The much-awaited Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2012, was passed by the state legislative assembly on Monday.
The bill, aimed at protecting the interests of flat buyers, contains provisions to set up a regulatory body for the housing sector and facilitate deemed conveyance in layouts involving two or more buildings, among others.
It also makes it mandatory for developers to register themselves with a regulatory authority and provide details of their projects. Any builder failing to keep his word will face a Rs 10 lakh fine and three years in jail.
The law, once implemented, will replace the Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulations of Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management, and Transfer) Act, 1963. Minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir said “implementation of the MOFA Act had left a lot to be desired”.
The minister said while most aspects of the MOFA Act have been retained in the new law, the latter contains additional provisions. The bill has 56 provisions in all,he added.
Only a handful of legislators were present in the House when the bill was approved. A joint select committee of both Houses had submitted a report last week, recommending 26 amendments to the original bill. These were adopted in the final bill draft. The state government is likely to seek approval in the legislative council on Tuesday, following which the bill will be sent for the President’s assent.
Indicating that the government would need a year to implement the provisions, Ahir said “framing of business rules would require six months following the President’s assent”.
Once the act is implemented,developers will have to mandatorily register themselves with a three-member regulatory authority headed by a retired government official of the rankof principal secretary.Developers will have to post complete details of their projects on the authority’s website. Advertisements for the sale or transfer of flats can be issued only after acquiring a registration code from the authority.
In case a developer fails to keep his promise, flat buyers can approach the authority, which can slap a fine of Rs 10 lakh on the builder or the promoter and also prosecute him for an offence attracting three years in jail.
A defect liability period of five years has been set whereby developers will be responsible for correcting any structural or exterior flaws in the building.
The authority will also have powers to deregister the developer and bar him from taking up new projects.The joint committee has, however, suggested that such a step can be taken only after granting the developer a hearing. The panel will have the authority to judge a case if a flat buyer defaults on payments. It orders can be challenged before an appellate tribunal, which will be led by a retired high court judge.