Almost two years after the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, was enacted, 15 states still do not have a separate website for a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) that each state was mandated to set up. Aimed at giving information to home buyers about under-construction projects, the website is a key piece of the new regulation.
Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, NCT of Delhi, Orissa, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal did not have separate websites when Mint checked last on Wednesday.
The Act was enacted on 1 May 2016, and all states were mandated to formulate and notify rules for the functioning of the regulator in their respective jurisdictions within six months, and set up RERA by 1 May 2017. However, many states failed to meet both these deadlines. In January 2017, taking cognizance of the fact that some states had missed the deadline, and a few others had diluted some of the provisions of the Act, then Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, M. Venkaiah Naidu, had said, “I want to make it clear that any compromise with the spirit of the Act will have serious implications, including public outcry.”
But the warning failed to create an impact. “Political as well as administrative reasons can be attributed to delay in implementation,” said Shubham Jain, vice-president, sector head-infrastructure, ICRA Ltd.
Each state also had to make a website within a year of establishing RERA. These websites had to give information to home buyers of names of under-construction projects and details like names of developers and promoters, approvals, number of apartments and sizes, possession date, registered real estate agents, and so on. The website must also enable home buyers to file complaints online.
“An aggrieved person can approach the high court of the state government and seek redressal under the Act,” said Sudip Mullick, partner, Khaitan & Co. In the absence of clear defined rules, the court can consider rules notified by central or other state governments, while pronouncing its judgement, added Mullick.
A tangled web...
Of the 15 states that don’t have exclusive RERA websites yet, NCT of Delhi, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Orissa have only temporary websites. The Act does not apply to Jammu and Kashmir.
For instance, NCT of Delhi has created a webpage on RERA (bit.ly/2HpMhkD) within the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) website. For Bihar and Orissa too, the RERA webpages are part of the respective websites (bit.ly/2HpO6xX and bit.ly/2HslXSR) of the Urban Development and Housing Departments. And even these lack information about registered projects and developers.
A few states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Kerala, have set up exclusive RERA websites, but not much information is available on them. For example, Andhra Pradesh’s RERA website (bit.ly/2vSwrKb) so far has only two projects and one real estate agent registered. Jharkhand’s website (bit.ly/2HZDdjF) has only 30 projects, 43 developers and 66 agents registered. If you click on the tab, “Registered Project”, on Kerala’s website (bit.ly/2HuONBZ), it says the website is currently under construction.
In comparision, Uttar Pradesh’s RERA website has 2,386 projects, 1,286 promoters and 1,443 agents registered. Maharashtra, which was the first state to set up a regulator and a website, has been given the additional charge of being the regulator for two Union territories (UTs)—Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. You can also find details of projects and agents in these two UTs on Maharashtra’s RERA website (bit.ly/2pwYHLw).
Similarly, Tamil Nadu has been given the charge of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (tnrera.in).
...RERA can help untangle
The real estate sector has been struggling to attract home buyers, and RERA can provide requisite confidence and transparency. “RERA is key to a stronger, more sustainable recovery in the Indian real estate market,” said Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.
Agreed Jain: “In addition to the issues related to affordability and overall muted macroeconomic environment, the sentiments of the buyers were impacted because of inordinate delays in project deliveries and high imbalance in builder-buyer agreement. RERA, while addressing these issues, is expected to have a positive impact on buyers’ confidence.”
While developers and other stakeholders made a hue and cry earlier saying the RERA Act was too stringent, it’s much simpler compared to real estate Acts of other countries. In an interview with Mint (bit.ly/2FflFNs), J.C. Sharma, managing director, Sobha Ltd, had said, “RERA is much simpler in India than (the rules) in West Asia, for developers as well as home buyers.”
The Act was expected to boost home buyers’ confidence, but lack of seriousness in its implementation can prove to be a dampener.