The government is considering a plan to bring tenanted or cessed buildings and tenants of such buildings under the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), so that the same protection can be provided to these consumers as is available to other home buyers.
Mumbai, in particular, has considerable number of such tenanted or cessed buildings that house people who have been living for several decades and paying cheap and artificially depressed prices. Known as the Pagdi system in Mumbai, tenants are not covered under the authority.
The Pagdi system, which has been in existence since pre-independence era across many parts of the country, is a rental model. While it is similar to most of the lease models, there is one crucial differentiating factor that makes the tenant a part owner of the house, excluding the land.
“There are various issues including Pagdi and redevelopment and these issues need to be looked into. The state and central governments are considering this,” said a senior government official.
Under the current RERA rules, tenants of these buildings are considered as copromoters of the project given that they are expected to get part of the project as compensation for their rights. So, they don’t enjoy the same rights as other home buyers. Once brought under the RERA, these tenants would get compensation, among other benefits, in case of project delays.
In Mumbai alone, there are around 16,000 cessed buildings including Pagdi properties. Tenants in these properties pay a tax to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) that makes provision for repairs of such properties.
According to a MahaRERA official, a realty developer usually redevelops the entire project in phases and keeps the rehabilitation part and free-sale component separate. This allows them to not register the project with the regulator as it is seen as compensation and not a sale, which falls under the RERA purview.
“Even in the current system, tenants can get the RERA protection needed if they ask the developer to register the project in entirety than in putting it under phases,” he said.
Last year, Maharashtra along with Madhya Pradesh and Punjab were among the first few states to notify rules under the RERA. The state government established the MahaRERA after all sections of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, came into force on May 1, 2017. According to the regulation, all projects that are yet to receive Occupation Certificate (OC) and are being sold or marketed is required to be registered with the authority.