The government of India enacted the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act in March 2016, and it finally came into force on May 1, 2017. While the Act has been implemented for over a year, nearly 75 percent buyers in the country are still unaware about checking the RERA compliance process online.
According to research studies, three-fourth of the prospective real estate buyers are unaware about the online process of checking RERA compliance of a particular housing project. The survey showed a low awareness level among buyers about the regulation that explicitly aims to safeguards their rights and ensure complete transparency.
Ashok Mohanani, Chairman, Ekta World, Vice President, NAREDCO, shares "The problem persists across the country. As most of the States focussed on the time-bound implementation of the Act, they failed to rightly apprise the common man. Most of the buyers hailing from low-income and mid-income groups are either unaware or have incomplete information regarding the regulations of the Act. Not only this, a large number of buyers are uninformed about the online procedure of checking the RERA compliance of a project."
Maharashtra, the first State to notify the Act is also facing the brunt of poor awareness levels. In fact, numbers in Maharashtra are disappointing. Even after a year of implementation of RERA, it seems to be very far from connecting with the homebuyers. Lack of knowledge pertinent to the online process of checking RERA registered projects has kept homebuyers at bay, thereby impacting sales. In line with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, which duly succeeded in making developers register their projects within the stipulated time and carry their registration number in all advertisements, also failed to garner enough consumer base to the website owing to lack of information amongst the buyer community.
States fail to get in sync
Approximately, 15 States are yet to create an official website where builders and developers can register their projects. The fundamental problems are either the sites are unavailable owing to which buyers are not able to access the background details of the builder, verify project compliance claims and other information such as approvals and completion status of the project or buyers lack requisite technical skills.
Gautam Chatterjee, Chairman, RERA, speaks out that as the Act is only a year old, the focus of the States and builders and developer fraternity was mostly on executing the Act and registering all their products under it. Besides, the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) shifted the focus of builders and engrossed them into complying with the new financial norms. Therefore, it took a little while for the industry to realign. But now, as the economic changes have been duly complied with and most of the states have successfully implemented the RERA Act, the grassroot level efforts will be channelised to inform the ordinary buyer.
RERA compliance has been made mandatory to curb soaring numbers of real estate frauds. The Act has not only tightened the noose around deceitful players, but developers who are opting for extended deadlines for possession will also face grave penalties. Builders have to be cautious of making unreasonable claims.
Besides, adequate attention will also be given to customer grievances. States like Maharashtra have also started a conciliation forum that includes developer bodies and Mumbai Grahak Panchayat that will inform the customer of their rights and explicitly resolve their project related grievances. It has been witnessed that only one out of 10 states have shown political will to execute the official act. Although the widespread implementation might take time to implement, gradually every state will follow suit. The rewards of such reforms will be seen in the long term, and help in transforming the industry into a more organised and process driven sector.