People save their whole lives to buy a house of their own. Most of the time,
they book a flat when the site is not even developed. Sometimes, the site is
under construction, and the flats are delivered after considerable time. Many
times, there are defects in the flat which has been handed over by the builder
to the buyer.
The buyer normally approaches the builder and asks him to rectify the defects.
In case, the builder does not rectify the defects, or does not attend to the
complaint of the buyer, the buyer feels cheated. We will discuss what option is
available to the buyer under the law.
Remedy in RERA?
Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (in short RERA) was enacted to
enhance accountability and transparency with respect to housing transactions and
real estate. The RERA provides remedies for builder-buyer disputes have nearly
covers all type of issues. The RERA pointedly provides for remedy when the buyer
is sold a flat which has defects or in which the defects are developed within
What is a defect?
As per Black's Law Dictionary a defect is "an imperfection or shortcoming, esp.
in a part that is essential to the operation or safety of a product. The RERA
further classifies the defects as follows:
- Structural defect
- Defect in workmanship
- Defect in quality of service
- Defect in provision of service
- Defect in any other obligations of the promoter as per the agreement for
Thus, any shortcoming which pertains to civil structure of the unit sold to
the buyer, or any defect which is about poor workmanship, or about deficiency in
any "service" or in quality of service provided will be termed as defect. Also,
whatever the builder agreed to provide in Builder-Buyer agreement but has failed
to provide, will also be deemed as defect.
As per Haryana Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Rules 2017, also known
as HRERA Rules, the structure defect is defined in section 2(u) as
"structural defects" means actual physical damage/ defects to the designated
load-bearing elements of the building, apartment or unit like faults, breakage
or cracks, appearing over time in elements such as load bearing columns, walls,
slabs, beams etc. which can affect the strength and stability of the apartment
or the building and shall include any of the following, namely:
- defects due to design attributes of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) or
structural mild steel (MS) elements of an engineered (structurally designed)
- defects due to faulty or bad workmanship of RCC or MS work;
- defects due to materials used in such RCC or MS work;
- major cracks in masonry work that are induced as result of failures of RCC
or MS work;
- any defect which is established to have occurred on account of
negligence, use of inferior materials or non-adherence to the regulatory
codes of practice by the promoter.
The promoter shall not be liable for any such 3 structural/
architectural defect induced by the allottee, by means of carrying out
structural or architectural changes from the original specifications/ design.
Buyer's remedy in case of a defect
The RERA provides remedy to the buyer in two sections namely section 11(4) and
section 14(3). The section 11(4) is more general in nature whereas the section
14(3) is exclusive to defects. In Haryana, the Government vide section 12 of
HRERA rules, provided express relief to buyer. These sections are read out as
The promotor shall be responsible for all obligations, responsibilities and
functions thereunder or to the allottees as per the agreement for sale, or to
the association of allottees, as the case may be, till the conveyance of all the
apartments, plots or buildings, as the case may be, to the allottees, or the
common areas to the association of allottees or the common areas to the
association of allottees or the competent authority, as the case may be:
Provided that the responsibility of the promoter, with respect to the structural
defect or any other defect for such period as is refereed to in subsection (3)
of section 14, shall continue even after the sale deed of the apartments, plots
or buildings as the case may be, to the allottees are executed.
In case any structural defect or any other defect in workmanship, quality or
provision of services or any other obligations of the promoter as per the
agreement for sale relating to such development is brought to the notice of the
promoter within a period of five years by the allottee from the date of handing
It shall be the duty of the promoter to rectify such defects
without further charge, within thirty days, and in the event of promoter's
failure to rectify such defects within such time, the aggrieved allottees shall
be entitled to receive appropriate compensation in the manner as provided under
Section 12 of Haryana RERA Rules
It is agreed that in case any structural defect or any other
defect in workmanship, quality or provision of services or any other obligations
of the Promoter as per the agreement for sale relating to such development is
brought to the notice of the Promoter within a period of 5 (five) years by the Allottee from the date of handing over possession.
It shall be the duty of the
Promoter to rectify such defects without further charge, within ninety days, and
in the event of Promoter's failure to rectify such defects within such time, the
aggrieved Allottees shall be entitled to receive appropriate compensation in the
manner as provided under the Act.
Provided that, the promoter shall not be
liable for any such structural/ architectural defect induced by the allottee(s),
by means of carrying out structural or architectural changes from the original
The timeline for complaint to builder
The complaint must be made by the buyer to the builder within 5 years. As the
act provides relief to the buyer if the defects are intimated to the builder
within the period of 5 years.
This intimation must be given in writing. It is a
normal established practice that such intimation is given through the counsel
who uses medium of email or speed post. The receipt and tracking report of the
speed post is retained and is a necessary document in further action.
The builder shall rectify the defects within 90 days of receipt of the
complaint. However in case the builder doesn't rectify the defects in the
stipulated period, buyer can file a case against the builder in RERA for seeking
compensation and interest thereon. The case for compensation is to be filed in
prescribed form and with requisite fees.
In Haryana, the complaint is filed with
the adjudicating officer for interest and compensation as provided under
sections 12, 14, 18 and 19 for the RERA Rules in Form 'CAO', in triplicate,
which shall be accompanied by a fee as mentioned in Schedule III in the form of
a demand draft or a bankers cheque drawn on a Scheduled bank in favour of
"Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority" and payable at the branch of that
bank at the station where the seat of the said Authority is situated.
The adjudicating officer shall for the purposes of adjudging interest and
compensation follow summary procedure for inquiry
A buyer can avail this remedy only if the buyer has not induced any such
structural/ architectural defect by means of carrying out structural or
architectural changes from the original specifications/ design.
No builder can take advantage of an innocent buyer who has put in his hard
earned money to buy a dwelling for himself. Gone are the times when builders
would use subpar and low quality materials to earn massive profits and would
leave the harassed buyer to fend for himself.
The buyer would run pillar to post
to get his house repaired let alone compensation from buyer. The RERA act has
changed everything. The buyer can approach the RERA to get compensation in case
the buyer defaults on getting the house repaired.
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