Extend force majeure benefit to homebuyers too: BJP MP and FPCE write to housing minister

By Vandana Ramnani

The interest component of the home loan should be waived during the force majeure period and builders should bear the interest part until homebuyers receive possession, the letters said

Homebuyers have opposed the Central Advisory Council (CAC) decision to grant suo-motu extension of six months to all RERA registered projects. They added that if the force majeure benefit is extended to builders, similar benefits should also be granted to homebuyers.

FPCE has been supported by BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

In a letter to Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri, BJP Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka Rajeev Chandrasekhar said just as relief is being given to builders, homebuyers who are undergoing unimaginable economic hardships due to the COVID-19 lockdown need protection.

"The interest portion of the loan should be waived for homebuyers. For no fault of the buyers, they need not pay both rent and equated monthly installments (EMI)," the MP said.

A similar letter written by MS Shankar, General Secretary, Forum for People’s Collective Efforts, to Puri said, “While the force majeure benefit is extended to builders, in the same way homebuyers should also be taken care of suitably. The interest component of the loan should be waived as homebuyers are now facing job cuts, lack of job security and over and above that they have to pay rent.”

“The builders should bear the interest part till homebuyers gets possession of his/her flat, as due to no fault of the buyer they are forced to pay both rent and EMI. If the project gets completed as per RERA completion date, the financial impact on the homebuyer will be only EMI not rent. Hence, the RERA Authorities, while utilising their discretion to extend the project, should direct the builders suo-motu to compensate the interest part of the EMI till possession of the flat is granted," the letter said.

The letter noted that if the government considers COVID-19 as a natural calamity under force majeure, then the extension of project completion should be the actual lockdown period.

On April 29, Puri said his ministry would soon issue an advisory to RERA authorities and state governments on the special measures that need to be taken to protect the interests of homebuyers and the real estate sector in the light of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said his ministry will soon issue an advisory to all RERA/states about the special measures that need to be taken to safeguard the interest of homebuyers and all other real estate industry stakeholders.

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