How Blockchain Will Transform the Indian Real Estate Sector

In June 2018, an E. Coli (bacteria, usually harmless) outbreak across the US, from consuming romaine lettuce sourced by Walmart, resulted in the death of 5 people. The Food and Safety Department found out the reason behind the outbreak in 7 days. However, using blockchain technology, Walmart was able to do this research in 2.2 seconds, which substantially reduces the likelihood of infected food reaching the consumer.

Walmart is collaborating with IBM Food Trust Solution to test a blockchain-based food supply management tool that will help Walmart keep track of information of every single leafy green vegetable that it acquires or sells. Thus, the retailing giant can trace the final product back to the specific farm it came from, suppliers it went through, the store it was sold from; ensuring every aspect of the product is traceable.

Blockchain is an incorruptible global ledger system that provides a way to record and transfer data, such that it is transparent, auditable, safe, fast and invulnerable to outages. These qualities enhance its appeal as a technology that can potentially disrupt a lot of industries and change the underlying way they function, transact, store information, deal with data, and transparency among other things.

Besides food supply management, blockchain is being tested and even trialled in industries as diverse as medicine, law, real estate, banking and airports. A recent research by PwC on blockchain revealed that about 84% respondents (600 executives of companies from 15 territories) are actively involved with developing blockchain related solutions, suggesting the popularity of the technology in the industry.

Blockchain in Real Estate

The processes in the real estate sector are archaic, extremely time consuming, paper-based, outdated, and heavily reliant on intermediaries at various stages, all of which makes it highly susceptible to fraudulent activities. Blockchain can potentially change this on a very fundamental level. It will ease the process, thereby, transforming the real estate sector into a more fluid entity. The potential benefits of applications of blockchain in the Indian real estate sector can foster trust-based transactions that are fast, transparent and binding. Here’s a look at different aspects of real estate, that blockchain technology can impact positively.

Blockchain article on HTEstates

Land Title Frauds

The Indian real estate industry faces a real challenge in maintaining, verifying and searching for title deeds. Just a fraction of them are digitally available thus making title ownership susceptible to fraud due to multiple claims of ownership. Blockchain can prevent such cases by digitising land titles. It will enable every property to have a digital address in the blockchain that consists of additional details like occupancy, finance, ownership records, specifications and attributes of the property as well as existing legal disputes, if any. These parameters would be available to everyone and will be correlatable, thereby, reducing the speed of the transaction from days/weeks/months to minutes.

Transfer of Property

Transfer of a property using Blockchain becomes a simple process. The first owner is required to ‘rehash’ (encrypt) the document in the blockchain to prove the transfer of title of the land to the new owner. The transfer process currently takes weeks/months, a lot of paperwork and a considerable processing fee. With blockchain, this interchange will barely take a couple of seconds.

Smart Contracts

Smart Contracts based on blockchain can ease repetitive transactions or contracts like rents, deposits, installments by automating them. Using a feature called ‘multisignature’ in the blockchain, two parties can enter into an automatically binding agreement. The open-source nature of smart contracts ensures that contracts are executed as dictated by the source code. These contracts, therefore, are automatic, transparent and once executed are indisputable, irreversible and unalterable thus ensuring high confidence among users.

Disintermediation

The real estate sector suffers from an over-reliance on various intermediaries like brokers, registration officers, banks, notary, etc as these middlemen hold key information/access that isn’t available to the common man. Blockchain, as a decentralised medium would help bring all this information on to a common platform and enable its distribution, thereby ensuring that the information is transparent and hence, available to everyone minus the various fees that one pays during the process.

Additional Uses of Blockchain in Real Estate

Blockchain can also empower online real estate markets by upgrading their abilities and functionalities. Right now, the portals serve as a means of connecting people to real estate properties by providing information about the property and assisting in site visits. With the advent of blockchain, these real estate markets will be converted to something like a stock market allowing buyers to find sellers and execute real estate transactions on-the-go.

The transparency and speed of action offered by blockchain technology will open avenues for crowd ownership or fractional ownership in real estate. These investments can be used for rental purposes, as collaterals in loans, or for personal benefit as outlined by the terms of the agreement. Further, this will also open doors for foreign investment in Indian real estate, thereby, improving the quality of living and commercial spaces.

Conclusion

Industries are resistant to change, especially when the change is transformational in nature. Blockchain as a technology is in a very nascent stage. It will take a while for the Indian real estate sector to adopt and build on the technology. That combined with forward-thinking from realty firms in convincing consumers to embrace the technology, and the government’s efforts in designing and implementing policies will decide the future of the technology. The trichotomy of RERA, demonetisation and GST has brought transparency into the system and has built the perfect environment for such transformational changes to take place. It is now up to the stakeholders to step up.

(Previously published in March 16 2018 edition of HT Estates)

Gurugram’s Real Estate Recovery in 2018

Defining the skyline of NCR- Gurgaon

Gurugram was largely responsible for the NCR real estate market making a steady recovery during 2018. The city witnessed large scale developments in the last couple of years – from public infrastructure and housing projects to commercial and retail developments. Infrastructure developments such as the Dwarka Expressway, Southern Peripheral Road, and Rapid Metro which connects areas in Gurugram such as Cyber City and Golf Course Road to Delhi and NH8, are driving Gurugram’s real estate market.

Gurugram has the third-highest per capita income in India. It is this financial muscle that realty developers are looking to capitalise on, and top developers in Gurugram have been fairly successful in doing so, especially after the implementation of the RERA Act and GST. With improved accountability and transparency, more people are returning to invest in this market.

The Haryana Affordable Housing Scheme or HUDA scheme rolled out by the Haryana government in 2013, has augmented the availability of affordable housing projects in Gurugram and other cities in Haryana. It was envisaged as a sincere attempt to provide affordable homes within the limits of the main city, and the implementation of the scheme has been fairly successful. Below we look at these and other factors that shaped Gurugram’s real estate market in 2018.

The Revival of the Gurugram Real Estate Market

Gurugram’s recovery from the jolts of demonetisation, GST and the RERA Act has been a positive one. Market analysis shows that the sector is slowly adjusting to policy changes and recovery can be observed on both the supply and the demand side. According to a report by property consultants Knight Frank, Gurugram witnessed a 35% increase in launches in 2018, and 8% increase in sales from last year. There was also a 15% reduction in unsold inventory indicating that sales and buyer confidence has picked up in the market.

Improved Infrastructure

Improved public infrastructure generally contributes to an improved real estate market. The completion of the Dwarka Expressway has had quite a direct impact on realty prices and general buyer sentiments. Further improvements and enhancements on DEW will boost Gurugram’s realty growth. Upcoming developments such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), and proposed Jewar Airport are also pushing growth in this region. These developments have ensured seamless connectivity from far-lying suburbs to the office and commercial hubs. Consequently, a number of affordable housing projects are coming up in peripheral suburbs where land rates are relatively low.

New Launches by Established Realty Developers

The region of NCR witnessed a 35% increase in the number of units launched, out of which 52% of the units were in Gurugram. Projects that are near-completion or ready-to-move-in apartments are garnering more inquiries from buyers. Established players such as Godrej, Shapoorji Pallonji, Hero, Sobha, etc. have announced a number of launches in 2018 in Gurugram, indicating the rising stocks of its realty market. Additionally, the commercial market in the NCR region has witnessed a 14% growth in leasing and a whopping 86% growth in new launches. Gurugram was also the leader in the absorption of office spaces, accounting for 66% of the absorption in the NCR region.

Push for Affordable Housing Projects

Residential inventory in Gurugram is priced relatively higher than other regions NCR. However, its relatively better infrastructure makes it an attractive market for aspirant homebuyers. To cater to this demand, HUDA launched a number of affordable housing projects in the last 2 years. Under its scheme flats are priced between 15-25 lakhs, with exemption of maintenance charges for up to 5 years and possession promised within 4 years. The flats were allotted through a supervised lottery. This scheme, as documented, has benefited thousands of families and brought the dream of ‘affordable housing for all’ closer to reality in Gurugram.

It is a model, based on a solid foundation that has found success in Gurugram and offers a template for policymakers elsewhere to follow and replicate. Also, trends such as smaller apartment sizes, integrated townships, ready-to-move-in homes are contributing to the sale of affordable housing projects in the city.

Gurugram’s real estate future’s looking brighter in 2019. A number of projects are nearing completion and attracting interest from buyers. As observed, although the first half of 2018 witnessed a rise in affordable housing projects in the Gurugram market, the second half has seen notable developers launching projects above the 75 lakh price band indicating demand for such developments. The improved infrastructure developments have further attenuated Gurugram’s desirability factor.

Bangalore Realty Market Is Self-Correcting To Meet Homebuyer’s Demand

Bangalore has emerged as the most preferred real-estate markets in India, over the last 10 years. There are numerous reasons for this, such as the booming IT industry and growing infrastructure. However, the most crucial aspect of homebuying is cost, and buying a home in Bangalore is relatively economical when one compares it to the exorbitant realty markets of Mumbai and Delhi-NCR where one has to break the bank in order to pay mind-boggling sums of money – at least 1 crore or more – to buy a decent sized home in these cities.

Having said that, Bangalore’s housing market, like all other urban markets, faces similar socio-economic challenges including income disparity. Hence, a better understanding of the segmentation of the market with respect to the budget will enable builders and investors to be able to tap into this housing market.

We quizzed random prospective home-buyers in Bangalore to understand how much their budget for an apartment and their preferred location. In the process, we recorded over 6000 responses. Our findings are documented in the following graphs and they tell an interesting story which goes much deeper than what initially meets the eye.

Budget of a Homebuyer in Bangalore

63% of the respondents were looking for apartments in the 50 lakh to 1 crore range. About 23% have a budget that is less than 50 lakh. Altogether, a staggering 86 out of 100 respondents have a budget of less than 1 crore. This is in sharp contrast with what the market offers as projects built by reputed builders are priced at 70 lakh or above.

Budget of homebuyers in Bangalore
Budget of homebuyers in Bangalore

This has contributed to a disparity between demand and supply. Perhaps, this explains why most housing markets in India have a large share of unsold inventories piling up every year. A recent survey conducted in (H2) 2017 by real estate consultants JLL paints a similar picture, “as many as 70,000 residential units remain unsold across Bangalore in 2017.”

Budget Range of Bangaloreans – 2 & 3 BHKs

In terms of a budget for 2 BHK & 3 BHK apartments, our research revealed that 73 out of 100 buyers are looking to invest 55 lakh or lesser in order to buy a 2 BHK apartment. Whereas, in order to acquire a 3 BHK flat, 76 out of 100 buyers are looking to invest a maximum of 80 lakh. In fact, the apartments developed by big builders are priced at least 35%-50% more than the expected price of homebuyers. This disparity is a strong indicator of the largely ignored socio-economic reality of the people living in metropolises in India.

It should be noted that a larger quantum of residential housing demand is in the lower ticket range (55 lakh or lesser – 2 BHK) & (80 lakh or lesser – 3 BHK). Developers would profit by catering to this huge market by optimally designing their development strategies.

Locational Preference of Homebuyers in Bangalore

 

Preferred location of homebuyers in Bangalore
Preferred location of homebuyers in Bangalore

 

With respect to location, trends of previous years continue to remain the same in 2018. South Bangalore, home to the IT sector, accounts for almost half the share (46.6%) of preferences for localities in Bangalore. Meanwhile, North and East Bangalore appear to be the next preferred destinations at 21.7% and 21.5% respectively. West Bangalore with suburbs like Rajajinagar, Vijaynagar accounted for the last significant part of the pie at 10%. Central Bangalore is a commercial hub and home to some of the most posh and expensive residential areas like MG Road, Lavelle Road, Vittal Mallya Road and Richmond Road. Being the most developed zone in Bangalore, residential projects in these localities are scarce and even those are pricey, and hence accounted for a meagre 0.3% of sales.

Ray of Hope for the Real Estate Market

The trichotomy of demonetisation, RERA Act & GST has transformed the real-estate market. The positive effects of these government initiatives took some time to reflect on the market, as buyers played the waiting game in 2017.

2018 has been the year of consolidation, as builders have increasingly started recognizing the needs of the market by launching affordable homes (upto 40 lakhs) and mid-range segments (less than 80 lakh) to meet various demands. The Knight Frank report on housing trends in 2018 (H1) notes this trend, “60% of new launches in Bangalore in H1 2018 were in the 25-50 lakh bracket.”

Developers are now competing aggressively to highlight RERA compliance, availability of occupational certificate (OC), PMAY eligibility and ready-to-move-in projects in the 40-75 lakh segment, thus highlighting the effects of RERA & PMAY CLSS initiatives on the developers and the real-estate market.

What Lies Ahead for the Real Estate Market in Bangalore?

Bangalore, with a current population of 12.5 million, is booming. It is home to a large number of working class people, and is the 5th largest contributor to India’s GDP. Government initiatives such as RERA Act, and PMAY-CLSS with a vision of ensuring ‘Housing for All’ by 2022, are facilitating the entry of first time homebuyers to the market. There is a significant section of the population that’s looking for budget and affordable homes in the city. Developers should look to tap into this section while paying close attention to homebuyers’ limited budgets and designing projects under PMAY-CLSS schemes which have a wider appeal.

To conclude, what was once an unorganized market marred by uncertainty, inconsistency and lack of transparency is now more regulated, transparent, responsive and consumer-oriented. However, the transformation of the sector can only be complete once the builders and investors understand the requirement of the customers (in terms of size and pricing of homes) and accordingly match supply to the demand. This in turn would reduce the number of unsold inventories, thus aiding developers, and self-correct an erroneous market. The signs of change are undeniable.

Real Estate Trends Of 2018 Shaped By Events of 2017: An Analysis

RERA Act 2016

At the start of 2017, the Indian real estate sector was grappling with the after effects of demonetisation which came out of the blue towards the end of 2016. However, 2017 brought even more change in the form of the roll out of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). 2017 will be considered as a watershed year in Indian real estate; a year in which the boys of real estate development were separated from the men, and consolidation took place. It will remain the year in which the Indian homebuyer was given his/her due and place in what was seen as a ruthless sector.

While the majority of the notable real estate trends of 2017 were marked by regulation, some were infrastructural. The metros (both tier-1 and tier -2 cities) have seen the implementation of massive infrastructure projects, which will raise the standard of living in these metros, and as a result draw more people and developers to fulfil this demand. Affordable Housing and PMAY has also given broad hope not just to homebuyers in the lower middle class and low income category but also to developers who have been looking to make inroads into this sub-sector but have lacked the right incentives.

2018 is now underway, and as far as real estate is concerned will be dictated by the upheavals and trends of 2017. Let’s review the year gone by and what it holds for 2018.

RERA Act video
The RERA Act of 2016

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA)

It was a long awaited regulation and was expected to be homebuyer-friendly. RERA has introduced many much-anticipated checks and balances to even out the playing field in real estate. Developers have been given space and incentives to adhere to their deadlines and steadily clean up a ‘dirty’ sector. They can now focus on completing under-construction projects and maintain transparency about allocation and usage of funds. Homebuyers on the other hand will have recourse to justice should developers continue to flout the rules.

RERA officials have led the way by ensuring timely approvals and granting registration numbers to projects. Maharashtra has been the standout state in this regard and has set an example for a RERA-fied real estate sector. Most of the other states are struggling to get their act together, however, some like Karnataka and Delhi have finally started issuing RERA approvals. As other state authorities take their cues from these frontrunners, homebuyers can expect timely project deliveries and developers can hope for better housing sector performance in 2018. On the flip side we can also expect to see many more litigations related to RERA in 2018 and for sure these verdicts will bring further clarity in the rules, as pertaining to various states.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST was another long awaited regulation. Meant to replace a bunch of other taxes and streamline the rates on many goods and services across industries, GST shook up the economy. Since its implementation, various iterations were made to different rates. In the real estate sector, under-construction properties are being levied a GST rate of 12% while residential rentals are exempt from GST. Thus, GST brought confusion about application and led to increased prices and delayed possession. This proved to be counterproductive given the opposite effect of RERA. However, some developers took advantage of the situation to push sales of ready-to-move inventory by advertising the attractiveness of such properties sans GST. Moreover, developers are yet to benefit from accruals of input tax credit which can they can in turn, pass on to homebuyers. As this and further iterations happen to various rates in 2018, developers hope the GST rate comes down to stoke homebuyers’ interest in new construction purchase.

How does the GST impact your home buying decision
How does the GST impact your home buying decision (Image credit: Sundayguardianlive.com)

A Cleaner Sector?

Experts as well as critics are unanimous about the winds of change sweeping through the sector. The hope and expectation is that the changes are positive, enabling transparency about capital acquisition and allocation, faster approvals to developers, fewer construction delays and quicker possession for homebuyers. This in turn provides opportunities to developers – big and small – to adopt transparent practices and shed the notorious tag that has dogged the sector for decades. One can say with certainty that trust from customers is something the real estate sector has lacked. This is a big factor in any transaction. With these new regulations, as the grey areas start to fade away, there is hope that developers can begin to earn the trust of homebuyers.

Affordable Housing & PMAY

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was hailed as an enabler and a welcome government housing scheme. Under this scheme the government rolled out plans in rural as well as urban areas to enable more families to access affordable housing. Projects under this scheme picked up steam in 2017 and in the quarter ended September 2017, home sales increased 5% year on year in the top 8 property markets of the country powered by a 24% surge in affordable housing sales. Significant uptick of 11% was seen in the affordable segment with prices less than Rs 25 lakh. This is attributable to the fact that developers are realising the benefit of increasing supply in a category where demand is driven by financial and fiscal benefits under the ‘PMAY Housing for All’ subsidy scheme.

2018 will see further growth in this particular housing market as the government has approved construction of 112,083 more affordable homes under PMAY with an investment of Rs 8,105 crore. This means the total homes sanctioned under PMAY(Urban) has now gone up to 3,052,828. All of this is good news for developers looking to make a mark in this sector as well as for first home buyers looking for quality and affordable homes.

Indian and Japanese PMs at the laying of the foundation stone
Indian and Japanese PMs at the laying of the foundation stone (Source: The Guardian)

Infrastructure Developments

Across the major cities, huge investments were made in upgrading existing infrastructure as well as installing new ones. This includes expansion of metro projects in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai while Hyderabad will see the launch of metro transport. Additional lines connecting distant suburbs will enhance connectivity and improve travel times and provide better commuter experiences. Simultaneously big ticket projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Dwarka Expressway (now provided National highway status), India’s first Bullet Train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, and the new airports in Navi Mumbai and Jewar are aimed at boosting trade, infrastructure and standard of living across the country. Work on most of these will continue in 2018 and some like the Dwarka Expressway will be completed.

Overall, 2017 can be considered a busy year. It brought upheavals and yet signalled major changes and overhauls in the way the industry was operating. There can be opportunities in change and it is up to the major real estate companies to lead the way even as smaller companies are seen to be adapting quickly and eating into market share. For homebuyers this is a wait and watch period to observe how these changes unravel and what benefits it brings. They also need to focus more on doing their own due diligence and research, before making a decision. Public RERA portals provide access to information like never before thus enabling informed decisions. 2018 is definitely a year to watch out for in Indian real estate.

Has the Real Estate Act raised eyebrows in Karnataka?

RERA Act 2016

Ending months of uncertainty, the Karnataka government finally passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016. A statement issued by the State law minister, TB Jayachandra, read, “the rules are on the lines of Gujarat and Rajasthan, but the state has largely adopted the central law.” Though touted to be a harbinger of change for the overall realty sector, the notified rules of the Act are being largely debated by the real estate fraternity and real buyers alike.

While the Act has been welcomed by industry stalwarts, buyers, on the contrary, are not really satisfied. Few have even gone to the extent of blaming the state government for defeating the whole purpose of a law passed by the Parliament. The seriousness of the matter can be gauged by the fact that the all India chapter of Fight for RERA has decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court over the dilution of rules by the states (including Karnataka). Further, the Karnataka chapter is also planning to challenge the state government separately. In fact, there is a petition that is being widely circulated in the social media requesting the Chief Minister of Karnataka to include all ongoing projects under the ambit of RERA.

Interestingly, despite being one of the first states to notify the draft rules last year, it failed to set up a state-level regulatory authority and release the final rules within the set deadline. This resulted in denizens getting up in arms against the state government and blaming it for intentionally depriving the consumers of reaping the benefits of RERA.

The government, however, claimed that the delay was on account of ‘prolonged discussion.’ The noted members of the authorities were constantly deliberating on whether to include or exclude ongoing projects under the Act. Buoyed by this delay, thousands of home buyers were waiting with bated breath for the Act to come into place. Finally, the dust of uncertainty settled with the state cabinet passing the bill on July 5, 2017, albeit with a few changes.

First and foremost, the decision to exempt projects that have executed 60 percent of the sale deed has not gone well with the buyers. Why? Well, simply because even after the project is half completed, in many cases, the construction work proceeds at a snail’s pace. In fact, there are certain projects where construction is almost completed but the buyers have not got the possession. The move has been welcomed by the developers as they feel that had all projects come under the ambit of RERA, it would have adversely impacted the property values and construction progress.

The decision, however, raises several serious concerns. To begin with, there is no clear mechanism as to how the stage of completion of a project will be defined. Developers can potentially manipulate it in their favor as the topic is clearly subjective. Moreover, if the final decision of this determination is left to the builders, many fear that the Act will just be another useless law.

The decision has also drawn flak as aggrieved citizens strongly believe that it has been announced keeping in mind BDA and Karnataka Housing Board. Had all projects were brought under RERA, the government would have been forced to pay huge penalties to allottees in layouts such as Kempe Gowda Layout, where basic infrastructure including sanitary and water lines is a distant cry from reality.

The move is also likely to result in developers focusing more on new projects rather than the ongoing ones. The new projects will have to follow the stringent guidelines and meet the set deadlines without any fail. Thus, the chances of projects that are 60 percent completed getting delayed cannot be ruled out.

All said and done, the Act could have definitely been better and more in favor of consumers. As we wait for a Gazette Notification to be issued, let’s take solace in the words of Venkaiah Naidu, “the Real Estate Act is coming into force after a nine-year wait and marks a new beginning of a new era.”

RERA Is A Paradigm Shift For The Better: Gautam Chatterjee

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.