By Venket Rao
So, the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) is here and now all grievance will be taken care of, regulator will tighten the builders and all that was wrong in real estate industry is going to be set right. One year ago, this was what was expected of RERA, a quick-fix solution for years of rot. One year on, in fact two years from RERA coming into effect, we are still waiting for that, transparent, credible and accountable real estate industry.
RERA was proposed to be implemented in two stages, in the first stage, states were given one year to set up the administrative mechanism i.e. to set up a regulator, have a operational website, notify rules and set up an appellate tribunal etc. The second stage was proposed to begin one year from stage one, whereby actual implementation i.e. registration of real estate projects by developers and complaint redressal etc. was to commence.
RERA was notified for implementation with effect from May 1, 2016 and certain sections were notified which kicked off the first stage. States were slow to take off, there was reluctance bordered on resistance. Administrative mechanism including an operational website and Rules were to be in place by April, 30 2017. However, in spite of repeated nudging and warnings by the Union Government, only four states lead by Maharashtra and Union Territories had Regulator and Rules in place. In fact, only Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had an operational website.
Taking a tough stand, the Union Government went ahead and notified operational sections of RERA with effect from May 1, 2017, kicking off the second stage. It was welcomed with great enthusiasm by buyers at large. It was expected to change the dynamics of real estate industry.
Since one year from the implementation:
–Till now only 27 states (including Union Territories) have notified their rules.
–Only 16 states and Union Territories have functional portal for the registration of real estate projects and agents.
–So far only eight states and UTs have a permanent real estate regulator and the remaining 19 have only an interim regulator.
–Kerala appointed an interim regulator as late as March this year and West Bengal has drafted rules but still not notified. West Bengal, rather implementing the Central RERA, as some reports suggest, may have its own law i.e. West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act 2017 (questionable, but…)
–Many northeastern states have yet to take any concrete step in this direction.
–Only three states and Union Territories have set up the regular appellate tribunal; 13 states and UTs have interim tribunal.
–Since the implementation of RERA, 27000 projects have been registered so far and approximately 17,000 applications for agents are pending.
- The second stage was proposed to begin one year from stage one, whereby actual implementation i.e. registration of real estate projects by developers and complaint redressal etc. was to commence.
- Taking a tough stand, the Union Government went ahead and notified operational sections of RERA with effect from May 1, 2017, kicking off the second stage.
- Kerala appointed an interim regulator as late as March this year and West Bengal has drafted rules but still not notified. West Bengal, rather implementing the Central RERA, may have its own law.
- It definitely is not a hunky dory situation, but the way RERA is being pushed/followed the intent seems to be there. Implementation may not have been as swift as expected, but is definitely on course.
Even in states where RERA has been implemented, buyers have been alleging dilution of some critical provisions such as on definition of ongoing projects, penalties etc.
Across states, there have been many petitions challenging various provisions of RERA, including Constitutional validity of certain provisions. The Union Government approached the apex court for transferring of all the cases before various High Courts to the apex court. However, the Supreme Court had directed the Bombay High Court to settle various petitions in its jurisdiction, within a time period whereupon the same could suitably be settled for the rest. The Bombay HC, in a big relief to homebuyers, upheld the Constitutional validity of various provisions of RERA and other issues. This may pave the way for other states to take a similar stand.
It definitely is not a hunky dory situation, but the way RERA is being pushed/followed the intent seems to be there. Implementation may not have been as swift as expected, but is definitely on course. Buyers have had high expectations and after a long wait have a powerful tool in RERA. Industry needed disciple and transparency, which RERA is to usher in. In spite of bottlenecks, RERA is showing its wonderful impact albeit slowly but surely. Registration of projects and the information available is tremendous, buyers can take informed decisions. Developers are becoming more and more conscious and disciplined. In states like UP, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, RERA is surely showing its positive effects. MahaRERA is a clear winner, but other states will catch up.
So, it has been a rocky start for RERA, but whenever a change is effected there is bound to be resistance and only resilience will overcome it.
(The author is Founder & Chief Executive, Intygrat Business Advisory (P) Ltd. He has over two decades of rich experience in the areas of management, finance, regulatory compliances, secretarial & legal. Over the years, he has occupied senior management positions in industry and spent over a decade in real estate industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The views and opinions expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company.
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