Inordinate delays in handing over the possession of projects and deficiencies in services have compelled homebuyers to stage protests against the errant developers. 99acres lists down a few common ways in which the homebuyers are expressing their rage towards the builders nowadays.

The dissatisfaction of homebuyers, over the past few years, has been noticed at almost every level of a real estate transaction. While the level and extent of dissatisfaction are different in different phases of house purchase and ownership, one thing is for sure; the grievances are many. These can broadly be categorised into three stages: pre-purchase, possession, and post-purchase. The dissatisfaction can be found at all these levels, though the reasons might change with the stage of construction.

Talking about the various types of disputes in the real estate segment, Aradhana Bhansali, Partner, Rajani Associates, shares, “Real estate is a vast and complex industry. There are various disputes that may arise between the developer/promoter and allottee/homebuyers on account of obligation failure. Other disputes, such as construction disputes may arise between landowners and developers. Land disputes can also be on account of defects in title and rights affected by third party purchasers. In addition, disputes related to the succession of properties are also quite common in the real estate domain.”

While it was earlier quite difficult for the buyers to express their discontent towards the builder, especially before RERA came into force, the same is not the case now. In the present times, the buyers communicate their displeasure via different methods, including street and online protests. Listed below are quite a few of the ways in which buyers are protesting against developers nowadays.

Street Protests:

There have been several instances; wherein, the aggrieved buyers gather at a particular place and raise slogans against the builder. Thereafter, they march together towards a certain point, seeking the intervention of the public and authorities at large. For example, in a recent case from Delhi NCR, the buyers staged a demonstration against the non-completion of a residential project in Noida. With the intent to demand action against the builder group, the buyers together marched towards the police station seeking help, as the builder to failed to hand-over the flats despite repetitive assurances. In another similar instance from Mumbai, nearly 2,500 buyers together approached the Economic Offences Wing (EOQ) and filed an FIR against the builder for delayed possession. The buyers held placards on the streets to convey their displeasure for the developer. Candlelight march is also a form of protest, often adopted by present-day homebuyers.

Balcony Protests:

Balcony protest is yet another common way to stage a demonstration against the builder. The aggrieved buyers usually hang banners from their balconies with slogans to drive the attention of the developer. In Gurgaon, the residents of a particular society expressed their concerns by hanging up posters in balconies across all the towers. The buyers chose this method to communicate their displeasure over maintenance issues. Similarly, in a case from Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, the buyers hanged banners in balconies when the builder refused to listen to matters related to the formation of the Apartment Owners Association (AOA). 

Online Protests:

The homebuyers are no longer afraid to take on the might of developers for delaying the delivery of apartments and changing building plans. Frequently, there have been cases when the buyers have taken the help of social media and reported their issues on the Facebook page of the builder, along with WhatsApp, and Twitter groups. The resentful buyers often form groups on the media platform, discuss problems, and publicise their efforts. The buyer activism has been spurred by favourable rulings in the past, issued by courts and regulatory authorities.

Hunger Strikes:

When nothing seems to work, the buyers in the past have also resorted to indefinite hunger strikes to garner mass attention. Monetary contributions from the fellow buyers have helped the aggrieved parties fight against the builder until the resolution of their issues. In a case from Kochi, flat owners from a residential complex started a relay hunger strike to fight against the demolition order, issued by the Supreme Court. In Noida, over 1,000 buyers protested against a builder, expressing their anguish over non-delivery of flats. The protest helped the buyers to a considerable extent as the builder later invited the buyers for a day-long discussion on their issues.

While the reasons can be many, protests by buyers is a common thing nowadays. However, the methods mentioned here above have helped several buyers in the recent past. Other than these, quite a few buyers have also signed online petitions and approached redressal forums to seek help against the unfair practices adopted by the developers.