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Developers play fundamental role in redevelopment of housing societies. Since last few years, the redevelopment mania of residential properties is flourishing in full swing and one finds in Mumbai that compound wall of every third property of a housing society is covered with tins as number of small time Developers and Real Estate Companies has joined the battle in an effort to grab a share of this fast rewarding pastry. However, the saddest part of this transformation from ‘OLD’ to ‘NEW’ is a nightmare as hundreds of redevelopment projects in Mumbai are plagued with inordinate delay in its completion with many more are being added to this band-wagon every month.

It is a non-ending tussle between the Developers and housing societies that due to delayed completion or where such projects are at a grinding halt, leaving behind the member of housing societies to suffer mentally, physically, financially and socially.

One of the major reasons of this perilous threat, there are unknown Developers of small means with insufficient funds or have pocketed redevelopment projects more than their financial resources or have diverted their funds to other projects that at a later date have stopped paying rentals to the members of housing societies due to inordinate delay.     

Though the State Government has set Maharashtra Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (MahaRERA) to protect the interest of flat buyers, the housing society members who have a dispute with their Developers over redevelopment issues cannot seek relief under the MahaRERA Act.

The MahaRERA recently dismissed a complaint filed by members of a one of the housing societies against their Developer for failing to hand over their new redeveloped flats for 11 years. In a December 2017 order issued by MahaRERA, it was ruled that the authority is not the proper forum to resolve the Society’s issue with the Developer as the complainants could not be able to point out any contravention or violation of any of the Provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or the Rules or Regulations.

The MahaRERA order ruled that the dispute is between the society members, the Managing Committee (Landowner) and the Developer and this did not contravene MahaRERA Provisions. A senior official from MahaRERA said the dispute between society members and the society has to be resolved under Co-operative Society Act while a dispute between the society and builder is a civil dispute.

The said order negating any assistance shall have its wide implications because over 85% of all constructions in Mumbai involve redevelopments. Housing experts warn that thousands of families stranded for years because their redevelopment projects are stuck, cannot take recourse under MahaRERA. This is a glaring lacuna in MahaRERA Act. It is feared that the untrustworthy Developers will exploit this loophole even as society members continue to suffer and that any law which does not protect rights of the victims would be considered useless.