RERA Is A Paradigm Shift For The Better: Gautam Chatterjee

The chairman of the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority which implements the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), Gautam Chatterjee is quickly gaining a reputation for being a tough taskmaster in implementing RERA in Maharashtra. A retired bureaucrat, Mr. Chatterjee is an authority in urban housing and played an important role in framing the housing rules in the state. He has previously also headed the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) and was also a housing secretary in the past.

The Real Estate (Regulations and Development) Act, popularly referred to as the RERA Act of 2016 has come into force from May 1, 2017 and is said to bring about a sense of clarity and order to the Indian Real Estate sector. The Act has defined a set of stringent norms for the real estate developer, the intermediary, as well as the consumer. Chatterjee believes his aim is to make the system favorable to the buyer. He says,

RERA will ensure that builders give the buyer whatever product he has promised. It will encourage transparency, fiscal discipline and better implementation of regulations.

The fact that Maharashtra’s RERA will borrow from the state’s own regulatory proposal of 2012 was also revealed.

At the 9th edition of the CII Realty and Infrastructure Conclave on 7th July in Mumbai, Mr. Chatterjee was vociferous in his plea to developers to get their projects registered before the July 31st deadline. He has promised to ensure full cooperation from the regulator as well as faster approvals. To the customer, he has promised transparency in the availability of all approvals on the Maha RERA portal.

In an interview with NDTV he stated that there are several provisions in Maharashtra’s RERA, of which the home buyers will be the beneficiary, some of which are discussed below:

  1. RERA’s Retrospective Effect:

Since Maha RERA has made it mandatory for all ongoing projects without Occupation Certificate (OC), to be registered within three months, the effect is retrospective and signifies hope for homebuyers who feel duped due to project delays and developer malpractices.

  1. Full disclosure Expected from Developers:

Developers will be expected to disclose timelines for project delivery, a method of calculation of project prices, details of materials used, among other specifications. This is to ensure buyers know what are getting into when they choose a future home.

  1. Regulation of Real Estate Ads:

Developers will no longer be allowed to lavishly advertise their projects without proper approvals. All false claims will be penalized as per provisions in the Act.

The most recent reports are that MOFA may be a thing of the past. The Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act (MOFA) 1963 is the state’s oldest legislation that safeguards the interests of consumers.  Gautam Chatterjee has written a letter to the State Housing Department, asking for MOFA to be repealed. According to Chatterjee, RERA has provisions that override all other real estate acts. At a housing event organized by Zee 24taas and DNA with CREDAI-MCHI, he said, “I have written to the government (housing department) on repealing MOFA.” He suggested, “a Maharashtra Transfer Act 2017 needs to be brought in.” Chatterjee said that such an act could cover projects that do not require registration and hence are outside the realm of RERA. “The new act will cover three aspects – liability, conveyance, and creation of a legal entity,” he said.

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