If a builder is unable to give possession of a flat within the agreed time, then he is liable to pay interest to the purchaser until the handover, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission(NCRDC) ordered Runwal Homes to hand over a 1,215-square-foot Nahur flat to a Kemp’s Corner family and also pay them around Rs 69 lakh interest on the amount paid so far. The commission said the builder may adjust the interest amount against the family’s balance payment for the flat.
“It was imperative for the opposite party (the builder) to complete the construction and obtain the completion certificate and hand over possession to the flat allottee till March 2016. From the additional evidence… it is proved that the Building Completion Certificate was issued on July 17, 2019. Neither any allegation nor any proof has been filed to show that due to force majeure or for the reasons mentioned… in the agreement, the construction could not be completed within the stipulated period,” the commission said.
The builder had terminated the agreement after the complainants, Arun Kedia and his family, who had already paid Rs 2.3 crore of the total value of Rs 2.5 crore until August 2015, did not want to pay further until the builder assured possession after the March 2016 deadline lapsed. “Due to lapses on the part of the opposite party (builder), the complainants are suffering a loss. The agreement for sale has been cancelled illegally and is mala fide,” the commission said.
The commission pointed out the agreement fixed reciprocal liabilities upon both the parties. It said, “If the opposite party (the builder) has not abided by the terms of the agreement and committed a serious breach, then it cannot blame the complainants that they have not deposited the instalments well within time or within seven days of the issue of the letter of demand.”
The commission further said there was nothing on record to prove the letters demanding the instalments were actually issued to the flat owners before March 2016. It said, through the letters issued in February, March and September 2016, excessive demands were made.
“Thus, the allegation that the complainants have committed default in payment of instalment for which the agreement was cancelled, is not proved,” the commission observed.
It said the agreement required that the flat buyers be given 30 days’ notice in writing before terminating the agreement. “No such notice was issued… Cancellation of agreement, of which the intimation was given through a letter dated March 15, 2017, was illegal,” it said. The complaint was submitted in 2017. The Kedias had entered into the agreement with the builder on June 5, 2013. The possession was to be handed over in March 2016. The Kedias, a joint family, wanted to move into a bigger home and had availed of a bank loan.