The West Bengal Building Act 1993 was formulated to protect the end-users from unscrupulous builders. Pradip Kumar Chopra a leading developer of West Bengal and Hony. Secretary, CREDAI-Bengal tells the story of its success.
Under the West Bengal Building (Regulation of Promotion and Construction and Transfer by Promoters) Act 1993 (West Bengal Act XX of 1993), any person or firm desiring to construct a building having more than one apartment, falling under the purview of West Bengal Apartment Ownership Act, with a desire to sell such apartments to consumers has to register themselves with the West Bengal Housing Department under the said Act and observe the following rules:
1) The promoter has to get a certificate from this department without which he cannot commence the construction of an apartment building meant for sale to intending purchaser.
2) He has to declare and ensure before the department adequate financial resources and all the permissions such as municipal sanction plan, clearance from Urban Land Ceiling and all the other documents and clearances required for carrying out such developmental work.
3) Declare before the department the total sanction area by the municipal authorities and how it is apportioned in each apartment meant for sale. The promoter cannot charge from the intending purchaser for area more than what is made out in the application before the department (there is no scope for the promoter to make any fictitious area chargeable to the intending customer).
4) The promoter has to complete the project within this stipulated time failing which a clause for refund of money to the intending purchaser together with interest @ 12% has to be incorporated in the agreement for sale.
5) In the event of the promoters delaying the delivery of the apartment penalty clause has to be incorporated in the agreement for sale.
6) The agreement for sale should also clearly specify the specification of construction.
7) All such agreements of sale have to be approved by the Department of Housing and no changes can be carried out in such agreement after such approval.
8) The promoter has to provide one-year free voluntary service from the date of delivery of flat to the intending purchaser. Needless to mention that all the wear and tear and defects in the building for one year has to be rectified by the promoter at his own cost. Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) has to be taken by the builder at his own cost for lifts, generator, intercom, cable TV, CCTV, gym equipments, water filtration plant etc. and all other hardware which are installed or provided by the developer.
9) The developer has to also insure the building against all or any natural calamity such as fire, earthquake, flood, hurricane, tempest, Tsunami etc. and the premium has to be paid by the developer for up to one year from the date of completion of the building.
10) All the above conditions are the statutory requirement under the law that has to be strictly followed by the promoters/developers failing which the developer may be prosecuted and jailed for a period that may extend up to six months.
The West Bengal government has enacted in the year 1993, the West Bengal Building (Regulation of Promotion and Construction and Transfer by Promoters) Act. Under this Act the promoter has to establish his bona fide before the Housing Department. He has to justify and declare the area in square foot he will be charging to the consumer, time for completion of the building/project. He has to also get the model agreement approved by the department which has to include one year free warranty service and also provide one year insurance cover against all kinds of natural calamity after possession being granted to the prospective apartment purchasers.
This Act, I feel, has protected the intending purchaser of flats from rogue developers as well as fly-by-night operators in Kolkata's real estate sector. It has also protected the consumers from being overcharged in area (by way of inflated super built-up area) from the developers and also have provided protection to them at least for one year after taking possession of the flat from defects, normal wear and tear in the building. The other states of the country can also enact similar laws to regulate the real estate business in their respective domain and to protect the consumer.
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