Time for some legal talk

Last Updated 20 March 2014, 15:46 IST

While buying property, checking the legality of documents required for the same can be your best insurance against fraud, suggests Prashanth G N.

Real estate frauds are very common these days with a lot of documents changed or forged to claim ownership of property. Crores are received by middlemen, acting on behalf of real estate agents, to change papers or documentary work. With a site or a house in Bangalore being the most precious requirement of citizens, it is highly likely that desperate citizens may fall for trickery. And most often, consumers wouldn’t know what to do before going in for the purchase of a new residential property.

 Ask for helpIn the light of hidden picture involved in handling and understanding documents and title deeds, it is best for a new buyer to have the services of an advocate from the point of negotiations over property to the end point of purchase.

It will give the consumer great confidence that nothing will go past the advocate’s keen eye for legality. Before paying money for construction to be initiated, consumers must make sure that all documents, including title deeds, are in order and authentic.

The first and most important task for a new buyer is to ensure authenticity of paper work, which is the most crucial aspect of buying property other than the price and location. People should know that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is the nodal agency which provides approval to residential projects across Bangalore.

Consumers should go through a check-list of documents before purchase to ensure that a particular project is as per BBMP approvals and that there is no illegality to the project in any form. Reliability and order of documents is best checked by getting a lawyer to go through all of them. Three points have to be examined while going in for a buy — the BBMP Approval or Disapproval intimation (IOD), Commencement Certificate (CC) and Title Certificate indicating the history of ownership of the property.

There are other important aspects to be considered too. Just before the buy, a draft of the allotment letter of a particular premises and its draft Agreement of Sale should be legally inspected by an advocate who has to make sure that terms and conditions listed are coherent and logical and the claimed date of delivery is fair.

Another requirement consumers have to fulfill is the importance of periodical inspections during the construction of the project. Since the Commencement Certificate (CC) is issued in parts, consumers should monitor the progress of the project and seek a note on the same. In the initial phase, the builder gets a CC only till the plinth level. Later, if the BBMP finds the construction till the plinth level is in line with its approved plans, it issues the next part of the CC.

At each step, BBMP ensures that the construction of the project adheres to rules and regulations outlined for the said project and that construction is legal, which is when the BBMP would offer the CC at the final stage, after being convinced that all works and the construction are legal.

Consumers should inspect the CCs being issued at each stage during the construction of the project. This is the consumer’s right. The builder cannot refuse to offer the note as per law.

Documents in orderThe title verification process should begin even before the actual checking of documents. If a person offers a property at a rate below the going market value, the consumer should take steps to ensure fair rate and alert the builder that the rate should be deemed legal.

All documents should be subject to scrutiny and verification by an expert in order to ensure that the property has a clear and marketable title and whether the property on offer is leasehold or freehold, and whether it is fully or jointly owned.

Next, the title papers must be reviewed. Depending on the nature of the property or proposed transaction, these include the sale deed, lease deed, conveyance, development agreement and the documents establishing ownership.

The idea is to ensure that the consumer will have fair legal rights over the property. Finally, the consumer should take the physical possession of the new property only after the builder procures an Occupancy Certificate (OC), which is also issued by the BBMP certifying that the entire project is legally constructed and is fit to be occupied by residents.

(Published 20 March 2014, 15:46 IST)

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