Relief to homebuyers from coercive EMI repayment

Supreme Court holds PNB Housing Financing AG from pursuing those who had taken out a loan

homebuyer will remind us of the historic ruling by the Karnataka High Court on a written petition challenging home loan foreclosures by a prominent financial institution.

The Karnataka High Court on September 14 issued an injunction from Mandamus stopping PNB Housing Finance Limited from taking coercive action against homebuyers who filed complaints to recover amounts in the loan agreements and tripartite agreements.

The High Court also granted an injunction from Mandamus, who was in charge Reserve Bank of Indianational housing bank, Punjab National Bank Housing Finance Limited and TransUnion CIBIL Limited to process homebuyer claims for a waiver of the CIBIL score and for issuance of a No Due Certificate under the Act within 60 days. It also directed Mantri developer Private Limited to comply with orders issued by the Adjudicating Officer, Real Estate Inspectorate (RERA) within 60 days.

The case

Homebuyers used to book their units with Mantri Developers Private Limited under the Pre-EMI scheme, which is a pre-approved tripartite agreement between homebuyers, property developers and property developers Punjab National Bank Housing Finance Limited (NBHFL). By the time homebuyers, dissatisfied with the speed at which the developer was building the home, attempted to withdraw their bookings, the bank had already disbursed the loan amount directly to the developer, allegedly without ascertaining the stages of construction, despite the RBI ordering such validations beforehand .

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Home buyers had made payments to the developer and when the developer was asked to return the money after termination, the developer did not. They filed complaints with Karnataka RERA under Section 31 of the RERA Act 2016.

The RERA directed the developer to return the money they paid to the developer to homebuyers with 10.25 percent interest. It also directed the developer to settle the loan taken on behalf of homebuyers with all EMIs and interest, if any. The developers failed to comply with orders issued by RERA, and the bank instituted compulsory proceedings to recover the loan from the homebuyers.

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“Homebuyers have no homes, the promoter Mantri Developers has failed to honor RERA orders and the banks have initiated proceedings to recover the home loan. Under the circumstances, the home buyers decided to enlist the help of the High Court of Karnataka and it issued the following order to protect the interests of the home buyers,” said Dhananjaya Padmanabhachar, Sanchalak, Karnataka Home Buyers Forum.

It takes high court to wake up K-RERA and do its job?

The HC also said that after hearing the matter, the Authority is expected to issue orders within a reasonable time. “If the agency sleeps on it after hearing the matter, the purpose and aim of the law would be defeated. It is therefore an appropriate case if the authority is to be instructed to issue appropriate orders on the petitioner’s complaint within a period of four weeks,” the HC said.

He said when the 2016 RERA law was implemented in Karnataka in 2017, homebuyers were under the impression that RERA will help homebuyers get justice. “But the basic reality is homebuyers need to go to court to issue RERA orders to be implemented. Why RERA is unable to implement their own orders, although the law has excellent provisions to impose a five percent penalty, the detention under various sections of the RERA order is not implemented,” he added.

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A relief for home buyers

Mudit Saxena, who booked an apartment with Mantri Webcity, said: “I welcome the High Court’s order. Many homebuyers have suffered over the years. Now Mantri Developers, who received the money from Punjab National Bank without completing the construction of housing, must return the money.”

Welcoming the order, Mohan C. Pullaiah, one of the homebuyers, said, “I started paying EMIs in 2014 and finished by October 2020. But the construction of the 21-story apartment complex has not progressed further than the first floor,” he said.

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