Conciliation Forum in UPRERA
- Monday 21st June 2021
- Author: Riya Kapoor
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 seeks to protect homebuyers from the perils of unscrupulous real estate developers. The Act establishes Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state for regulation of the real estate sector and also acts as an adjudicating body for dispute redressal.
UP RERA has established two conciliation forums (NCR AND Lucknow), with representatives from consumer groups, promoters’ associations and UP RERA Conciliator forming the core committee has turned out to be highly successful.
Why go to court when you can go for mutual understanding” is the basic principle behind the establishment of a formalized, uniformed and decisive conciliation forum. While the RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development Act) provides a quick and radical redressal system to aggrieved parties, it offers a tradeoff arrangement as well through a conciliation forum. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 seeks to protect homebuyers from the perils of unscrupulous real estate developers. The Act establishes Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state for regulation of the real estate sector and also acts as an adjudicating body for dispute redressal. RERA has thus become the most preferred option of home buyers for grievance redressal, as we see many complaints being filed before the authority.
Section 32 (g) of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, provides for measures to be taken by the authority to facilitate amicable conciliation of disputes between the promoters and the allottees through dispute settlement forums comprising of representatives from consumers and promoters associations. Accordingly, UP RERA Conciliations Forum was established vide order No. 5166/RERA/2018-19 with the primary goal of addressing allottee’s and builders/developers/promoter’s issues and getting them resolved amicably in order to save valuable time and resources and also to encourage confidence amongst the stakeholders through transparent and inclusive process. UP RERA has established two conciliation forums (NCR AND Lucknow), with representatives from consumer groups, promoters’ associations and UP RERA Conciliator forming the core committee has turned out to be highly successful. Riding on the rate of success conciliation meetings are bringing more and more homebuyers and developers to the negotiation table instead of initiating formal legal proceedings before the RERA Bench. All types of complaints—related to a refund, compensation or possession—are being filed with conciliation forums. Meetings organized by the forums have representatives from the homebuyers’ association, developer associations such as Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) and National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), the builder, the buyer or his representative and a RERA officer or the conciliator. Primarily for these reasons, Uttar Pradesh, RERA had set up this alternative dispute resolution.
With the conciliation forum in place, complaints have been resolved more quickly than before and also to the satisfaction of both the litigating parties. It also saves on the cost and time involved in litigation. The process of conciliation begins with the complainant registering conciliation request online and then it goes to the promoter for his/her acceptance, once the builder accepts the request on UP RERA web portal, the complainant has to deposit a fee, after that the Confidential Page 88 of 89 conciliation process gets underway. The caveat here is that the request remains pending until the promoter accepts it. On confirmation of acceptance and payment of fee, the Conciliator invites the feuding parties for a hearing. They are expected to be present personally in the meeting of the forum.
The conciliator then facilitate a resolution of dispute between the parties on a given date through the inputs of experts and representatives of association and by providing a fair degree of opportunity of being heard at length. During such discussion, feuding parties after getting experience of problems of each other and, they tend to soften their declared stand. Conciliation proceedings also provide them an understanding of the sector so that they become realistic about the problems and solutions. If a settlement is reached, a consent agreement is drawn and signed by both the parties duly vetted by Member and Conciliator. Otherwise, the conciliation process is terminated for the particular complaint and the complainant is at liberty to pursue the case through RERA or before any other court.
The process of writing the settlement starts immediately after the compromise is attained during the discussion of the forum. Often, during the conciliation proceedings, alternative proposals are advanced and sufficient time is granted to work-out the options presented which usually takes approximately 1-2 weeks. Once the conciliation is arrived at, due signatures are obtained from the concerned parties and members of the forum present, post which the document is thoroughly vetted by the conciliator and immediately uploaded on the UP RERA Web Portal. For the cases referenced by the bench for conciliation, they are reported back with bench which eventually becomes the part of the order. However, if after signing the consent agreement, one of the parties fails or neglects to comply with the agreed terms, it will be treated as breach of RERA order and it would be taken note of by the authorities when they pass a judgment.
Why should the buyer & promoter care?
Under RERA Act’16, a home buyer one can lodge a complaint against any RERA-registered developer or real estate agent for his default in meeting commitments. But in a conciliation forum the buyer does not have to worry about court hearings and legal proceedings. The complaints can get the problems resolved which may include delay in possession, changes in construction plans, additional charges or lack of facilities promised, including parking space, storage space or elevator in an amicable manner. Also, for the promoter, the forum provides a platform to share its concerns that might range from funding issues, land disputes, authority related disputes, court-stays etcetera. The builder/promoter can share his/her challenges which led to the buyer to register the complaint and arrive at a solution in presence of the conciliator which is acceptable to both the parties. It also gives the promoter the complete understanding of the challenges faced by the buyer in an amicable environment which leads to further strengthening of understanding between the parties which in turn helps resolving the future conflicts as well that could arrive in future and most importantly due to amicable atmosphere there is no/little scope of bad blood between the buyer and the promoter.
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