Buyers grab flats for low rates but sans occupancy certificate

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Bengaluru: Ravishankar (name changed) and his wife were on top of the world when they recently started living in their newly purchased apartment. A 2-BHK house for Rs. 45 lakh sounded like a good deal, for which they obtained a bank loan too, all facilitated by the builder. But their happiness was shortlived.

“We were told there were some violations in building norms and getting an Occupancy Certificate would be tough. While the original plan said there were three houses in three floors, the building had 15 houses and two additional floors.” said techie Ravishankar who owns a flat in Ramanjaneya Nagar, Uttarahalli in the southern end of the city .

They are thousands like him who have resorted to affordable housing and are now left in the lurch. It’s rampant especially on the outskirts. You can buy a 2BHK flat for Rs 45-Rs 60 lakh, which is 20-30 percent cheaper compared to flats sold by big builders. But the buyer has to compromise on essential documents like Occupancy Certificate (OC) and Completion Certificate (CC) issued by BBMP.

Such a price is possbile because the builder constructs floors over and above the approved plan. For blatant violation of the rule book, BBMP will not issue the OC. Shockingly, that’s not a deterrent for water supply or electricity connection as Bescom and BWSSB provide them.

Buyers recall how they paid Rs 1 lakh each for parking, water supply and power connection. “The builder made us to pay more as everything was illegally organised. We’re probably the only apartment complex on our lane to get Cauvery water supply while all other houses depend on borewell water,” he told TOI.

Despite the risks, many buy such properties as builders play the regularization card. “Once AkramaSakrama rolls out, you can get it regularized by paying the penalty and obtain the OC,.”they say.

BDA (engineering) member P N Nayak told TOI: “Once BDA hands over a layout to BBMP , we have no control over it. For the houses in our layouts where the plan is approved by the BDA, there are no violations Public should not assume that Akrama-Sakrama will regularize all violations.” He added that Bescom and BWSSB should not supply power and water to such illegal constructions. “Without OC if they supply water and power, and if something goes wrong, every agency will be in trouble. That can’t be done.” he added.

BWSSB and Bescom claim that OC is not a requirement for supplying water and power. Engineer-inchief of BWSSB Kempa Ramaiah said BWSSB will ask for the OC only if the building is a high-rise. “Submitting OC is mandatory only for high-rise buildings.” he said.

Ditto with Bescom. “We can give power supply to buildings if the owner submits any one of the documents like sale deed, tax paid receipt, khata, encumbrance certificate. OC is not mandatory as per the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission.” said Jayanthi M, general manager, customer relations, Bescom.

TIMES VIEW

The BBMP’s Occupancy Certificate no longer seems to hold any importance. While it was once an important document for every building, it is now being dispensed with, ironically, by officials from civic agencies.Bescom and BWSSB connections are linked to certification that no bylaws have been violated during construction, yet, the OC is now reduced to just a piece of paper. Fuelling the rising number of violations is the expectation among builders that one day, AkramaSakrama will redeem all their violations. Regularization of violations should be weighed well before implementing a scheme like Akrama-Sakrama, and should not give violators a blanket assurance for illegal constructions.

Courtsey: Sunitha Rao |The Times of India | 03-August-2016

HomeShikari’s View: By Mr. Sunder P (Director)

Based on such assurances by builders, people get taken in by the low price and buy apartments that grossly violate. BESCOM and BWSSB continue to give connections to such buildings and hence people think they can get away with it. However, it is naive to think that everything and anything will be condoned and regularised in future.

A recent case where the flooding in Bangalore has woken up the authorities and there is expected to be a drive to clear encroachments that did not adhere to the 30 m lake buffer zone. Such things can give a rude shock to people who have invested their hard earned money. What do you do, if after 20 years there is a demolition drive? So play it safe when it comes to your life time investment, property.

 

      
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