Allotment of a flat without an occupancy certificate (OC) is illegal and builders and developers are liable to compensate the buyer till it is obtained. However, some believe the process needs to be streamlined, as CW Property Today reports.
Occupancy of real-estate comes with its own terms and conditions.
The builder sells as he builds. But if the building is not certified to be occupied, who suffers a loss: The builder or occupier? In a recent case, Avadhut Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai entrusted the redevelopment of the property to a builder. However, the buyer of one of the free-sale flats could not occupy the flat as the OC was not obtained and the National Commission asked the builder to compensate the buyer until the OC was obtained. This brought into focus two aspects: If the possession for fit-outs is not a legal one (like in the case of possession without OC), the flat purchaser cannot occupy it; and the builder is liable to compensate the purchaser till the OC is obtained.
The procedure to obtain the OC needs to be streamlined, says Sachin Kulkarni, Managing Director, Vastushodh Projects, and part of the team for the Central Government´s ´Housing for All´ mission. ´Local bodies take a lot of time to sanction the OC, which leads to delays at our (the developer´s) end. At times, ready flats await an OC for over three to six months. Hence, it is not ideal on the government´s part to ask developers to pay the rent.´ This rule is not new to the realty sector; however, it is being implemented more effectively now. Kulkarni suggests that if the government expects builders to give the OC on time, it should also consider making the necessary changes to expedite the process.
Shantilal Kataria, President, Credai Pune-Metro, agrees. ´Government officials need to check documents and the construction site, and this involves a lot of time,´ he points out, recommending that they check documents online. This could also serve as a platform for builders to upload pictures of the site - getting the work done faster.´ However, Vinod Rohira, Managing Director, K Raheja Corp, views it differently. ´If developers follow all norms and work as per timelines, getting an OC is not an issue,´ he asserts. While he believes there is no need to change the current process of securing an OC, he adds, ´Giving a flat without OC is incorrect and no excuse should be given for the same.´
Pune Municipal Corporation, for example, has simplified the process of securing an OC. Prashant Waghmare, City Engineer, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), says, ´We give OCs online, reducing the time taken otherwise. To hasten the process further, the corporation is providing online forms as well.
However, while the OC allows the building company to occupy the building, it is not considered a final document. Ramesh Nair, COO, Business & International Director, JLL India, explains: ´The building company still requires the certificate of completion. An approval cycle consists of key permits like intimation of disapproval (IOD) and commencement certificate (CC).
The company´s architect must submit a formal letter stating that construction has been completed, according to the standards set forth in the IOD and CC.´ The building completion certificate (BCC) is considered to be the ultimate document the building company requires to fully occupy the building and connect it to utilities.
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