Haven't got possession of flat? Claim refund if project delayed beyond a yr

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The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has come to the aid of homebuyers who struggle to get possession of their flats for years. The apex consumer commission has determined a time period of one year for stalled realty projects beyond which homebuyers can claim refund from builders.

NCDRC has mandated real estate builders to refund the homebuyers for failing to hand over the possession of an apartment in case of a delay.

According to a report in the Times of India, NCDRC said in an order that, "It is now established that allottees have the right to ask for a refund if possession is inordinately delayed, particularly beyond one year."

Despite the Supreme Court and several consumer courts repeatedly saying that homebuyers cannot be made to wait indefinately for their flats, there was no clarity as to when a buyer can claim a refund for the unfinished or delayed project.

The order was passed on a plea filed by a Gurgaon resident who bought one flat in 2012. He paid Rs 90 lakh against the total cost of Rs 1 crore and the flat was promised to be handed over to him within 36 months with a grace period of six months from the date of allotment. When the builder failed to give the possession of the apartment, the buyer approached the commission to seek a refund on the time-bound possession of the flat. 

NCDRC ordered the builder to complete the construction work, handover the apartment by September 30, 2019 in all aspects according to the agreement. The commission also asked the builder to pay interest at 6 per cent on the deposited amount. 

According to NCDRC, in case of non-delivery of projects within the prescribed deadline, the builder will refund the entire amount with 10 per cent interest.

In a recent example, NCDRC asked real estate giant Unitech Limited on May 14 to refund over Rs 1 crore to a home buyer for failing to hand over the possession of an apartment. The apex consumer commission asked the company to refund within three months Rs 1,77,95,300 and give a compensation of simple interest at 10 per cent per annum to Gurgaon residents Amal and Minakshi Ganguli for a delay of over two years in handing over the possession.

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