing all facilities to those who have shifted to their flats. It said that delay in the project was caused because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was the buyers who had forced it to give them physical ownership of their units without OC.

However, NCDRC was not convinced with the submission of the builders and permitted the plea of homebuyers by relying upon a recent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in January and an earlier verdict of the Commission.

Image Source

Also read: Property costs likely to increase by 5-10% in 2022: Anarock

In a relief to homebuyers who are pushed to take possession and start living in their apartments without occupancy certificate (OC) due to delay on the part of builders to get all approvals from the authority, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held that builders cannot ask for maintenance charge from the buyers without OC. The apex consumer forum held that homebuyers would be liable to pay maintenance charges for their apartments only after the builder obtains occupancy certificate from the civic authority, and it is not appropriate for builders to demand it even though the home buyers start residing in their apartments after taking over the ownership. It said if the builder fails to obtain OC then it means that the project is not yet finished and it would be viewed only as “paper possession” if the flat is handed over to the buyers. The NCDRC permitted a plea of a batch of 15 homebuyers from Benguluru led by Harinder Singh who was compelled by a builder to pay maintenance charges after taking control of their apartments without OC.Their lawyer Chandrachur Bhattacharya claimed before a bench of S M Kanitkar and Binoy Kumar that the buyers were forced to pay two years of maintenance in advance while taking control of the apartments for which the builder failed to obtain OC despite a delay of six years. Opposing homebuyers’ plea, the builder VDB Whitefield Development Private Ltd argued that maintenance cost was being charged as it was providing all facilities to those who have shifted to their flats. It said that delay in the project was caused because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was the buyers who had forced it to give them physical ownership of their units without OC. However, NCDRC was not convinced with the submission of the builders and permitted the plea of homebuyers by relying upon a recent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in January and an earlier verdict of the Commission. Image Source Also read: Property costs likely to increase by 5-10% in 2022: Anarock

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