A question mark has been raised on the credibility of developers who constantly revise their FAR in an attempt to reduce their land costs and manipulate the buyers’ situation.
FAR means the ratio of the total area of a building divided by the total area of the plot the building is located on. So, when a developer builds vertically, it is able to book more profits and reduce the total cost of construction of the project.
Legal advisor, Pant Associates, U.C. Pant claims that the lack of a regulatory body independent of builder lobby is the reason behind such unscrupulous activities on behalf of a developer. The result will be that the buyer will have to either walk away with a refund or have their capital stuck in the project due to delayed completion. There is no policy or rule governing the frequency of revision of FAR. “Since the law is weak and expensive for the buyer and the penalty charges are not substantial for the developer, such activities (frequent plan revisions) can take place intermittently,” says Pant.
The implications of increased FAR for the buyers of the project are:
• Sharing common facilities such as swimming pool, gym, club etc
• Sunlight could get blocked due to newer towers
• More pressure on the power and water supplies
• Increased car parking in the same space
• Open green expanse decreases
• Per capita density of the living space could impact the entire living experience
Experts say that the Supertech saga is not the only one of its kind and is likely to open a can of worms where authorities have allowed revised FARs.
Navneet Varshney, Propreitor of Lakshya Group points out, “a prominent builder in Indirapuram has constructed two illegal towers of 18-19 floors without the prior permission of Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).”
The FAR in Noida & Greater Noida was increased from 2 to 3.25-3.75 in 2012 for houses coming up near the proposed metro line. For individual projects, a developer is mandated by the UP Apartments Act to take permission of about 60 per cent of his existing buyers before increasing the FAR.
Earlier, DLF's Belaire project at Gurgaon also faced scrutiny as it had increased the number of floors without prior permission of the owners. The Residents' Welfare Association (RWA) had challenged the additional construction. CCI imposed a penalty of a little over Rs 600 crore, accusing DLF of misusing its dominant position. The appeal is still pending.
Next time, don’t invest in a real estate project without consulting a legal counselor on the buyer-builder agreement. If you are already a home owner, you know that you can assert your rights collectively via consumer courts, the CREDAI redressal cell and even the police in extreme cases.