Being charged for delayed payments
Dear Sir, There is a delay in completion of the project and hence its been delayed for more than 8 months now. There was some delay in making payments from my side as well but is not willful. Builder confirms that as per agreement I am not entitled for any compensation as I have delayed the payments. Builder is charging me for 12% interest for the delayed payments. Kindly confirm if I can file a petition./case against the builder for denying the compensation. Thanks Christopher
You can issue a legal notice demanding penal interest from him for delay in completion of construction. If he does not respond, he may be taken to consumer forum with a complaint case for deficiency of service demanding due compensation for the pecuniary and other losses suffered.
You can either approach the commission (district- upto 20 lakhs worth flat, state – 20 lakhs to one crore worth flat or national – exceeding one crore worth of flat, depending on the value or their apartment) or file a criminal suit. Consumer complaints can be filed for delay in giving possession, faulty construction, wrongful calculation and pricing of super area (or common area), fraudulent agreements, additional (cash) claim for parking lots, delay in the registration of booked pro. In this case, you are clearly allowed to file a consumer case due to apparent delay in giving possession and fraudulent agreements- charging too high interest rates for delayed payments. Consumer courts are firmly bound by consumer protection laws of the land. These courts are not biased, but they give a fair and patient hearing to consumers. Consumer courts are relatively more protective of consumer rights and dispense good justice.
There are options for consumers to apply for relief in Civil Courts too. Civil courts can give pecuniary compensation for up to `1 crore, which is much higher than the limits set for State and District Consumer Forums. Some advocates prefer Civil Court over Consumer Forum as the applicability of Code of Civil Procedure and Indian Evidence Act makes it convenient for lawyers to establish their cases.
Homebuyers would be even more protected against unscrupulous builders once States set up the real estate regulator mechanism, as propounded by the recently-passed Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (or RERA). In this case, the very act of charging extravagant interest rates on delayed payments is unscrupulous. Thus, you are advised to find out if such regulators have been set up in your state. You may consider filing a civil suit and approaching the regulators under Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (or RERA).