In a relief to homebuyers who are forced to take possession of their flats and start living due to delay on part of the builder to get all clearances from the authorities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that it would amount to deficiency in services on the part of real estate company if it failed to get occupation certificate and homebuyers could seek compensation.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna said builders would be liable to refund the money if the homebuyers were forced to pay higher taxes and water charges arising from the lack of an occupancy certificate.
It set aside the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission which had turned down homebuyers’ plea against a builder and held they should approach against the authorities which are charging higher taxes.
The SC passed the order on a plea of Mumbai-based Samruddhi Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. Advocate Sunil Fernandes said homebuyers were living in the society for 25 years without occupation certificate and had to pay 25% higher property taxes and 50% higher water charges.
The builder said the plea was barred by limitation as the cause of action arose in 1997 when they took possession but the complaint was filed 18 years later.