Friday, 9 March 2018

What is the Size of Flat, You are Living in Patna….

Builders in Patna are used to quote the price of the apartment in terms of super built-up area, without clarifying how the super built-up area of a particular flat in Patna is calculated. Majority of builders in Patna randomly load 20-35% of net usable area of the apartment to arrive at super built-up area.

The reason to charge on super built-up area, as interpreted by builders in Patna, was to cover the cost of construction of all common areas such as passages, staircases, lift shafts, lobbies and covered car parking areas.

More surprising was that even civic authorities in Patna, instead of discouraging the wrongdoings by builders in Patna, supported the illogical move, as they could get higher property tax, considering super built-up area of the apartment for tax assessment. In Bihar government authorities made it mandatory to mention the super built-up area in the sale deed of apartment, in order to earn higher stamp duty and registration charges.

Thanks to the recently introduced RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development) Act,  in Bihar (has to be implemented all over country) which has made it mandatory for builders in Patna  to disclose the carpet area of each apartment and sale price to be quoted based on carpet area.

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Once it comes to buying an apartment in Patna, there has been lot of confusion on the actual area of the apartment, as it is calculated in three different ways, namely Carpet Area, Built-up Area and Super Built-up Area. Let us understand what it means.

Carpet Area’, as the name suggests, is the space where one can spread a carpet i.e., the net usable floor area in the flat.

‘Built-up Area’ is the carpet area plus the areas covered by inside and outside walls, balconies and verandahs attached to the unit for exclusive use.

‘Super Built-up Area’ is the built-up area as above plus proportionate share of common areas such as reception, lobbies, staircases, lift shafts etc.

The new regulator, RERA has slightly tweaked the definition of ‘carpet area’ as ‘the net usable floor area of an apartment, excluding the area covered by the external walls, areas under services shafts, exclusive balcony or verandah area and exclusive open terrace area, but includes the area covered by the internal partition walls of the apartment’.

It is very easy and convenient to measure net usable area of a particular apartment, areas of inner walls, external walls and all common areas, as floor plan drawings are drawn on CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. Thus calculations of carpet area, built-up area and super built-up area can be easily understood by the home buyer in Patna.

Since the ongoing projects are also regulated under RERA, the builder in Patna, who had earlier offered sale price on super built-up area of a particular apartment, is now obligated to offer sale price based on carpet area.

For a 2-BHK apartment, during March 2017, a builder had claimed the super built-up area of the flat as 1,300 sq. ft. and at the rate of Rs. 3,800 per sq. ft., and total basic cost quoted was Rs. 49,40,000.

Now, under the guidelines of RERA, the carpet area of the same unit is found to be 948 sq. ft. and super built-up area is found to be 1,221 sq. ft. The loading (the area added to carpet area on actual measurement of external walls, balconies and proportionate areas of common areas such as lobbies, staircase etc.), works out to 28.8% (28.8% of 948 sq. ft. = 273 sq. ft.) of carpet area.

For the same apartment, at the same price of Rs. 3,800 sq. ft. (super built-up area), the total cost works out to Rs. 46,39,800. Thus the builder was deceiving the purchaser of Rs. 3 lakh, by inflating the super built-up area by 79 sq. ft. (which was not existing), before the RERA era.

In this case, the purchaser who booked the apartment before RERA, not only lost Rs. 300,000 extra, he had to shell out higher VAT and Service Tax (amounting to Rs.13,000 apx.), stamp duty and registration costs towards super built-up area of 79 sq. ft. (non-existent), amounting to Rs. 20,000 apx.

Purchaser’s losses did not end there, as on non-existent 79 sq. ft. of area, he has to go on paying property taxes throughout the life of the building.

The illustration shows how RERA is able to bring transparency in real estate dealings and safeguard the interests of consumers. Now; home buyers in Patna will not be forced to shell out for non-existent 79 sq ft. as shown in the case above. Therefore till now most of the flat owners in Patna do not actually know how big is the flat they are living in???

If you have faced this kind of injustice, you can approach RERA for speedy redress of disputes/complaints. You need to complain to the Adjudicating Officer at the office of Bihar RERA who is expected to dispose of your complaint within 60 days of appeal.