Maha REAT – The carpet area specified in the Agreement of Sale shall Supersede over any other documents

The Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal (‘Tribunal’) bench, consisting of Justice Shriram R. Jagtap (Judicial Member) and Dr. K. Shivaji (Technical Member), has ruled that in instances where there are inconsistencies or conflicts regarding the carpet area stated in different documents concerning the property (such as Allotment Letter and Draft Agreement), the carpet area mentioned in the Agreement of Sale shall be considered and legally binding measurement.

In the real estate, the term “RERA Carpet Area” denotes the practical usable space enclosed within the walls of an apartment or property. It excludes shared areas such as staircases, lobbies, balconies, but includes the are under the partition walls

Here’s a breakdown of the background facts:

A homebuyer Kamal Kishore Unival purchased a flat within the Meridia project developed by the Builder, with the agreement for sale executed and officially recorded on August 10, 2019.

Subsequently, the homebuyer encountered several issues concerning the flat. Firstly, there was a delay in the handover of the flat, surpassing the agreed-upon timelines despite the issuance of the occupation certificate for the project. Moreover, the Builder purportedly demanded additional payments beyond the terms outlined in the agreement, allegedly without furnishing proper receipts. Additionally, it was claimed that the actual carpet area of the apartment fell short of the promised area at the time of booking, by an approximate margin of 225 square feet. Furthermore, the appellant leveled accusations against the Builder, alleging fraudulent practices, including the falsification of the carpet area.

The homebuyer sought compensation for the alleged shortfall in carpet area, primarily citing two documents provided by the Accord Builders: a allotment letter dated July 18, 2019, indicating a carpet area of 77.2 sq. meters, and a draft agreement for sale dated July 19, 2019, showing a carpet area of 71.21 sq. meters.

Frustrated and aggrieved by the delay and other aforementioned issues, the homebuyer filed a complaint with MahaRERA, requesting various reliefs such as possession of the flat, compensation for the discrepancy in carpet area, revocation of the project’s registration due to fraudulent practices, and an order for the registration of a cooperative society. However, the builder opposed the complaint, contending that the demands, including GST payments, were in accordance with the agreement for sale and assured that receipts for the payments would be issued.

In its order dated November 26, 2019, MahaRERA directed the builder to hand over possession of the flat to the homebuyer within 15 days. Subsequently, the homebuyer appealed against this order, seeking additional reliefs such as compensation for the carpet area discrepancy, a refund of GST payments, revocation of the project’s registration, and registration of a cooperative society.

The MahaREAT Tribunal rejected the homebuyer’s demand for compensation due to the alleged deficit in carpet area, as the executed agreement for sale clearly specified the carpet area as 50.29 sq. meters. The Tribunal ruled that the claim for compensation was legally unsustainable for several reasons. Clause 3.2 of the executed and registered agreement for sale explicitly stated the promised carpet area as 50.29 sq. meters. Additionally, Clauses 63 and 64 of the agreement established that the entire agreement between the parties would supersede any prior understandings or agreements. The Tribunal further noted that the agreement for sale would take precedence over all previous documents, including the allotment letter and draft agreement cited by the homebuyer, as these documents predated the executed agreement. Moreover, the Tribunal observed that the homebuyer did not dispute the carpet area at the time of possession or afterward until filing the complaint. Documents such as the allotment letter and booking application form also confirmed the carpet area as 50.29 sq. meters. Consequently, the Tribunal dismissed the homebuyer’s appeal, finding it unsustainable and devoid of merit.

Posted and reproduced in Public Interest by

Adv. Sulaiman Bhimani Legal Consultant

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MahaRERA Appeal Case  Kamal Kishore Uniyal Versus Accord Builders

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