Is the delivery of your apartment delayed, has the work at site been suspended, are you being denied penalty? If yes, then should you wait until possession to file a case in consumer court for delay and higher compensation? The answer is NO, let me try to explain it.
For the last couple of years I have been in the center of consumer activism. While there is no denying that informed home buyers have started raising their voice in the recent past, it is very important to note that they raise it at right platform and at right time. Bitter truth of Indian real estate industry is that after trying all possible platforms, one can only get justice from the court.
All the buyers associations and individuals I have interacted with in recent past have this fear in mind:
“If I file the case in consumer court before taking the possession, builder may deny me the apartment or cancel it.”
Logically speaking, the above statement is thing of past now. Builder can not deny you possession if you file the case before taking the possession.
In a recent case of Buyer’s Association in NCDRC, members of the complainant society were denied possession citing the pendency of the complaint before court. Buyers were given an offer to withdraw from the case or wait for final order from the consumer court.
However, on society’s request, the Honourable consumer court passed an order that:
During pendency of this complaint, the possession of the flats in question will be handed over to such of the flat buyers who are the members of the complainant Association and are yet to receive possession, without asking them to sign the waiver letter.
So, even if you file the case for delay in delivery and higher compensation, your apartment is not at risk.
Now the question that may come to your mind is, when should you to approach consumer courts for delay in delivery and higher compensation? Legally speaking, the answer is NOW. There is no benefit of waiting till possession if your apartment is delayed by more than one year. However, it is very important to time your case. Keep minimum three months buffer between filing the case and offer of possession if you foresee it. This will give you enough time to secure an order of the kind.
What’s the harm in waiting for possession?:
Time is the essence. When you delay filing the case, you gives builder a chance to prepare defence. Have a look at what all explanations builder usually give for not giving the penalty : Force Majeure, Can Builder Escape Payment of Delay Penalty?
While taking the possession, you may also be asked to sign certain waiver forms and No-Dues agreements. This may dilute your stand in the consumer court of law.
“The Logical Buyer’s” suggestion:
We suggest that if your apartment is delayed by a significant months and there is no sight of delivery, you should approach the consumer court as buyers association without waiting for the possession.