Himansu Shekhar Rout

Apartment buyers are facing a lot of inconveniences in getting their flats registered. Many people in Bhubaneswar have invested lakhs by booking individual apartments in the housing projects of private builders, but they have not got ownership of their flats in the absence of an apartment ownership law. 

It is said that an apartment registration law is required for the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) to effectively deal with registration issues.  

Notably, under the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, promoters shall have to register all commercial and residential real estate projects in the State with Odisha RERA.

As such a registration law suitable for RERA is absent, the High Court imposed restrictions on apartment registration in May 2022 and directed the government to bring legislation in this connection. 

Here is an instance. One Bimalendu Pradhan of Bhubaneswar booked a four-BHK apartment in a housing project near AIIMS in 2010. He was supposed to get the flat in 2015, but he could not get it. Then, they took up the issue with RERA and moved to the High Court. Later, the builder agreed to provide the flat to him in 2023. 

Bimalendu said, "Even after paying 100 percent money for the flats, our house cannot be registered. I bought a flat in an apartment of a housing project. As my house has not been registered, I cannot move into the house.” 

It was stated that as an apartment ownership law is not nonexistent, Bimalendu could not get the house registered. He is now staying in a rented house. This is the condition of many flat buyers. Many have sought to know why an apartment registration law favourable to RERA has not been made in the state. 

In June 2023, the government brought the Odisha Apartment (Ownership and Management) Ordinance (relating to ownership of an individual apartment in a building), but it has not been implemented. Hence, the apartment registration is still in limbo.   

The real estate sector has also been affected by the absence of the apartment ownership law. As apartment registration is not possible, over 10,000 apartments have not been handed over to their owners. Thousands of crores of rupees invested in the real estate are stuck. For the last two years, builders have had to maintain their projects with their own funds.

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Chairperson of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) DS Tripathy said that the builders are in a painful situation and are waiting for the law.   

Builder Pradipta Kumar Biswasray said, "A draft rule has been made. But it has not been finalized. Registration has been a chronic problem. This is an impediment. Buyers are asking about registration." 

However, the reaction of the Housing & Urban Development Department was not received.

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