The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2013 cleared by the Union Government this week promises to streamline a hitherto unregulated sector says

Transparency, uniform regulatory environment, interests of consumers protected and speedy adjudication of disputes. These, among others, are the features that go into the making of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2013 cleared by the union government this week and promise to streamline a hitherto unregulated sector.

Describing the bill as the government’s reiteration of the commitment to make real estate development transparent and consumer friendly, Ajay Maken, Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation had said the real estate and housing sector was at largely unregulated and opaque at present, with consumers often unable to procure complete information, or enforce accountability against builders and developers in the absence of effective regulation.

The bill has provisions dealing with registration of projects and agents with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, functions and duties of promoters, functions and duties of real estate agents, rights and duties of allottees, establishment of Real Estate Regulatory Authority, establishment of Central Advisory Council, establishment of Real Estate Appellate Tribunal, offences and penalties, Finance, Accounts, Audits and Reports etc.

Key aspect

One key aspect of the bill happens to be the initiative at introduction of the concept of using only ‘carpet area’ for sale which has till now been ambiguously sold as super area, super built up area etc.

It also aims to ensure consumer protection, by making it mandatory for promoters to register all projects, prior to sale, and only after having received all approvals from development/municipal authorities, thereby protecting buyer investments.

It makes mandatory upon the promoters to deposit 70 per cent or such lesser per cent as notified by the government to cover the construction cost of the project of funds in a separate bank account to ensure timely completion and prevent fund diversion.

A mandatory public disclosure norms for all registered projects has been put in place which would include details of the promoters, project, layout plan, plan of development works, land status, carpet area and number of the apartments booked, status of the statutory approvals and disclosure of agreements, names and addresses of the real estate agents, contractors, architect and structural engineer.

Maintaining accounts

Real estate agents are also expected to adhere to certain guidelines which include not facilitating the sale of immovable property which are not registered with the Authority and maintain books of accounts, records and documents among others.

The bill empowers the Authority to give directions for specific performance powers to impose penalty for non-registration of projects including imprisonment for continuous violation up to three years and impose penalty in case of other contraventions.