Flat (apartment), purchase of: India

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‘Can’t charge flat buyer extra for parking slot’

Rebecca Samervel, TNN | Sep 11, 2013

The Times of India

MUMBAI: Emphasising that a flat buyer cannot be charged extra for a car parking space, a consumer forum has fined a developer that committed this "unfair trade practice".

The Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum last week directed Tata Housing Development Company to refund Rs 50,000 to Ghatkopar-based Suresh Mehta and pay him compensation of around Rs 20,000.

"Car parking area is the common area of the society. Therefore, the opponent (the developer) had no right to charge any amount for the sale or use of the parking space," observed the forum. It took into consideration a Supreme Court judgment which held that a developer can only sell a flat and has no right to sell a parking space.

In his complaint, filed with the consumer forum last year, Mehta had said that he purchased on June 30, 2010, an apartment and car parking space at Betegaon, Palghar, for Rs 17.4 lakh. He maintained that Rs 50,000 was taken from him for car parking and another Rs 50,000 as clubhouse development charges.

Mehta said he came across a judgment in August 2010 that held that a builder or developer cannot sell stilt or open parking as the space is part of society common area. The verdict also held that, once the occupation certificate is issued and the society formed, the developer ceases to have any title on the open space.

Through a letter dated December 23, 2010, Mehta demanded a refund from the developer. He was told in response that the car parking was not sold; the developer said he was issued a right to use the space. Aggrieved, Mehta filed a complaint with the forum. The developer repeated its stand in the forum.

The forum said the agreement showed that the total amount paid by Mehta included charges for the parking space. "The documents on record corroborate the contention of the complainant that the flat's price was Rs 16.44 lakh and that he was required to pay Rs 50,000 for car parking space." The forum held that this amounted to an unfair trade practice.

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