Acting on Centre’s advisory asking real-estate regulators in states and union territories to extend by at least six months the deadline for completion of projects in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, both Maharashtra RERA and Gujarat RERA authorities have extended by six months the completion deadlines for real estate projects in their respective states.
The deadline for RERA projects that were registered or were to be completed by or on March 25 should be extended, the Centre’s advisory issued to states last week had said, giving relief to the stressed sector.
The advisory came a few hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told media that the deadline would be extended in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, be treated as an “act of God” and a “force majeure” event under the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act, the housing and urban affair ministry said in the advisory issued on May 13.
On May 18, MahaRERA decided to extend the validity for registration by another three months.
In April, MahaRERA had extended the period of validity for registration of all registered projects where completion date, revised completion date or extended completion date expires on or after March 15, 2020 by three months.
“MahaRERA vide Order No. 13/2020 has already revised project validity by three months. The said validity is extended by a further period of 3 months suo-motu. MahaRERA shall accordingly issue project registration certificates, with revised timelines for such projects, at the earliest. The aforesaid extension will be in addition to the extension already granted or that may be granted to a project under the first proviso to Section 6 of the Act,” the MahaRERA order said.
In its advisory to the state RERA authorities last week, the Centre had said that the regulators could extend by another three months the date of completion, if needed. They can also issue fresh “project registration certificates” with a revised timeline at the earliest.
The MahaRERA order issued on May 18 states that for further extension “beyond the aforesaid 6 months, for adversely affected projects, concerned promoters will have to apply in accordance with provisions of Section 6. MahaRERA may at its discretion waive the fee for such extension due to force majeure in accordance with rule 7 of Maharashtra Real Estate Registration Rules, 2017.”
The Force Majeure period will be treated as a “moratorium period” for the purpose of calculating interest under section 12, 18 19(4) and 19(7) of the Act, the MahaRERA order said.
It noted that the work of registration of sale documents has been adversely affected due to non-functioning of the offices of the sub-registrar. Therefore, any registration of agreement for sale, which becomes due during the force majeure period under Section 13 of the Act, can be registered in a period extending till the expiry of force majeure period, the order signed by the secretary MahaRERA said.
“The dates of possession mentioned in already registered agreements for sale, shall be deemed to be extended by the Force Majeure period,” it said.
Due to non-functioning of the concerned offices, the work of transfer of title and conveyance has been adversely affected. Therefore, any compliance under Section 17 that becomes due during the Force Majeure period is allowed to be completed in a period extending till the expiry of the force majeure period, the MahaRERA order said.
Gujarat Real Estate Regulatory Authority has also extended by six months the completion deadline for real estate projects in the state.
“The completion date or extended completion date is hereby automatically (without application) extended by 6 months due to outbreak of COVID-19 (Corona Virus), which is a calamity caused by nature and is adversely affecting regular development of real estate projects, by invoking force majeure clause,” the Gujarat order said.
Promoters of these projects will be able to download Fresh ‘Project Registration Certificates’ with extended project completion date from their log-in on GujRERA PORTAL and the same will also be available in Public view section of registered project on GujRERA PORTAL in due course of time, it said.
According to the order, the cut-off date for the relief announced on April 13 now has been revised from March 31, 2021 to September 30, 2021.
The order noted that the extension will also be applied to all buyer-seller agreements entered into prior to March 25, 2020 for which the project completion date is on or after March 25.
“This general order on extension will also apply to all buyer-seller agreements (AFS) entered into prior to 25th March, 2020 for which the project completion date is on or after 25th March, 2020. Only for such agreements, the agreed possession date would be understood to be extended by six months. Promoter shall extend similar extension in payment due date to Allottee, when requested for, where these due dates are between 25th March, 2020 and 30th September, 2020,” the Gujarat RERA order said.
Last week, the Rajasthan Real Estate Regulatory Authority became the first authority to have issued the order extending by a year the deadline of projects registered before March 19, 2020, waiving off the fee for the extended period.
However, the fee prescribed by RERA on August 16, 2019, will have to be paid, the order had said.
RERA was brought in to regulate the real sector in 2017, with states allowed to draw up their own rules under a broad framework laid out by the Centre.