They got their dream homes, but not khatas
BBMP witholds title deeds of 984 owners as builder defaults on betterment fee
As many as 984 people have realised the hard way that buying a house in and around Bangalore might not be the fulfillment of a dream after all. They bought apartments from Sobha Developers (Sobha Ruby) in Peenya Industrial Area on Tumkur Road only to realise they won’t get their khatas at all.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Subhash Shetty, one of the property owners, said: “We have been fighting for khatas from the time we got possession of our houses/flats, but in vain. And now, we find it is because the developer has not paid certain charges to the authorities.”
Documents with Deccan Herald show Sobha Developers has constructed and sold apartments on an area measuring 8,33,794.33 square feet on survey numbers 18/5, 18/6, 23, 68, 69/2, 70 and 5/3, but failed to pay betterment/improvement charges to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Sources in the BBMP said the developers owe the Palike around Rs 4.26 crore (Rs 4,26,19,599) and that they have failed to pay the amount despite a notice issued to them in December 2012.
“After having calculated the estimates, we (Palike) had fixed a charge. And because the developer failed to pay the said amount, we issued a notice in December last asking them to pay the money. They have still not paid it,” the source said.
Following this, the Palike has issued a notice dated February 28, setting an eight-day deadline after the notice is received by the developer to pay the money. The notice, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, reads: “After having decided on the charges, we had registered the khatas for the said property on June 26, 2008. However, since the charges were not paid, we have not issued the khatas.”
The notice further states that the khatas will be cancelled if the developer does not pay the charges at the end of the eight-day deadline.
As the developer dilly-dallies with the payment of improvement/betterment charges, apartment owners have been fighting a losing battle with the Palike.
Subhash, who had personally applied for the khata of his house/apartment, has got an endorsement from the Palike stating his application cannot be processed.
The letter clearly states: “...There has been no payment of improvement charges from Sobha Developers despite two notices being served upon them. And thereby, we cannot process your applications for khatas till the dues are cleared by the developer.”
On inquiring with Sobha Developers, a senior officer who did not want to be named claimed: “The Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) has taken the matter to the Karnataka High Court. So, we will not be doing anything about it now.”
He said the sanctions for the project were obtained from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and that they had also paid the BDA certain development fee.
“Now that the jurisdiction is BBMP’s, they are asking us to pay improvement charges. And given that this problem is not unique to Sobha, Credai has taken the matter to court,” he said.
On whether the builder is ready to pay the dues in case the High Court rules against them, he said: “No, in that case, the customers have to pay it, as we have an agreement with them that states they are liable for any statutory fees once the property is handed over to them.”
Shetty, however, argues that the property was handed over to them in 2010-11 and that by then the jurisdiction was already BBMP’s. “Going by the rules, the developer has to pay the dues,” he said.