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It is more often noticed that the projects are completed and the Occupancy Certificates are issued without the proper inspection neither carried out by the MCGM officials nor taking any pain to verify whether the actual measurement of the constructed flats tally with the final plans submitted and sanctioned.

Even the police generally do not entertain complaints related to the breach of trust and cheating by the Developers and tell the complainants to go to Court though this kind of cheating is a cognisable offence and the police are duty-bound to register an FIR. As for the purchase agreements executed with the Developers, flat buyers have little choice but to sign on the dotted line. However, even one per cent of these agreements are not drafted as per the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) which is otherwise, a mandatory condition for the Developers.

One such case of flat area fraud committed by one of the Developers is narrated here. One of the well known Developers has landed in trouble after a flat owner of one of his own projects lodged an FIR against him. The flat owner has accused the Developer of duping the flat owners by delivering them smaller flats than what was promised. The police have filed the case and are investigating the matter.  

The case has been filed by a flat owner of a luxurious project on Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road. The project was completed a couple of years ago. The flat owner claimed that he represented several other flat owners, who have been fighting against the Developer for the last couple of years. 

The said flat owner complained that not only the size of the flats was smaller, but the height of the ceiling was also lesser than what was promised, among other things. He further added that he was promised amenities such as Club House, Swimming Pool, Squash Court, Spa, Party Hall, Jogging Park, Tennis Court, Amphitheatre, Camping Site, Plaza, Landscaped Garden, Bamboo Garden, Skating Rink, Gazebo and so on. A rosy picture was presented by the Developer at the time of selling the flats but skipped all these amenities later.

The flat owner claimed that as the project neared the completion, he found out that the flats constructed on each floor were much higher in numbers. In place of the camping site and amphitheatre, the Developer constructed one more building under a different name. In all, around 400 more flats were added in these two projects. The flat owners claimed that the Developer has cheated them of crore of rupees by increasing the number of flats by using the illegally acquired surplus buildable area by making the flats smaller than promised.

The flat owners then approached the Metropolitan Magistrate Court which ordered that an FIR be filed against the Developer. Meanwhile, the Developer’s spokesperson reported that this FIR is absolutely weird. All allegations are factually incorrect. He further added that the Developer has fulfilled all the legal obligations. In fact, the complainant has got no relief till date from any of the legal forums that he has approached. The accused Developer is a law-abiding corporate and adheres to the highest principles of corporate governance and ethical business practices and that they are confident of proving the same in any court of law.

The flat owners of luxurious residential projects in Mumbai are required to be vigilant of such Developers who carry out the unauthorized/additional constructions for their hidden financial gains which they are not entitled to. When unauthorized constructions beyond the laws are the statutory norms of such intellectually dishonest Developers, the strict laws of the land have always to be upheld by taking stern actions against them under the laws.