A brief checklist for purchase of a flat In Bangalore city

In the public eye, the real estate sector has attained infamy in its dealing, more importantly with the prospective buyers of flats and other forms of real estate.  The gullible public often falls prey to deceitful developers etc. The following experience- based checklist prepared only indicates some of the pitfalls a prospective buyer must be wary about before clinching a deal for a purchase of a flat in Bangalore city.


  1. Subterfuge: (i) The city billboards and other modes of advertisements for the sale of flats in a condominium strikingly display ‘BBMP approved flats for sale’. What is prominently displayed may contain truth, but there is a catch. But what is camouflaged is that the construction has not been done strictly conforming to the approved BBMP.  The vital information about the deviations in construction is concealed.


  1. Deviations in construction: (i) There is a provision in the Byelaw 6.0 i) of the BBMP Byelaws-2003 for allowing deviations to the plan approved up 5% in respect of the following parameters. (a) Setback lines (b) Plot coverage (c) Floor Area Ration & (d) Height of the building.


(ii) Explanation of deviations: (a) Setback lines: The requirements of the setback lines (or free space mandatory limits from the building lines to the boundary of the plot) are well laid down in Table 5 & 6 of the BBMP Building Byelaws-2003 (Ref. Byelaw 9.2 & 9.10. For instance, in case a building up to 9.50 m in height meant for the residential purpose, and if the depth of the site is over 24 metres, the following open spaces shall have to be left: Front:5.00 m, Rear:3.50m, Left: 3.0 m & Right: 4.00m.


(b)Coverage:  For the residential building, the maximum coverage to 65% is allowed in respect of plot area up 240 sqm. For any plot that exceeds that limit, the coverage of construction shall be limited to 60%. This has reference to the table-6 given in the Byelaws.


(c) FAR for a residential purpose:  The city had been classified into three groups, viz., A-Intensively Releveled Area B-Moderately Developed Area & C-Sparsely Developed Area. The FSI or FAR for residential buildings specified in the above table is based on said classification of the location, plot area, and road width.


(iii) Ambiguities in Bye-laws: It is not clear from the Bye-laws whether the deviation in one parameter (beyond 5% and within the maximum deviation limit of 50% permissible for regularisation) would be regularised or deviations in all parameter would be regularised. The point is elucidated hereunder. Suppose in one case, there is a deviation to the approved plans up to 50% in setback lines or FSI or covered plot area and no deviation in any other parameter, from the Bye-laws it is clear that the construction could be regularised by paying the requisite penalty. But, in a hypothetical case, where there is a deviation in construction in all the parameters, within the permissible maximum limits stipulated for regularisation, it is not clear whether such a property would qualify for regularisation, in the first place. Taking for granted that such a property qualifies for regularisation, it is also necessary to make it clear whether penalty to be paid is per deviation basis or not.  While drafting Bye-laws and notifications for regularisation of illegal constructions etc., ample care should have been taken to avoid any scope for interpretation for understanding the provisions.


  1. Implications in the case of abnormal deviations: (i) According to the Byelaw 8 of KARNATAKA ACT NO. 29 OF 1991, “— All unauthorised constructions which are not regularised under this Act shall be liable for demolition –” According to BBMP, “—there are over 1.54 lakh illegal properties in Bengaluru-” [ Ref. Proptiger website]. The scale of illegal construction is staggering. If there are deviations existing in construction exceeding 50% to that of the approved building plans, in respect of the above parameters, the illegal property can never be regularised.


  1. Regularisation of illegal construction: (a) Under an Akrama Sakrama scheme, the BBMP regularised illegal construction by paying a suitable amount of penalty depending upon the nature of deviation. For instance, if there is a deviation in Setback lines or FAR up to 25% to that of the approved plans, the penalty payable is at 6% of the market value of the construction and in case, the deviation is above 25% and less than 50%, the penalty payable is at 8% of the local market value of construction prevailing at the time of regularisation.


(b) Recently, according to certain press reports, the penalties for regularisation of illegal construction have been revised at the following rates. 5% penalty for deviations in construction up to 10% of the approved plans and 8% penalty for deviations up to the maximum deviations up to 50% to that of the approved plans. The said penalties are applied on the local market value of the property concerned.


(c) In the Model Building Bye-Laws, 2016 formulated by the Town and Country Planning Organisation, Ministry of Urban Development of Government of India, the parameters of deviations though spelt out in conformity with the BBMP Bye-laws, due emphasis has not been laid down as regards adherence of plot coverage parameter.


  1. Other irregularities: The prospective purchaser must be wary to ensure that the following procedures are complied with.


(1)(a) If the land on which the condominium is constructed is an agriculture land or meant for some other purpose, a conversion for use of the site for construction purpose must have been obtained from a competent authority.


(b) It is necessary to ensure that the layout plan must have been approved by the Town and Country Planning. Residential buildings constructed on the unapproved layout are locally called as B-Khata layouts and any construction done in such a layout is illegal.


(c) The site on which the building is constructed must have been free from all encumbrances.


(d) It is also equally necessary to ensure that either the landowner and/or the developer have not taken any mortgage loan from any bank or financial institute against the site or building.


(2)  It is necessary to check whether the project in which you are interested in purchasing a flat, has been fully developed or poised to develop with all the needed infrastructure facilities such as  Rain Water Harvesting, safety and security etc., strictly conforming to the BBMP approval norms. According to the BBMP norms now in force, it is mandatory to install a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), in respect of condominium containing 20 or more flats is mandatory.


  1. Precautions: It is difficult for a lay purchaser to run from pillar to post for ensuring that all is well with a project he or she is interested in. A cautious prospective purchaser shall have to insist for furnishing attested copies of the Final Completion Certificate and Occupancy Certificate issued by the BBMP from the Developer. In respect of ongoing projects, a written assurance from the Developer shall have to be obtained to the effect that he/she would furnish the certificates. The said certificates are the sure recipe for ensuring the genuineness of the construction. ©K. A. N. Talpasai

Author : K. A. N. Talpasai

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