How a bunch of Bangaloreans helped the Real Estate Bill get passed

Civic group members who have pushed hard for RERA Bill, are a happy lot.

With the passing of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 which intends to protect the interests of home buyers, in the Rajya Sabha on 10th March 2016, the bill crossed a major hurdle. All day, activists were trying to lobby for the Bill through Twitter with the handle @FightForRERAInd. Today (March 15th) the Bill was passed in Lok Sabha too.

The citizen activism to push the RERA Bill started in Delhi, by Lt Gen Bahri (Retd). The Delhi group reached out to other major cities to pool people who can study and comment on the Real Estate Bill. Abhay Upadhyay from Kolkata played a stellar role in the national movement by traveling across the country and enlisting support from the RWAs. This is how activists from Bengaluru got involved with this nation-wide movement. The group participated in drafting suggestions / objections for the Bill. M S Shankar, Nagesh Aras, Ajit Naik, Muralidhar Rao, Mithun Garehalli, Sanjay Vijayaraghavan and others proactively raised their voice in support of the Bill.

The citizen activists played a critical role in shaping the RERA bill:

  • The government appointed a high level Select Committee to review the RERA draft bill. The committee held 17 meetings with different stakeholders in 8 cities across the country. Several members of the group made presentations to the Select Committee to recommend specific amendments. Some of the our suggestions were taken into consideration and some were referred to the Law Department.

  • Despite the importance of the bill, it was delayed by several years, due to lack of political will. To counter this, before the current session of the Parliament, the group kept meeting the leaders of all major political parties, so that the bill gets the required priority. The group also ran campaigns to push the bill through Twitter, Facebook and change.org.

  • Perhaps the most critical contribution of the group was in indirect floor management of the House: The Government was wary of tabling the bill in Rajya Sabha because it was felt that the Opposition won’t let it pass. The activists secured personal assurances from the opposition that they will personally act to give a smooth passage to the bill. This reassurance gave the government the confidence to table the bill in the Rajya Sabha. And indeed, the debate on the bill went extremely smoothly, without any partisan stands. Thus the group was instrumental in eliminating the bitter political rivalry that kept scuttling the previous attempts to pass this bill.

Here are some of the highlights of the Bill:

  • The Real Estate Bill calls for a regulatory authority to be established at state (or Union Territories) levels, to regulate the real estate transactions in the area.

  • All the real estate projects and also the agents will have to be registered with the regulatory authority of the respective state.

  • Developers will have to disclose the details of their project including the approvals from other government authorities, status of the land on which the project will be developed, layout plans, etc.

  • The developers will have to deposit 70 per cent of their project cost in an escrow account. This is to make sure that the funds are not used elsewhere.

  • Developers and promoters will have to disclose important information about their projects to the buyers. Any change in the project design and layout will not be allowed without the consent of the buyers.

  • Properties more than 500 sqm (or 8 flats) will fall under the scope of this act.The local authorities that provide certain approvals to the developers will also be controlled under this act, and will be forced to give time-bound permissions (or reject the application).

  • Homebuyers have the right to approach consumer courts in case of any disputes or discrepancies. 644 district-level consumer courts will be set up.

  • The bill also provides for penalties and punishments for the violation of the provisions of the bill. If the builders violate it, they may be imprisoned for three years. If the buyers or agents do, they will be imprisoned for one year.

  • A fast track dispute resolution mechanism will be established for quick resolution of disputes among different parties via Appellate Tribunal and adjudicating officers.

  • All the above provisions will be applicable for residential as well as commercial real estate.

  • The bill was pending with the Rajya Sabha since 2011, and had already undergone numerous amendments.

3 Comments

  1. Dear Sir,

    It is a good move and hope that this bill will bring transparency, accountability and safety in the real estate transactions.

    The bill has to be put into test and over a period of time, can arrive at its shortcomings and such shortcomings may be rectified by the amendments.

    EP Team

    The Real Estate Bill calls for a regulatory authority to be established at state (or Union Territories) levels, to regulate the real estate transactions in the area. All the real estate projects and also the agents will have to be registered with the regulatory authority of the respective state. Developers will have to disclose the details of their project including the approvals from other government authorities, status of the land on which the project will be developed, layout plans, etc. The developers will have to deposit 70 per cent of their project cost in an escrow account. This is to make sure that the funds are not used elsewhere. Developers and promoters will have to disclose important information about their projects to the buyers. Any change in the project design and layout will not be allowed without the consent of the buyers. Properties more than 500 sqm (or 8 flats) will fall under the scope of this act.The local authorities that provide certain approvals to the developers will also be controlled under this act, and will be forced to give time-bound permissions (or reject the application). Homebuyers have the right to approach consumer courts in case of any disputes or discrepancies. 644 district-level consumer courts will be set up. The bill also provides for penalties and punishments for the violation of the provisions of the bill. If the builders violate it, they may be imprisoned for three years. If the buyers or agents do, they will be imprisoned for one year. A fast track dispute resolution mechanism will be established for quick resolution of disputes among different parties via Appellate Tribunal and adjudicating officers.

  2. OFFHAND
    One of the several aspects highlighted, which must be of most concern to the lastingly disgruntled buyers, for sampling:
    “A fast track dispute resolution mechanism will be established for quick resolution of disputes among different parties via Appellate Tribunal and adjudicating officers. “

    Even if that alone were to be critically gone through, however, it is revealing that there could conceivably be any number of proverbial “slips between the cup and the lip” so to say.

    Looking way back,one of the crucial points of view sufficiently stressed and forcefully urged, as remembered, pertains to ideally standardising the documentation ,- mainly the agreement to sell and final deed of conveyance, -thereby leave the least scope for a promoter to have those drafted, according to own whim, in a one (lop !)-sided-manner, leaning in his favour. So far as could be seen, that is an aspect finding no mention, thus sadly left uncovered, in the enactment. Now, hopefully, such and other material aspects might have to be specifically covered in the Rules remaining to be framed and made an essential part of the enactment. Of no-less contextual relevance is the recently displayed write-up @Ecopack LInk (shared on Facebook) > https://ecopackindia.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/top-builder-property-documents-20000-pages-only-no-body-can-read-and-provide-real-opinion/
    Incidentally, -in all fairness to the expectant buyers’ community, in general, and that of resident state of Karnataka in particular, and for sake of good order,- the write-up could have greatly helped, had at least been briefly covered therein what exactly are those suggestions taken up and pursued by the bunch of pro-activists indicated to have played a significant rule in pushing through the legislation , and particularly those not accepted and incorporated in the enactment. For, that should enable the rest being one and all no-less concerned, to strive and take on separately with the HM , if so advised, with no further loss of time.
    Welcome to ‘EDIT’, if so found fit.

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