Bottom Line: It is a known fact that the projects get sanctioned easily due to the bonhomie between developers and the authorities. And the quality of construction and other grey areas go unquestioned.
Completion Certificate and the Occupation Certificate also have a price tag attached where the violations and flouting norms are conveniently ignored. Therefore, to the scores of financially and emotionally bleeding homebuyers the developers continue to bully with a gesture of “take it or leave it”.
Most of the builder-buyer agreements are heavily loaded in favour of builders and the buyer does not get to see the agreement draft till one has paid the booking amount. Their disillusionment is reflected with the rise in the number of complaints that has challenged the growth of the sector.
Delivery delays, mismatch in area, changes in structure or designs in a project and developers going back on other promises have been quite common. These issues have given rise to consumer activism, in courts and outside. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) slapping a fine of INR 630 crore on DLF gave some hope to the buyers.
Supertech also bore the brunt of buyers’ wrath when the Allahabad High Court, on a petition by its residents’ association, ordered demolition of two towers in its Noida project, Emerald Court. Builders like Unitech, Jaypee Group, Parsvnath etc are repeatedly being reprimanded by various courts for non-delivery of projects.
JC Sharma, VC & MD, Sobha Limited agrees that home buyers expect developers to be transparent in their dealings, deliver their units on time and with the best quality of construction. The general perception in the market is not very positive and that is why the government has introduced the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act. According to him, some of the best practices that the developers should adopt are improved quality, customer-centricity and transparency. It is imperative that the focus should be on corporate governance, accountability and timely delivery of projects.
“In order to win the trust, full-disclosure policies should be adopted, making all information regarding project approvals, registration and process easily accessible. Another practice that is still evolving and has gained the attention of leading real estate companies is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There is also an increasing level of consciousness among the developers to construct green buildings in order to protect environment. These practices will not only strengthen bonding with various stakeholders but will also win their immense trust,” says Sharma.
Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group suggests the existing perception can only be changed if the developer fraternity adopts practice of transparency and streamline their professional intent. Foremost the developer should draw a limit to the quantum of work that is under their control for a certain business cycle. The major concerns like delay in possession, quality issues etc directly or indirectly occur because of over-limit & uncontrollable growth, especially in the North region of the country. Involvement of higher management at all verticals is crucial to meet up the commitments and promises.
“The other aspect which causes huge gap between the developer and consumer is “insufficiency in being answerable to the customer”. Consumer connect is by and large a missing link in direct interface with home buyers. The developer should take extra care to face and answer all types of queries of the customer as well as third parties to gain the confidence of the market. Indian real estate has to go a long way vis-à-vis other global emerging markets as majority of the Indian developers are still not practicing the best,” says Hawelia.
An eco system that empowers the buyer with equal terms and conditions as those enjoyed by the builder will definitely change the outlook of buyers about the sector and its practices. Today, the reality is that despite liberal payment plans and discounted deals in the market, people are yet not ready to trust the developers. They have burnt their finger in the past due to various hidden clauses and arm-twisting after making the first payment.
By: Ravi Sinha
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