Noida Extension Expose Series
Though dissatisfaction of the home buyers is a national reality, in Greater Noida West (Noida Extension in popular parlance) it is hard to find a buyer who is not repenting his property purchase. Ravi Sinha reports from ground zero.
A pan-India survey by Track2Realty finds that eight out of ten home buyers are sulking. Property tops the list of consumer grievances in this part of the world. The moot point today across the built environment of the Indian real estate is whether the builders can afford to take the buyers for a ride anymore in the wake of investors’ exit, diminishing appreciation and the home buyers’ reluctance to commit for an under construction project.
Well, if you think that the market realities are forcing the erring builders to fall in line and reform, you are definitely not exposed to the harsh realities of the real estate markets of Delhi-NCR in general and its shady crown prince, Greater Noida West in particular. Here, the builders, often in connivance with the government agencies behave like local gang lords. Delays & defaults have a brave face and any resistance on part of the buyers is crushed with threats – legal and otherwise.
Some of the following statements might seem to be exaggerated but are first hand experiences of buyers in this market:
“You dare to file complaint with RERA and I will show you the legality.”
“If you dare to protest, then be ready to face further delays while your neighbours will get the possession.”
“I changed the amenities & the layout as per the requirements of the project, don’t need consent of the buyers.”
“Oh don’t worry about protesting buyers. The leading faces have been managed by throwing peanuts.”
“My proxies among the protesting buyers will silence any real threat to me.”
Standing at the barren open area that was supposed to be the green zone of the society, Sujit Kumar is a dejected home buyer. He, like some hundred odd buyers, have signed a “Forced Consent” that they are willingly taking up “as is” apartment for fit-out. Furthermore, they have signed “Consent Letter” that they are satisfied with the delay penalty (in violation of RERA guidelines) given to them.
The underline obligation with such forced consent is that the builder has allowed to live Sujit and many other buyers like him over there, while playing it legally safe. Any denial and one would meet the fate of endless wait with burden of both the rent and the EMI.
“The builder understands the financial and legal limitations of the salaried home buyers like us. Beyond a point we can’t fight and even if RERA judgment is in our favour, it is challenged in the High Court. No one has the time and resources to go to Allahabad High Court regularly. It is a trap and the local authorities are in connivance with the builder. Hence, I don’t expect the authorities to spell out why the Occupancy Certificate (OC) is being denied even after hundreds of families have moved in for more than a year,” maintains Sujit.
The condition of the buyers having bought with the bankrupt builders like Amrapali, Unitech or Airwill is even worse. They rather envy those who are getting what could be conveniently termed as “Compromised Possession”. Giving possession, even with curtailed amenities and delays, is what makes the builder holier-than-thou among the peer group and accords moral high ground before the buyers. Possession on priority is builders’ largesse in this part of the world and any dissenting voice is penalized with further delay in handing over the apartment.
Track2Realty has in its possession various exchanged mails between the buyers and the builders which not only defies any civilized business correspondence but is also in contravention with the law of the land. In one such mail with a delayed project for more than three years, the builder has the audacity to put on record that they would refund only with some deductions, forget about delayed penalty. Incidentally, the builder has accepted unaccounted cash with the said buyer and hence the buyer knows the real fallout of the exit.
More often than not the home buyers are overtly than covertly threatened not to write anything against the builder in the society WhatsApp group, if they want the possession. One builder has gone to the extent of writing it in the Builder-Buyer Agreement that the buyers can’t write anything derogatory against the builder on social media, and any violation would be liable for cancellation with builders’ administrative expenses deducted (Track2Realty has in its possession the copy of the agreement).
In most of the societies the builder is in full control of the so-called buyers’ associations that have no locus standi or legal teeth. But they are empowered by the builder to silence any real threat to his reputation and/or business. The underlying message by such vested interests of Mohalla Politics (petty society politics) is that anything said or written negative against the project or the builder would lead to depreciation of property prices. It is like don’t report a theft to police, or else you will be exposed as a soft target for more theft.
“Live here and be happy forever,” says most of the real estate advertisements attracting the prospective home buyers. Unfortunately, the mental health is the first casualty if you make the mistake of buying a house in Greater Noida West. Most of the home buyers in this part of the world are anyway not lucky enough to have control over where they would choose to live. It is a market for those who can’t afford to buy a house in other job catchment locations of Delhi-NCR.
Is there any escape form a property market where consumers are at the rock bottom in the builders’ big bad world? Well, it is anyone’s guess with the long-term financial commitment to repay the bank loan. But what could be vouchsafed at this point of time is the fact that Noida Extension builders could not learn from the mistake of their community in the respective markets of Raj Nagar Extension and Crossing Republik. But who cares when their world view has never been beyond India’s arguably most notorious property market?
Brand reputation? Damn it! Sab Ganda Hai Par Dhanda Hai (It’s all rotten but my business).
Track2Realty is an independent media group managed by a consortium of journalists. Starting as the first e-newspaper in the Indian real estate sector in 2011, the group has today evolved as a think-tank on the sector with specialized research reports and rating & ranking. We are editorially independent and free from commercial bias and/or influenced by investors or shareholders. Our editorial team has no clash of interest in practicing high quality journalism that is free, frank & fearless.
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