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DLF Belaire flat owners play safe on compensation

Consumer activism entered a new phase in working out claims and compensations. The latest example is of the Belaire project in Gurgaon, over which DLF, the country’s largest real estate company, was recently told by the Supreme Court to pay Rs 630 crore for abusing its dominant market position.

Apartment owners at Belaire, in the process of selling their units are adding a clause in the sale deeds that if compensation is granted, they – not the buyers – will have the right to claim it. Sources say owners would seek compensation, which could range between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 40 lakh depending on various factors, from the Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat).

In the normal course of selling an apartment, once the registration process is completed, all the rights are transferred to the new owner. However, in this case, as the registration of apartments in Belaire is on hold because of pending litigation, compensation could be claimed by sellers. Otherwise, such clauses in the agreements have no legal standing, according to a broker involved in one of the deals for the project. The apartments there at Golf Course Road, spread over 6.67 acres, are priced at Rs 4-6 crore each.

Last week, the Supreme Court had directed DLF to pay the Rs 630-crore penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) within three months, rejecting the firm’s request to stay the order. CCI had imposed the penalty in 2011 on a petition by flat buyers’ associations of two of DLF’s projects in Gurgaon, DLF Park Palace and The Belaire. The buyers had alleged delays in the project and increase in number of floors than planned earlier. CCI also asked DLF to modify the apartment buyers’ agreement.

DLF had moved Compat and managed to get a stay order on the penalty but recently the tribunal dismissed DLF’s plea and the case was then challenged in the Supreme Court. The final decision will be taken in due course after hearing all sides, the Supreme Court said.

DLF has come under the CCI’s scanner again for allegedly drafting a one-sided agreement with flat buyers in its New Town Heights project in Gurgaon.


CAUTIOUS STEP

  • Owners selling their apartments are putting in a clause that if the final order allows original buyers to get compensation, they will have the right to claim it rather than the new owners
  • The compensation could be in the Rs 1.5-40 lakh
  • Normally, while selling an apartment, once the registry process is completed, all the rights are transferred to the new owner
  • The Supreme Court had directed DLF to deposit Rs 630 crore in the registry within three months

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