Pay interest on 21 months of delay, says Maharashtra RERA directing Acme Housing

Under Section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority directed the developer Acme Housing India Pvt Ltd to pay interest for delayed possession of 21 months to home buyers of the Alpinia project.

The order by Vijay Satbir Singh, a member of MahaRERA, came on a complaint by homebuyers Aniket and Rajashree Alashe. They had booked a flat in the project during December 2014 and were promised the possession by December 31, 2017. Aniket and Rajashree had paid Rs 1.11 crore, although, the developer failed to deliver possession as per the registered agreement.

Advocate K.R. Shekhawat, appearing for Acme Housing India Pvt Ltd, strongly opposed the plea for interest on delayed possession. He stated the agreement clause 9.2 according to which home buyers have the option to terminate the agreement in case possession has not been delivered. However, the homebuyers did not terminate the agreement in this case.

He also said that the clause provides for extension of the possession deadline if there are force majeure. It means that it essentially frees both the parties from liability or obligation in case any circumstance beyond the control of the parties takes place.

Shekhawat further mentioned that the Bombay High Court restrained the Thane Municipal Corporation from granting construction permissions and Occupancy Certificate for projects in connection with public interest litigation on shortage of water supply on Ghodbunder Road. He added that the Alpinia project was in the vicinity of Ghodbunder Road and was also impacted by this stay order.

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Shekhawat also argued that demonetisation and implementation of RERA and GST created a cash crunch and even the daily wage labourers could not be engaged for construction work due to the scarcity of cash flow.

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