Moneycontrol
| Source: Moneycontrol.com

No homes, no EMIs! Can Jaypee home buyers seek legal recourse?

Jaypee home buyers want interim relief from court that they should be allowed to stop paying EMIs until flats are delivered to them as they have no hope yet

Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1

More than 100 homebuyers, who have invested their hard-earned money in Jaypee projects, are planning to move court to grant them interim relief to allow them to stop paying their equated monthly instalments (EMIs) until completed residential units are delivered to them.

“Why should we pay EMI for a non-existent property? What is the monetary relief we are getting from the September 11 SC order? We are not asking for suspension of EMIs – we are only asking for deferment of our EMIs until the insolvency resolution professional (IRP) comes up with a resolution plan and preferably possession of the flat is given to us without any interest or penalty to ensure that we are not charged or penalised for the delay in paying EMIs,” says Shilpa Vij, a buyer who bought a house under the subvention scheme in 2011and started paying EMI in 2013 in the hope of getting her house in 2014.

“We want an interim relief. EMIs and monthly rents are draining us and there is no hope yet that we will get a flat,” she says.

Ramakant Rai, Trilegal, who is advising Jaypee home buyers, says that buyers have two options – one, they can write to RBI or the National Housing Bank concerning their problems and two they can file a writ petition either in the High Court or the Supreme Court concerning the issue.

“Many buyers have already sent complaints to RBI and NHB. RBI can act on the basis of these complaints. Also, in case the issue is raised through a writ petition before the Supreme Court, the SC on grounds of equity to protect the interests of home buyers can issue directions to RBI, NHB or directly to banks to allow them to hold EMIs until units are fully developed,” he says.

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Homebuyers have alleged that banks did not do their due diligence and disbursed loans even when project approvals were not in place and that banks had given pre-approved loans for the project.

“We have filed RTIs with the Noida Authority and received a response from them that approvals were sanctioned only in 2012 whereas projects have been sold since 2008. The requisite permissions were not in place at the time of the project launch. There was lack of due diligence on the part of banks as they had disbursed loans even when plans were not in place,” says Pramod Rawat, a buyer.

S K Suri, a home buyer, who has filed RTIs with the authorities for information regarding dates of applications made by the developer and final approval of plans, says that he has been given copies of approval letters for seven Jaypee projects, details of the builder filing an application for approval and the date of the authority granting approval.

“Most of the approvals were received only after 2011 whereas most bookings/loan disbursements started way back in 2008,” he says, adding it took him nearly four months to get a response to his RTIs and several rounds to the authority’s office. One response is still awaited.

Most homebuyers have decided against not paying their monthly EMIs for fear that their CIBIL score and future credit history may get impacted. But legal experts say that in case the court intervenes in this matter, it can direct CIBIL to not touch their scores. “Also, buyers are not asking for a refund, they are only asking not to pay EMIs until they get possession of the flats which has been delayed by almost five to eight years,” they say.

Legal experts also say that the September 11 SC order puts a moratorium on all cases against Jaypee. ‘All suits and proceeding instituted against JIL shall in terms of Section 14(1)(a) remain stayed as we have directed the IRP to remain in Management,’ says the order. “Homebuyers can argue that this is a uni-dimensional order as homebuyers cannot file cases against the builder in other courts such as NCDRC or RERA. It should also protect home buyers and allow them to stop paying EMIs and banks should not proceed against buyers until the time homes are delivered,” they say.

“The only possible way that home buyers have recourse to the bank is if the deal has been brokered by the bank's real estate arm or if the bank has disbursed the full amount rather than construction-linked progress payment. Even in such cases they should issue a notice to the bank first claiming damages before taking any precipitate action such as stopping pre- EMI interest payment,” says CA Harsh Roongta, a fee only investment adviser.

vandana.ramnani@nw18.com
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