Filing a Consumer Complaint: Housing Sector

Last Updated at: January 08, 2020

In the present era, the consumer courts across India have a large number of cases pertaining to the housing sector. If your builder has caused you any serious trouble with regards to quality of the house or apartment that you purchased, then the consumer forum can help you in getting all the compensation that you deserve. So, hire a decent lawyer and move ahead with the proces to ensure that your rights are not taken away from you.

In most parts of India, housing is among the top three reasons for approaching the consumer court, along with insurance and banking. And given that the other two are more frequent purchases, the presence of housing in the top three is scary. After all, it’s the largest purchase you will make in your life and it could be terrible if your money were to be tied up. Most often, such a matter arises only when the property is being purchased from the builder. In such a case, you can file a consumer complaint.

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What you can file a complaint for?
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 deals with consumer grievances, including those with a builder. If you have a valid complaint against the builder or the seller, as the case may be, you can file a suit under this act. Depending on the reason, the relief sought and gravity of the matter, there will be a statutory limit on when you can file the case.

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You can file a complaint if:

1. The builder is charging higher than the agreed amount.
2. The quality of construction is poor (for example, promising copper wiring but using aluminium).
3. The house does not comply with the agreed specifications (if the layout is not as initially specified and carpet area smaller than in the agreement).
4. A housing society has not been formed and handed over within the stipulated time (this is not compulsory in all states.
5. There is no account for expenses you have paid for, such as maintenance and electrical installations.
6. Barring any legitimate reason, the house is not finished within the agreed time limit. If a time limit is not mentioned in the agreement, it is assumed that the construction will be finished within two years from the date of starting work.
7. The penalties mentioned in the agreement are not paid, in case of delayed delivery.

If you have any grievance against the builder, send a notice to him in writing. Send the notice by registered post and retain the proof of sending. If the builder does not respond to your notice within 30 days, file a complaint in the consumer court.

Awareness of real estate laws and consumer protection laws is essential if you do not want to miss out on getting the compensation that you deserve. It is equally crucial that you hire the most competent lawyer that you can afford. Online portals such as Vakil Search can come in handy if you do not know the best lawyers in your part of the world.