In a city where developers are finding it hard to deliver their projects on time, the state consumer commission has held that even a delay of 22 months entitles a flat buyer to claim interest.
The commission recently ruled in favour of Malad resident Neela More who had booked a 607 square feet flat for Rs 13 lakh in June 2000, but was given possession of the property 22 months later, in April 2002. In addition to the 24% interest levied for the 22 months on the Rs 13 lakh, the state commission ordered the builder to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation for the mental agony caused.
More filed the complaint against Ceekeam Enterprises before the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2003.
More informed the commission that on March 21, 2000, she signed an agreement with the builder for the flat and the agreed date for possession was June 2000. More paid the entire amount, but got the flat only in April 2002. Alleging deficiency in service, she submitted the complaint.
The developers opposed the complaint. They contended that the delay in handing over the flat was because of non-issuance of occupation certificate by the municipal corporation and there is no deficiency in service on their part. It further stated that the complainant had not paid Rs 2 lakh that was due. But the commission said More had submitted receipts to show that the amount was not outstanding.
The commission also denied the developer’s claim that the flat was handed over in time. It referred to the certificate issued by the architect in March 2002. “It is mentioned that on January 14, 2002, notice to corporation for completion was given and OC obtained on March 28, 2002. Thus, we have accepted the contention of complainant that possession was given in April 2002. There is a delay of one year and 10 months in handing over possession of the flat, thus clear-cut deficiency on the part of opponents,” it said.