Pawan Kumar Dhoot’s Perspective of Real Estate Bill 2016
Real estate market lures a number of potential buyers and is usually considered a safe bet by the investors. As a matter of fact, this sector too has its highs and lows just like any other market. For instance, there was a boom in the realty sector from 1988-1994. On the other hand, the market was stagnant during the year 2002. Pawan Kumar Dhoot, M.D. Dhoot Group, one of the leading realty entities highlights that it is imperative for the investors to consider certain factors before investing in this sector.
At present, the number of people buying residential properties has decreased drastically. The increase in the property prices compared to the average income of individuals is one of the major reasons for this. Thus, there arises a dire need to induce the concept of affordability in the real estate prices.
The level of demand is also determined by Rental yield (the amount of rent paid per annum over the cost of buying a property). People prefer buying their own home over living in a rented property if the rent is higher than the EMI to be paid for purchasing a property. There is a direct relationship between rental yields and the level of demand. In other words, the demand tends to increase if the rental yields are high.
According to Pawan Kumar Dhoot, Managing Director of Dhoot Group, the real estate market is a speculative market and thus moves in cycles. Talking about the present state of the market, he anticipated that the current correction phase will last for a few more years. The stagnancy in the realty sector has resulted in a number of unsold inventories. There has also been an increase in the cost of construction over the past few years. The increase in cost during diminishing demand has pressurized the developers to lower down their prices.
In such critical situations, it becomes important for the investors to undergo a comprehensive study of the market in order to ensure great returns and make the best use of their resources.
The real estate sector of India, especially residential sector, which has been stagnant since last couple of years, is likely to rebound in the coming months. The steps taken by the government to bring transparency in the real estate sector will boost the sector in long run.
The stagnancy in the realty sector resulted in high inventory levels, diminished demand and limited liquidity saw sales and prices plummet, impacting new launches in the past few years. Dhoot Group, a prominent name in the real estate sector highlights that the introduction of much needed changes in the economy and various initiatives announced by the government will bring in cheer for the realty sector.
According to a JLL report, as per statistics, new residential project launches reduced by 6 per cent in Jan-March 2016 period over Oct-Dec 2015. For FY 2015-16, the number of new launches stood at 1,81,294 units compared to 2,16,082 units in FY 2014-15, equaling a drop of 16 per cent.
Overall residential sales were down in the FY 2015-16 compared to FY 2014-15. As per recent data, 1, 58,211 units were sold in FY 2015-16 vs. 1, 61,875 units sold in FY 2014-15, which is a drop of 2.2 per cent. However, a positive twist to this otherwise grim situation is the rise in sales in Q1CY2016. This quarter saw a sale of 42,521 units compared to 39,001 units sold in Q4CY2015 – an increase of 9 per cent.
Talking about the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act 2016, Pawan Kumar Dhoot asserted that it will bring in the much needed transparency in the realty sector and safeguard the interest of home buyers. He further added that the act will encourage investments from foreign and domestic financial institutions as well as increase the credibility of developers.
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha as well as the Lok Sabha it is set to become an act in a few months. Once passed it will change the way Real Estate was being dealt with, in the past.
The new act is a blessing as it will bring and safety for the home buyers in the city with the regulator being mandated to ensure this.This is also a blessing in disguise for the developers as it will bring credibility to them and people including NRIs will be willing to invest their funds in this sector.
Under the provisions of new bill any project over 500 sq mt area or 8 flats must be registered with regulatory authority with full disclosure – details of promoters, project, layout plan, plan of development works, land status, status of statutory approvals, etc. as well as the details of their past and ongoing projects. New projects can be launched only after the developer secures all statutory clearances from relevant authorities and the promoter must upload details of the project on the website of the RERA.
The bill bars the promoter from altering plans, structural designs and specifications of the plot, apartment or building without the consent of two-third allottees after disclosure.
The bill also seeks to establish fast track dispute resolution mechanisms for settlement of disputes through adjudicating officers and Appellate Tribunal. Consumer courts are allowed to hear real estate matters. There are 644 consumer courts in the country. The more avenues for grievance redressal would mean lower litigation costs for the buyers. Appellate Tribunals will now be required to adjudicate cases in 60 days.Any developer who violates the order of the appellate tribunal can be jailed for three years or fined or both.
Currently, if a project is delayed, then the developer does not suffer in any way. Now, the law ensures that any delay in project completion will make the developer liable to pay the same interest as the EMI being paid by the consumer to the bank back to the consumer.
The bill specifies that in case there is substitution of developer or builder, the new promoter will assume all the liabilities and the change won’t trigger any extension of the deadline. The buyer will have the right to get all details of the project including government approvals and floor plan besides quarterly progress. The bill mentions the regulator won’t extend the deadline for completion of project beyond one year in normal circumstances.
The recently passed Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill, 2016, in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, is set to ease the home-buying process. The bill has undergone several amendments and will be effective in bringing transparency and accountability in the real estate sector, thus increasing consumer confidence and benefiting the sector as a whole.
The bill aims to make the sector transparent, give home buyers the advantage and, in turn, lift the market.
The bill sets a firm foothold in the real estate sector and would be a foundation for this sector for many years to come. With the changing skylines in many cities, it takes within its ambit many factors, including development and redevelopment, thus paving the way for a smooth road ahead. It will impact the sector, positively at two levels—first at the micro level of homebuyers, and second at a macro level of the entire real estate sector.
Timely completion and delivery:
Project delays are one of the major issues currently plaguing the real estate sector. In the residential property sector, a delay of three to four years is the accepted norm; in certain cases, it is more than seven to eight years. Over-leveraging by developers is the primary reason for such delays.
Developers will now have to deposit 70% of the collections from home buyers in a dedicated account to be used only for that particular project. It has been clarified that if the land cost has already been incurred by the promoter, he can withdraw the amount to that extent.
Level playing field:
At present, rights of both the developer and the home buyer emanate from the agreement for sale. But these agreements are heavily loaded in favour of the developer. For example, interest on late payments for consumers is as high as 18%, but the compensation to them by developers in case of a project delay, is abysmally low and varies across contracts. Henceforth, both developers and consumers will have to pay the same rate of interest for delays on their respective parts.
Developers will now have to deliver on time, adhering to the level of quality stated in the information provided to the regulatory authority during registration.
Better quality buildings:
To counter issues related to building defects and promote good practices in the sector, some developers provide a warranty for structural damages for 1-3 years. Extending this period, the bill states that the liability of the developers for structural defects will now be five years from the date of handing over possession.
Majority to hold sway:
Developers cannot make alterations or additions in the sanctioned plans and specifications of the building or the common areas without the consent of at least two-thirds of buyers. Such provisions in the bill will ensure that home buyers are getting the exact apartment for which they have paid and have a say in layout revision. However, this provision of obtaining consent of two-thirds of buyers may cause delay. Buyers may raise unnecessary objections and it may result in legal proceedings.
This may be a problem in cases where it is not affecting the premises or flats already sold and the open or common areas, as also in cases where the total layout allows construction of more buildings in compliance of the building rules or building bye-laws or Development Control Regulations.
Provisions in the bill will without doubt make the process of home-buying much easier, but on a larger scale, they will also have repercussions on the entire real estate sector.
The real estate market is largely non-transparent. Most stakeholders operate in their own silos. This is true especially among developers. The absence of a regulator is to a great extent responsible for this plight. With a regulator in place, the sector will be more efficient, prices will be more rationalised and most importantly, the regulator will ensure that malpractices are weeded out well in time.