Proposed Real Estate Regulation Bill May be Delayed

Published: June 28, 2011

The proposed Real Estate Regulation Bill may be delayed. The ministry of housing and poverty alleviation, which was set to table the draft bill during the Monsoon session of Parliament, is yet to get the law ministry’s opinion on it. The draft Bill was sent to the law ministry for vetting nearly two months ago. Once the law ministry gives its opinion on the matter, a draft Cabinet note on the subject will be circulated among ministries of finance, home, urban development, consumer affairs and the Planning Commission. It will then seek a Cabinet clearance before introducing it in Parliament.

In view of the elaborate procedure, it would be difficult for the proposed Bill to make it to the Monsoon session, beginning August 1. The concept of a real estate Bill has been around for almost a decade and has seen a change in both form and content several times. Initially, work on the real estate Bill was started by the urban development ministry, but subsequently the housing ministry took charge of the proposed legislation. Although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had recently issued a warning to developers over inflated valuations of property, the proposed Bill will not cover the valuation aspects in the current draft, leaving it to market forces. Concerned over inflated valuations of real estate properties for loans, RBI had asked all banks to submit an action-taken report on the issue.

According to the real estate draft regulation Bill, developers will need to make public disclosures related to land title, project completion date and other relevant scheme details on the website of the proposed regulatory authority, said a housing ministry official. The disclosures must be made before launching a project, so that consumers are not taken for a ride at a later stage. Developers will also have to register themselves with the regulatory authority. The content of the draft Bill was changed before sending it to the law ministry, to make it a central legislation. Earlier, it was a state matter. The focus of the revised Bill is now on consumer protection and contractual obligations of developers. Although the Consumer Act and penal provisions exist for grievance redressal, these come into the picture only after a commitment is made by developers to property buyers, pointed out an official.

State-centric issues, such as building bye-laws and municipalities, have been removed from the new draft to make it a central legislation. The thrust now is on consumer protection against fraud, timely completion of projects by developers and contractual obligations of the builder/developer. Industry representatives, however, said a separate Bill on consumer protection is in the making for the real estate sector. Housing ministry officials denied knowledge of any proposed legislation on consumer protection other than the real estate draft Bill. The objective of the proposed legislation is to establish a regulatory authority to regulate, control and promote planned and healthy development and construction, sale, transfer and management of colonies, residential buildings, apartments and other similar properties, and to host and maintain a website containing all project details.

Source:Indian Realty News

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