Two years of The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act: Implementation still patchy in many states

RERA

NEW DELHI: Two years after the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) was enacted, the implementation of the legislation intended to bring about transparency and regulate the highly unorganized real estate sector still remains a work in progress.

The RERA rules have been notified in 22 states and six union territories, and among them, 19 states have active online portals so far. Five states have not yet notified the rules and 11 states – all the eight northeastern states as well as West Bengal and Kerala – are yet to set up their web portals.

Several states have also diluted the rules in favor of the builders, going against the very spirit of the Act, experts said. “Undoubtedly, it is work in process, with the states currently placed across the spectrum of RERA implementation. On the one hand, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have taken the lead and are markedly ahead, while Haryana and Bengal on the other, have still to catch up,” said Gulam Zia, Executive Director for Valuation and Advisory, Retail and Hospitality at Knight Frank India.

West Bengal has refused to implement the Act as it has its own West Bengal Housing and Industrial Regulation Act (WBHIRA). This has, however, been challenged in the Supreme Court by the Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE), an umbrella association of home buyers.

“The implementation of RERA has had its fair share of glitches delaying its full implementation. Many states haven’t been able to get the whole system activated. As a result, aggrieved consumers are not yet fully convinced about the authority,” Zia added.

According to Surendra Hiranandani, Founder, and Director of House of Hiranandani, although the Act has brought about significant changes, the biggest problem of RERA is that of granting permissions. “We must have a single-window disbursal of all regulatory approvals which has been a long-standing demand of the real estate sector as it will help developers complete projects on time,” he said.

Experts also raise concern about the Act being ineffective in some fronts, including regulation of old projects. “There is no team on ground who would audit or validate the data provided by the developers. Some sales numbers reported on the RERA website are not correct and there is no proper mechanism to cross-check it,” he added.

Although there are loopholes and the implementation has been patchy, analysts and market players feel RERA has brought about a systemic change in the real estate sector which has also boosted the sentiments among home buyers. According to J.C. Sharma, Vice Chairman and MD, SOBHA Ltd, the implementation of RERA, has been one of the most significant and transformative steps for Indian real estate sector. With the regulatory mechanism in place, the consumers’ grievances can now be resolved faster, he said. (IANS)

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