The Apartment Owners' Association of Kerala has urged the State government to get legislation enacted for regulation and development of the real estate sector in the State.

At a press conference here the other day, C.S. Vinod, president of the association, and A.M. Panicker, secretary, said the law could be on the lines of the model draft Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act of the Union government. They proposed a real estate regulatory authority for the State.

They called upon the government to revise the Kerala Apartment Ownership Act, 1983. They stressed the need to investigate the complaints and allegations against a section of fly-by-night companies offering apartments for sale and to take stern action against them. The association wanted the government to launch a campaign to prevent the public from falling prey to such fraudulent elements.

Pointing out that many builders in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode were facing allegations of hoodwinking customers, Mr. Vinod called for a commission to be set up for a thorough investigation to unearth their murky operations.

“Lured by attractive offers, customers take time to realise that they have been swindled. Several builders fail to provide the promised facilities, while others violate the agreement with the buyer by converting a portion of residential apartment complexes into commercial space. There are complaints of failure to deliver on time, works not done as per the agreement, and, in many cases, ownership rights not transferred and power and water supply not provided,” he said.

Mr. Panicker said there were complaints that some new apartments in Thiruvananthapuram had leaking roofs. “The majority of apartment owners have complaints against the builders,” he said. “The problem lies in the fact that there is no law defining the builder's liability or responsibility to the consumer. The Kerala Apartment Ownership Act, 1983 is grossly inadequate to protect the customer's interests. It does not spell out the builder's liability or the legality of the contract.”