MahaRERA orders Persipina Developers to not charge for open car parkings
The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Maha-RERA) has ruled that open parking spaces fall within the definition of common areas in the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, and hence developers cannot charge homebuyers for them.
The ruling came during the hearing of a complaint by homebuyer Mahesh Shah against Sunny Vista Realtors and Persipina Developers, which is part of the Hiranandani Group. MahaRERA member Bhalchandra Kapadnis directed Persipina to not charge any money if the parking space is open, and charge Rs 4 lakh if it is covered.
According to the complaint, Shah had booked Flat 2803 in Granville-1 in Hiranandani Palace Garden project in Panvel in 2010 by paying Rs 59.63 lakh, excluding parking charges, maintenance charges and taxes. Sunny Vista, the developer, promised Shah possession in June 2013. However, the realtor, which had taken a loan from Punjab National Bank, could not repay it, and the loan became a non-performing asset. The project was then taken over by Persipina in 2014 and was rechristened Hiranandani Fortune City, with Shah's building registered as Argus with MahaRERA with a May 2020 possession date.
Advocate Nilesh Gala, appearing for Shah, contended that Persipina did not execute the agreement for sale after accepting more than 10 percent and 20 percent consideration as per RERA and Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA). He said the developer had also charged Rs 4 lakh for parking space, which was not saleable under RERA definition, and therefore Shah should be exempted from the payment.
Advocate Gala also contended that when Shah booked the flat the carpet area promised was 153.47 square metres, or 1,652 square feet, but later it was changed to 101.77 square metres, or 1,095.45 square feet without their consent. He pointed out that changing the building plan without written consent of the allottees contravened Section14 of RERA.
Advocate Ashwini Sankpal, appearing for Persipina, submitted that her client took over the project in the auction in Debt Recovery Tribunal when PNB took action under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act. This was done after all the home buyers in the project urged the DRT to protect their interest.
She argued that the DRT order does not protect the date of handing over the possession of flats promised by Sunny Vista Realtors, and the change of developer was gazetted only in April 2016 after a formal approval by Special Economic Zone Authority. Her client had to denotify the land as SEZ on the insistence of the allottees and get approval as an Integrated Township Project.
On the carpet area reduction, Advocate Sankpal contended that the original allotment letter was issued in 2010 and the carpet area was calculated as per MOFA provisions, which include open and enclosed balconies in carpet area. When Persipina registered the project under RERA, the area was recalculated as 1,095.45 sqft of carpet area and 105.7 sqft balcony, and denied that there was any change.
Kapadnis held that there was no substance in the allegations of reduced carpet area, change in approved layout plan. On the issue of date of possession, he ruled that since the original project was stressed and Persipina incurred additional costs to revive it as an integrated township, he would hold April 30, 2018, as the date of possession. On the issue of covered and open parking, Kapadnis compared the definitions of common areas in MOFA and RERA and observed that the entire land for the project, the staircases, lifts, staircase and lift lobbies, fire escapes, common entrances and exits of buildings, common basements, terraces, parks, play areas, common storage spaces and open parking areas fall within the definition of "common areas" under RERA and hence cannot be charged by the developer.
He directed Persipina to hand over possession on or before May 29, 2020, pay interest at 10.2 percent on Rs 57.78 lakh from April 30, 2018, till Occupancy Certificate.
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