#RealtyNewsRoundup: Buyers Can Now Claim Refund For Project Delayed By Over An Year, Rules NCDRC

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on May 17 ruled that homebuyers who are facing a delay in possession of flats for over an year can now claim refund from their developers. The NCDRC was hearing a case of a Gurgaon-based homebuyer who had bought a flat in 2012 and the developer had promised delivery in 36 months. The homebuyer is yet to receive the possession of his flat.

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The Centre on May 18 modified the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) rules stating that the construction in areas ranging between 20,000-50,000 square metres (sqm) will not need an environment clearance from the government anymore. The new rules ease out the process of granting clearance to sand mining and construction activities across the country.

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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on may 18 annulled the voting by the Committee of Creditors (CoC), including homebuyers and lenders, on national buildings construction company’s bid to acquire insolvency-hit jaypee infratech. The decision came after idbi bank filed a plea, seeking a stay on the voting. The nclat has now shifted the date of renegotiation to may 30.

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The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) on May 17 proposed to directly connect the Noida Metro’s Aqua Line with the Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line. The GNIDA has proposed a route between Aqua Line’s Sector 142 and Magenta Line’s Okhla Station to create a connect.

Source: Media reports

Period Property Restoration: 5 Tips You Should Follow

Invested in an old property or just acquired an ancestral property and now planning to restore it? Restoration allows you to bring the old property back to life without taking away its actual glory. It is a thin rope you are walking on where a little bump could bring down the complete plan while on the other hand, the right moves could turn the property into your dream home.

MakaaniQ lists five tips that will help you plan the restoration programme for a period home:

Look for basics

Remember this property that you have bought is nowhere like your city home. There is nothing modern about this property and that includes the fixtures, too. Water pipes, electricity connections among others are obsolete, some even decades old. Find out these basics and begin to work on them first. Fix the basics. Also, do look for the damage caused to the property over the years, especially due to water. Find areas where there is water leakage or seepage, that is your first target.

Are you ready to live here?

Period property looks classy and unique, but are you ready to live in it? With old-school windows and no daily amenities that we need nowadays, a historic property will need a makeover to fit your preferences. Figure out what changes are of utmost importance. Or are you ready to live in the property without all the modern-day amenities? What do you fancy?

Budget yourself

While you were ready to take the overhead costs that would come with the property, there is a limit that you need to set. You cannot spend a large sum on just restoring the property and end up taking away the charm of it. There will be a lot of changes that you will want to do to the property but don’t go all out. Rather plan these changes and spread them over a time frame.

One move at a time

With many changes that you want to bring to the property to make it functional, there is only so much you can do in one go. Hence, plan your moves. Take up changes one at a time. This way you could budget yourself and also, ensure that the job is done well.

Don’t go overboard

With the changes you plan to make, do not go overboard to turn the property into a modern-day home. This way you will bring down the period value of the property making it look like any other home. In case you want to add some décor quirk, do it in small amounts and add things that go with the old-school look of the property.

Also Read: Old-World Charm: 5 Markets In India That Are Antique Paradises

 

Yes, Your Communication Skills Can Fetch You A Great Home Loan Deal

This childhood memory haunts many of us. Despite knowing the answer to a question that the teacher had dished our way, we would not be able to answer it. In our attempt to put our point across we would reach a point where we would start looking stupid, much to the amusement of the class. The class would not be without those students who were gifted with a great speech. Even if they answered only parts of the question correctly, they could dazzle the teacher with their vocabulary and style of delivery, igniting much awe in the teacher and a great deal of disappointment among not-so-gifted orators. Even as small children, we were made aware of the power of talking. As we grew old, the realisation only gained deeper ground.

Apart from making your life easier, good communication skills would be of great help when you decide to be a home owner. Hang on! We are not referring to you striking a better deal by haggling with the seller or the broker here. It is already understood that you have managed to work things in your favour already in the regard. Now is the time to use your skill to get a better deal from the bank, too, where you have submitted a home-loan application.

Most of you might react with — how is that possible? Banks have preset rules which they strictly follow. All applicants are treated equally, irrespective of their skill sets. In serious matters relating to high-value investments, softer skills may lose their impact. To a great extent, you are right. However, you do have an advantage over other in case you are a persuasive speaker who can assure the banks you happen to be a zero-risk prospect.

Here are some tips:

  • You could flaunt your high credit score, and based on that ask the bank to offer you a home loan on a slightly lower rate of interest. Do not be shocked if they agree to do so. Conversations may also lead to the bank cutting down or waiving the loan processing fee and several fringe expenses that you have to bear as a borrower. The same rule applies with regard to the several rules and regulations that are part of home loans.
  • Your communication skill will come handy when you decide to switch lenders in the wake of falling interest rates. Your bank would love to retain a customer such as you and would offer to make the deal sweeter.

While using the power of your talking, however, do be mindful of the fact that:

  • Banks may refuse your request for something. However, this should not discourage you. When you do not ask for something, you most certainly have no chance of getting it. When you ask for it, there is always the possibility of getting yes as an answer.
  • Bluffs would certainly not work. What you say has to be factually correct. Banks would do all the background check to find out everything about it. The power of communication must actually be used to highlight the positives about you, based on facts.
  • Passive “threatening” may often not work. Be persuasive without being negative.

Also ReadHow Does Paying An Extra EMI In A Year Help You?

No Green Nod Needed For Construction On 20,000-50,000 Sqm Plot

Construction in areas between 20,000-50,000 square metre (sqm) will not require environment clearance from the government anymore, the Centre has said in a modified notification on the environment impact assessment (EIA). Under the existing rules, projects with a built-up area of up to 20,000 sqm do not have to apply for a green clearance.

In a recently issued notification, the environment has stated that it has decided to re-engineer EIA rules, based on the amendments in the rules and its experience in the past.

“As the principal notification has undergone substantial changes over the years, the ministry has decided to re-engineer the entire notification in line with the amendments issued…and circulars issued from time to time and experience gained over the years in implementation of the EIA notification,” it said.

The move is likely to benefit real estate developers since housing projects often get stuck at the environment clearance level, leading to long delays. Now, developers of such projects would only have to submit self-declaration to urban-local bodies, stating green norms were being followed while building the project, by and large. This would ensure they are able to deliver projects within pre-set timeline.

Under the new notification, the process of clearances granted for sand mining and construction activities have been eased out, a decision that has not gone down well with environmental activists, who claim that the EIA notification compromises public hearings.

The draft allows district-level authorities, headed by the district magistrate, to seek exemption from public hearing while granting green clearance for sand mining in areas up to five hectares of land.

Environmentalists say that through the notification, the government is trying to give benefit to builders and mining companies, weakening the EIA.

The EIA is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

With inputs from Housing News

Green Panel Clears 3 Housing Projects In South Delhi

A government-appointed expert panel has cleared the decks for the redevelopment of three housing projects in south Delhi work on which was stuck owing to tree felling issues.  The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MOEFCC) has cleared the revised housing projects in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Kasturba Nagar colonies.

According to the revised plans of these colonies, trees will be translocated/ transplanted instead of being felled.

In Sarojini Nagar, out of 11,913 trees, 3,500 trees will be translocated and the remaining will be retained at the project site. In Netaji Nagar, of the 3,906 proposed trees to be felled, 1,600 are to be translocated and the remaining will be retained. In Kasturba Nagar, 405 will be translocated, and 798 will be retained.

The EAC noted that due to petitions in the Delhi High Court and the NGT against redevelopment of seven GPRA (General Pool Residential Accommodation) colonies over felling of trees, including the three colonies which have now been cleared, there was a status quo on these projects since July 2018.

“During deliberations, the EAC noted that as per the environmental clearance granted vide dated June 12, 2018, initial activities were taken up but due to writ petitions /PIL filed in the Delhi High Court and National Green Tribunal against felling of trees, the high court had ordered to maintain status quo in redevelopment of all seven GPRA Colonies including Sarojini Nagar on July 2, 2018 and July 26, 2018,” the EAC’s minutes of meeting said.

Environment activists, however, said that redevelopment was necessary but translocation was a risky approach.

“Redevelopment is needed in Delhi. Translocation is a good move but it has to be carried out cautiously as most of the times it is not successful,” said Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Chandra Bhushan.

He added that while granting clearance for such projects, number of trees to be cut should be reduced and planting of more number of trees must be ensured.

With inputs from Housing News

Projects Running Up To 50,000 Sqm Don’t Need Green Approval

Amid rising instances of housing projects getting stuck at various stages of construction across the country, often owing to delays in approvals, the government has decided that housing projects that are developed in an area ranging between 20,000 and 50,000 square metre (sqm) would no longer have to undergo the environment impact assessment (EIA) process. In a recently issued notification, the environment ministry said that it had decided to “re-engineer” the EIA rules, based on how matters unfolded in the past.

Under the existing rules, projects with a built-up area of up to 20,000 sqm do not have to undergo the EIA process. EIA is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impact of a proposed project.

Now, developers undertaking projects that measure up to the area mentioned above will only have to submit an undertaking with the urban-local bodies, saying that it would ensure environmental safety in their project. Urban-local bodies will issue a completion certificate to these projects only after ensuring the developer followed all the norms, that would include having provisions for rainwater harvesting, waste management, green energy and water management at the project. Developers of such projects would also have to strictly follow air and noise pollution norms. 

Such projects not requiring an environmental approval would also mean they would not fall under the purview of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a fact that has attracted environmentalists’ ire. Experts are of the opinion that the new draft, which is trying to give benefit to builders, mining companies and industries by weakening the EIA notification of 2006, defies several directives of the NGT and the country’s judicial system.

It is worth mentioning here that India ranked 177th in a list of 180 countries on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2018. However, the country’s ranking on the ease of doing business index has improved in the past. 

Know Your Tax Benefits As A Homebuyer

Buying a home is a big financial decision. In order to unburden homebuyers, the government offers income tax benefits for homebuyers. These benefits vary according to the property type, nature of construction and home loan amount. For instance, a first time homebuyer can claim more tax deduction when buying an under-construction property rather than a ready property. Here is  MakaanIQ explains how you can be a smart planner.

A home loan can be tax-efficient with a proper understanding of three major sections of the Income-Tax Act that cover tax gains under house property – 80C, 80 EE and 24B.

Section 80C: 

The amount paid as repayment of the principal amount of a home loan by an individual is allowed for tax deduction under this section. The maximum tax benefit allowed at present is Rs 1,50,000. It includes amounts invested in PPF account, tax-saving fixed deposits, equity-oriented mutual funds, National Savings Certificate, and Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme. The tax benefit is allowed only after the construction has been completed and the completion certification received by the taxpayer.

The deduction for interest payment on the home loan, under this section, is allowed if the loan is sought for the extension and renovation of a house, but only after the construction is complete.

Section 24B:

This section deals with tax benefits on interest paid by an individual on his home loan. The maximum tax benefit allowed for a self-occupied property is Rs 2 lakh. The home loan can be taken for construction, reconstruction, repair, renewal, or purchase of a residential property.

In case the property for which the home loan is sought is not self-occupied or rented out, no maximum limit has been prescribed and the whole loan interest can be claimed for deduction.

Besides, if the property is not constructed within five years (financial year 2016-17 onwards) from the end of the financial year in which the home loan was availed of, the interest benefit will be reduced from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 30,000.

Section 80 EE:

This section covers income tax rebate on interest on home loan for ‘first-time buyers’, and provides an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 over and above the tax deduction of Rs 2 lakh under section 24 and Rs 1.5 lakh under section 80C. This can be availed of from the financial year 2016-17 onwards. The home loan must have been sanctioned between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017, for one to be able to claim a deduction under this section. The deduction is allowed only if the value of the property purchased is less than Rs 50 lakh and the value of the loan sought is less than Rs 35 lakh. The benefit will be available till the time the home loan is repaid.

Demystifying tax benefits

What if you sell the property within five years of occupancy?

If the property is sold within five years of occupancy, the tax benefit availed of for the principal amount of the home loan payment will be reversed and treated as your income and added back to the salary. There will be no reversal for the interest amount paid.

What if you take a loan from your family and friends?

If the home loan is taken from family or friends and regular instalments are being paid, only the interest amount of the home loan payment will be allowed for deduction, not the principal amount. For claiming these deductions, one needs to furnish the documents provided by the lender clearly indicating the amount paid towards the interest and the principal.

What is the deduction available for an under-construction property for which the loan has been disbursed? 

Banks offer loans under schemes where the loan amount gets disbursed and the lender starts charging the EMI, even as the construction of the building is under way. There is no difference between EMI and pre-EMI for taxation purposes. If the possession of the property has not been taken during the financial year, there will be no tax benefit. Tax deduction is available only if the under-construction property is completed during the financial year. For instance, loans that get disbursed under Advance Disbursement Facility scheme, there is no tax benefit during the years the property remains under construction.

My husband and I have taken a home loan jointly. Can we both claim income-tax deduction under house property separately? 

Yes, both husband and wife can claim separate deductions in income-tax returns. The repayment of the principal amount of the loan can be claimed as a deduction under section 80C, up to a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh individually by each co-owner.

Can I claim exemption for both home loan and HRA? 

If you have taken a home loan and staying in a rented place, you are entitled to tax benefit under section 80C and 24B, as well as house rent allowance. And, if you have taken a home loan but have let out the house and are staying in a rented accommodation, you will be entitled to all the benefits mentioned above. However, in this case, the rent you receive will be taxable.

Is loan taken from friends and relatives liable for tax benefit?

Obtain interest certificate from your relative/friend to claim a tax deduction on interest component. However, in this case you cannot get the tax benefit for principal repayment. Also, ask the lender to show the interest paid by you in their internet returns filing.

Are there any tax benefits on missed EMI?

A homebuyer can claim the tax benefit on the interest component of the housing loan even if he has missed an EMI (equated monthly installment) payment. The payee should have the copy of interest certificate issued by the lender that specifies the loan amount and total interest payable in the financial year. However, the tax deduction on principal component won’t be functional here as it depends on the actual repayment.

With inputs from Parul Pandey & Surbhi Gupta

Legally Speaking: Recent Court Orders On Land Acquisition

When we speak of infrastructure development, land acquisition and related issues come as a crucial aspect. The complexity of the matter has led to umpteen disputes taking place, involving the matter. Let us look at some recent landmark ruling related to land acquisition. These case studies should give homebuyers and investors a better understanding of the law in matters of land acquisition.

  1. Are authorities making you run from pillar to post for your compensation claim?

What the SC say: It is unfortunate that a genuine claim of the land owner was not satisfied by the state for such a long time.

For infrastructure development purposes, states often acquire land from the public. In most cases, disputes may arise over the compensation package. Over that, authorities may take landowners to the court. However, the Supreme Court (SC) has taken an adverse view of this approach, especially if the amount in question is insignificant, and the time taken in the process is long.

Here is what happened

In a land acquisition case of 1987, the Andhra Pradesh state government forced the landowner to run from one court to another for about 20 years over a claim involving an amount of Rs 50,000. The claimant passed away in the meantime. His successors failed to appear before the apex court when the state government approached it for justice. In May 2016, the SC, while giving its verdict in the Land Acquisition Officer versus Ravi Santosh case, gave the state a peremptory order to settle all amounts while criticising it for the “abuse of legal process”.

“In our considered opinion, the state unnecessarily pursued this petty matter to this court, which does not involve any arguable point either on facts or in law …nor it involves any point of public importance, nor does it involve any substantial money claim. What was involved was only the calculation of payment of interest. Therefore, it was a sheer abuse of process by the state which we do not approve (of),” the SC said, adding: “It is unfortunate that a genuine claim of the land owner was not satisfied by the state for such a long time.”

  1. Are you liable to pay capital gains tax if your land has been acquired without your assent?

What the SC says: If an owner succumbs to the government only to avoid litigation, the transaction is not a sale but compulsory acquisition, and should be exempted from capital gains tax.

There have been cases where landowners did not have a choice but to handover their property to authorities for project developments. However, such a landowner is under no obligation to pay capital gains tax on the compensation he received from authorities, the SC has ruled.

Here is what happened

In the Balakrishnan versus Union of India case, the state government acquired about 27 acres of agricultural land in 2006 for extending a Techno Park in south Kerala. Unhappy with the compensation amount, the landowner tried to contest the matter, but later agreed to sell the land at the price offered by the state, solely to avoid litigation.

After the deal was finalised, the state revenue department demanded capital gains tax on the amount from the landowner, arguing that the transaction was “sale”, and not compulsory acquisition exempted under Section 10(37) of the Income-Tax Act. This view was upheld when the matter reached the high court. However, the Supreme Court later ruled that the owner “succumbed to the government” pressure only to avoid litigation. In light of that, the transaction was not a “sale” but “compulsory acquisition” and should be exempted from capital gains tax.

  1. Your land was acquired under the provisions of the old state law. Can you challenge the acquisition under the provisions of the new Central law?

What the SC says: Land acquisition under the state development Act would not lapse only because it had not followed the procedure in the Central law.

The apex court has recently ruled that once legal proceedings are started under a state legislation, the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act that came in force in 2014 will not be applicable.

Here is what happened?

In the Special Land Acquisition Officer vs Anasuya Bai case, the Supreme Court set aside the ruling of the Karnataka High Court which had quashed the acquisition of land under the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Act on the ground that compensation was not given within the stipulated period. The time limit was set by the old Land Acquisition Act in this case. The issues that whether the old law applies when it has been replaced in 2014 by the new law called the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act was contested.  The SC ruled that land acquisition under the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Act would not lapse only because it had not followed the procedure in the Central law.

  1. Are authorities over-staying their welcome?

What the HC says: If no compensation is paid, the acquisition is “bad, illegal and without justification”.

In a landmark ruling recently, the Calcutta High Court asked the West Bengal government and its land acquisition collector to pay compensation and occupation charges to the aggrieved party, whose property the state government had been occupying since 1998.

Here is what happened

The state government acquired the premises of Punalur Paper Mills in the capital’s central area in 1973 to set up the office of the Sugar Industries Development Corporation. The notification in this regard became invalid in 1998. By another notification in 2000, the premises were acquired while the corporation continued to hold the property. Punalur Paper Mills, an ailing company, challenged the acquisition while the government objected to a sick entity to approach the judicial system.

Observing that no compensation was paid to the ailing company, the HC said that the acquisition was bad, illegal and without justification. It directed the government to hand over the premises to the company within two months.

Also read: Legally Speaking: Recent Court Rulings Homebuyers Should Know Of

#RealtyNewsRoundup: Treat Homebuyers As Sub-Class In CoC, Says Corporate Affairs Ministry

The corporate affairs ministry has directed the National Company Law Tribunal that homebuyers be treated as a sub-class in Committee of Creditors in cases where real estate developers are undergoing insolvency proceedings. The ministry has also asked the tribunal to have an outcome-based approach to resolve Jaypee Infratech case.

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The Rajasthan Housing Board plans to launch luxury apartments for the high-income groups through public-private-partnership mode. These apartments are proposed to be constructed on a two-hectare land on the Aravali Path in Jaipur’s Mansarovar area. The board has already asked developers to submit proposals.

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Prices of houses are expected to reduce by at least 10 per cent amid rising housing stock and financial burden on the developers, says a leading global real estate brokerage. Many developers are in huge debt as their funding avenues have dried up. To stay afloat in the market, they will have to double their current sales which can only be achieved by reducing prices, says the brokerage.

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The Delhi Development Authority plans to start redevelopment work across six slums in the city. The six slums include the JJ clusters in Rohini’s sectors 18 and 19, Dilshad Garden, Kirti Nagar, Shalimar Bagh and Kusumpur Pahadi in Vasant Vihar. The authority will soon float tenders to hire consultants and prepare Detailed Project Reports.

Source: Media reports

Avoid Falling For These Home-Selling Myths

Selling a home? You must have been advised by other sellers or read online about certain things about home selling. While these are told as a hard truth, many are just a myth. Ready to sell your property? MakaaniQ shares six home-selling myths you should stop believing:

Myth 1: The price you set is right

The price a seller sets may not always be right. While you think your property is worth a sum but that could not be the case. The price of the property is defined by certain parameters including, circle rates, market rates, location, the age of the property, among others. Do not be under the impression that your property is going to fetch you huge money even before you begin to evaluate it. It will only lead you to disappointment.

Myth 2: Overpricing can help negotiate

A friend of yours sold a property and advised you to overprice your property if you want to fetch the desired price, in case the buyer negotiates. Do you think of it as a reasonable plan? It might just backfire. How? What if your property is priced higher than similar properties on sale in the vicinity? Your property will not be even noticed in the competition around, even if you are offering certain special facilities.

Myth 3: Quick offer. Is my property priced low?

Many think that if the property is sold soon as it goes up for sale it indicates that it is priced lower than it should be. This is a myth. If your property is sold as soon as it hits the market, you have hit the bull’s eye by pricing it right.

Myth 4: It’s okay to sell the property as it is

Selling a property without a home inspection could be a bad idea. Selling a property as it is can bring down the value of your property and certain discrepancies can even repel buyers. While you should not go out of the way and invest heavily in making the property saleable but ensuring that the basics including, fixtures, paint and other visible areas are well-maintained can do the work.

Myth 5: Your property is just right; it will sell itself

You must have been told this time and again by people around. Do not believe in all they say. A property cannot sell on its own. It is you as a seller along with your agent that will have to ensure that everything is in place to make the property saleable. So, what is important? Price of the property, listing on the leading sites, marketing pitch, photos, well-maintained and also, well-managed property visits, among other factors together ensure that the property is right and saleable.

Also readDoes A Widow Who Remarries Have A Right In Her Former Husband’s Property?