The RERA issued an advisory in accordance with the discussions held on April 29, 2020, of the Central Advisory Council with all its stakeholders. The council includes representatives of homebuyers, developers, real estate agents, financial institutions, regulatory authorities, and state governments. On May 13, 2020, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs issued an advisory to state governments to invoke Force Majeure clause under the provisions of Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 for project extension in RERA and extend the timelines for the following:
Analysis of Case regarding Project Extension in RERA
Every promoter of the real estate project is required to obtain RERA registration certificates from a real estate regulatory authority of the state/union territories. As an exception, RERA states that in case of a Force Majeure, the timelines for the completion of a project can be extended to 1 year on an application made by the ‘promoter’ of a real estate project.
The Supreme Courtin a case of “Bikram Chatterji and OrsVs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors.” has defined force majeure in for the context in section 6 of RERA as a case of war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake, or any other calamity caused by nature. The Ministry, looking at the country’s current scenario, stated that it is evident that the current pandemic is caused by nature. It adversely affects the regular development of real estate projects. Therefore it attracts the provision of force majeure under RERA.
Key highlights of the RERA Advisory
RERA Advisory has been introduced to protect the interest of all the stakeholders. Accordingly, the RERA Advisory has been issued for all the states and union territories and their respective real estate regulatory authorities.
The said advisory states to avoid further applications from the promoters of various real estate projects and extend the timeline for completion of their respective real estate projects. The regulatory authorities of the states and union territories under their respective jurisdiction can issue the following orders in relation to all registered projects for the completion date, revised completion date or the extended completion date and if registration expires after March 25, 2020:
- Regulatory authorities can issue orders to extend the registration or completion date or revised completion date or extended completion date for 6 months due to the outbreak of COVID-19 by invoking Force Majeure provisions under RERA
- Regulatory authorities can on their discretion, consider to further extend the completion date for another 3 months if the situation in the respective states needs special consideration for invoking force majeure because of the current pandemic.
- Regulatory authorities can issue fresh Registration Certificates with revised timelines in each such registered real estate project at the earliest.
- Regulatory authorities can extend the timelines of all statutory compliances concurrently according to the provisions of RERA and rules and regulations made thereunder.
The order also directs that in the light of ‘force majeure, no compensation or interest payable under section 12 & section 18 of the RERA for a period covered by the extension mentioned above.
Read our article:All You Need To Know About RERA Registration Process
Guidelines for Redressal
In regard to this, the Finance Minister has recently stated that owing to the Covid-19 situation, the Government will suspend the fresh initiation of insolvency for up to 1 year. Once the ordinance is notified, the recourse will be available to homebuyers (in a capacity as the financial creditor) under the IBC would not be available for the period of 1 year.
Further, the extension granted by the State Governments and Union Territories on the project completion date pursuant to the RERA Advisory. The allottees will unwillingly be left with no redressal during this interim period of suspension of initiation of insolvency under IBC and project extension in RERA. However, if the extension on project completion dates is not provided to the promoters, the same may lead to a situation where most real estate projects will be in non-compliance of law and hamper the development of such projects.
This RERA Advisory has been issued to cater to the situation wherein most of the promoters of a real estate project across India will be unable to complete the respective projects within the prescribed timelines because of the ongoing situation. Accordingly, the RERA Advisory’s adoption by the states and union territories will avoid the situation. In contrast, the authorities will be piled up with applications for a project extension in RERA for completion of the real estate projects.
Read our article:Is it mandatory to have RERA registration for Builders?