Though RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development Act) provides a dispute redressal mechanism for aggrieved parties through the courts, it also provides a compromise solution. When both parties agree to mutually settle the dispute then they need not go to the Court. The Maharashtra RERA has established a Conciliation Forum and is the first RERA forum to do so.
What is it?
A conciliation forum is to facilitate the amicable settlement between the parties and acts as a mediator between aggrieved parties. Under this forum, the aggrieved parties (whether home buyers, developers or real estate agents) can get their grievances solved before filing a complaint with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority.
The forum usually includes members from Resident Welfare Associations, Real Estate Regulatory Authorities, Developer's Associations and a member from respective development or industry authority. Maharashtra RERA had set up this alternative dispute resolution mechanism and was able to mediate 375 out of 528 conciliation requests. Uttar Pradesh RERA has also established a conciliation forum to settle the dispute out of the RERA Court.
Why is it important?
RERA states that complaints with the authority should be disposed off within 60 days from the date of filing but it is taking a year and in many cases even more. On the other hand, conciliation forum act more quickly than Authority to resolve Complaints. It also cut down the cost and time involved in litigation.
On receipt of commencement of conciliation, the Bench invites the disputed parties for hearing. They are expected to be present along with their Authorized Representatives.
The conciliators try to resolve the dispute between the parties with negotiation with parties involved and without the presence of lawyers. A consent agreement is drawn and signed by both the parties if settlement is reached. Otherwise, the conciliation process is terminated, and the complainant will have the option to pursue the case through RERA or before some other court.
After signing the consent agreement by the parties, if any one of the parties fails or neglects to comply with the agreed terms, it will be treated as violation of the respective State's RERA order and the authority will take this in consideration before announcing a judgment.
Why should I care?
A home buyer can lodge a complaint against any developer or real estate agent registered in RERA with the conciliation forum by paying a minimal fee. But the only difference in a conciliation forum is that you don't have to worry about court trials and legal proceedings. Your complaints may include delay in handing over the Possession, changes in Layout plans, additional charges or lack of facilities promised, including parking space, storage space or elevator.
Establishment of Conciliation forum helps to relieve the burden of Real Estate Authority and provides a quick remedy to the Homebuyers.
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