Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016

Home Buyers are equivalent toFinancial Creditors Supreme Court Reigns

The Supreme Court in Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure Limited vs. Union of India (Pioneer Judgment)[1], has upheld the constitutionality of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act, 2018 (Amendment Act)[2]. Through the Amendment Act[3], the ‘real estate allottees’ (home buyers), as defined under Section 2(d) of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), were brought within the ambit of ‘financial creditor’ under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

A three judges’ bench headed by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rohinton Nariman disposed off a batch of over 150 petitions filed by the real estate developers challenging the constitutional validity of the Amendment Act. The Supreme Court also held that the RERA has to be read harmoniously with the IBC and, in the event of a conflict, the IBC will prevail over the RERA.


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Lease Transactions Under RERA

Real estate is one of the largest industries in India. In the past two decades, the real estate sector has seen a boost in the country, in terms of the quantum of development (commercial and residential properties) and the price of properties. In spite of the same, real estate has remained the most unregulated of sectors, with every State having a different law to regulate properties. Hence, there was no single superior legislation, which would govern this industry.

The absence of a specific, stringent law for this industry led to exploitation of buyers of the property, by the developers. For example, there could be excessive delay in construction and handing over possession of property, biased/arbitrary contracts, deduction in the usable area of the property by developers, and a lack of transparency in the sector, and such like. Due to these issues, the Government of India, introduced a central legislation viz. the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (Act) to regulate the real estate industry, resolve the issued faced by buyers and bring transparency in this sector. All the States have been mandated to form the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for the implementation of Act and form rules and regulations under the same.
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 Recent Maha RERA Directions on Change in Promoter

The real estate sector post enactment of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (Act) is witnessing major consolidation primarily on account of financial constraints faced by small and mid-sized developers. Such consolidation has resulted in developers looking to either exit from their existing projects or enter into collaboration with large established developers for completing such projects.

Hence, in the present scenario, it is of the utmost importance for the industry to know the present legal regime under RERA dealing with new developers / promoters taking over an ongoing projects from existing promoters or from lenders during the process of enforcement of their security over the project.
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 Maharera Amendment Rules 2019

Since the enactment of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (Act), Government of Maharashtra (GoM) was one of the few States to immediately frame the rules thereunder being Maharashtra Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (Registration  of  Real  Estate  Projects,  Registration of  Real Estate Agents, Rates of Interest and Disclosures on Website) Rules, 2017 (Rules). The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MAHA RERA) has been taking the lead to enforce and/or provide clarifications from time to time on the Act and the Rules by issuing various circulars and orders. Recently, the GoM has issued a notification on June 6, 2019 amending certain provisions of the Rules (Amendment Rules).
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No Occupancy Certificate - Criteria for Registration with RERA

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) in its recent order has held that mere non-procurement of an occupancy certificate by a developer does not make the developer liable to register the real estate project[1] under Section 3 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (Act).

This order has been passed following a complaint filed by Sulatana Dalal (Complainant) against Asia Group (Developer), before MahaRERA in relation to a project named as ‘Miracle Mall’ situated at Bhiwandi, Thane, Maharashtra. The Complainant’s contention was that even though the building was completely occupied, the Developer had failed to obtain an occupation certificate and committed breach of law. Against this background, the Complainant sought directions from MahaRERA to register the building under the provisions of the Act. 
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 70% Conundrum - Haryana RERA

There is a requirement under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (Act) to keep aside 70% of receivables from allottees in a separate, designated bank account (RERA Account). This has, from the outset, been viewed as a measure of great reform that would prevent siphoning of funds and ensure that money collected for the purpose of a particular project is, in fact, used for that project. However, the manner and method of utilisation and withdrawal of money lying in the RERA Account has always been a matter for considerable discussion and debate.

Illustratively, the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority has, in April 2019, directed banks not to adjust interest payments against the money that is required to be deposited in the RERA Account. This issue has recently come to the fore and become a matter of serious deliberation in Haryana.  
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State Real Estate Authorities Powers

The Indian Real Estate industry is experiencing a major overhaul on account of the strict implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development), Act, 2016 (RERA), the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 2016 (PBPT Act) and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Insolvency Code).

While implementation of RERA is gaining momentum across the country with each passing day, the State Real Estate Authorities (Regulator) established under the RERA have emerged as a powerful tool for ensuring proper and effective implementation of RERA by the states across India. This article aims to provide an overview of the powers and functions of the Regulator and how it is using these powers to protect the interests of property buyers in India.
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