In view of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the government has issued an advisory to all states and union territories to extend the timelines of various time-bound permissions, No Objection Certificates (NoCs) and approvals related to real estate construction projects by nine months automatically.
“…states may issue necessary directives to municipal corporations/ urban development authorities/urban local bodies so that various approvals, payment of charges and compliances by building proponents may be rescheduled without any requirement of individual application from building proponent in this regard. This is in line with promoting Ease of Doing Business,” said the notification tweeted by Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary, housing and urban affairs ministry.
In view of the situation created by the pandemic COVID-19 and consequent countrywide lockdown with effect from March 25, 2020, reverse migration of labourers to their native places and break in supply chain and construction material have adversely impacted the construction activities of real estate projects including residential, commercial, institutional and industrial across the country, the notification said.
This ministry has received representations from various stakeholders requesting for an extension of validity of statutory approvals, licenses, registration and building plan approvals and NOCs from various external and internal agencies for a period of minimum nine months.
This will be for several clearances required during the building construction cycle, both valid for a limited period or otherwise and given by different agencies such as land-owning agencies, building plan approval section of municipal corporations/ development authorities/ urban local bodies, revenue department, state pollution control board, inspector of factories, state environment and state forests department, traffic and transportation department of municipal corporation, state fire department, National Monument Authority, Airport Authority of India, Ministry of defence and ministry of railways among others.
“The ministry has examined the views of states and NOC issuing agencies and various representations from stakeholders. After detailed consideration, in order to avoid separate applications for extension of various kinds of approvals by urban local bodies, urban development authorities, other approvals by urban local bodies, urban development authorities other state and central agencies, states , concerned agencies are advised to consider the situation as Force Majeure, extend the validity automatically of various kinds of approvals by urban local bodies, urban development authorities, other state agencies including commencement, completion certificates, payment schedule of charges including development charges, No Objection Certificates from various agencies by nine months,” it said.
In this regard a video conference with state governments, municipal corporations and NoC issuing Central Agencies was held on May 26 under the chairmanship of secretary, ministry of housing and real urban affairs wherein the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on real estate projects was discussed. It was noted that adverse impact on real estate projects is due to pandemic which is the calamity caused by nature and should be considered as a force majeure situation.
In this meeting, it was noted that some states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have extended timelines related to various approvals for building construction.
This ministry had also issued an advisory on May 13, 2020 for extension of registration of real estate projects for which completion date or revised completion date or extended completion date as per registration expires on or after March 25, 2020 and to extend the said date automatically by six months by invoking Force Majeure clause under the provisions of RERA.
“Also, regulatory authorities may on their own discretion, consider to further extend the date of completion as per registration for another period up to three months if the situation needs special consideration for whole or part of the state of invoking force majeure in view of current pandemic. Such extension is to be granted suo moto by revising the date of completion through a new letter of registration to be issued by RERA,” the notification had said.
Acting on Centre’s advisory asking real-estate regulators in states and union territories to extend by at least six months the deadline for completion of projects in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, Maharashtra RERA, Madhya Pradesh RERA, Rajasthan RERA, Karnataka RERA and Gujarat RERA authorities have extended the completion deadlines for real estate projects in their respective states.
The advisories came after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told media that the deadline would be extended in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, be treated as an “act of God” and a “force majeure” event under the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act, the housing and urban affair ministry said in the advisory issued on May 13.