Alok Mishra Kumar booked a 2 BHK flat in an upcoming residential project in Gurugram. Without taking an Occupation Certificate (OC), Alok took possession of his flat. Not aware of its consequences, Alok immediately shifted into the flat because paying the EMIs and rentals was causing a huge burden on her monthly income. After 6 months, his residential complex was declared unauthorized and an eviction notice was issued by the local authorities. Alok's story isn't unique. Similar cases can be found in other cities. There are many homebuyers today who are unaware of the importance of an OC and they take possession of their flats without asking for OC.
Occupation Certificate (OC) is one of the most important documents for those buying flats, before taking possession of their flat. It secures the legal status of the property or the residential unit. The absence of a valid Occupation Certificate (OC), means that the respective building may not have been constructed as per the approved building plans, and the local bodies can take strict action against the unauthorised structure. Also, to sanction home loans, most of the banks demand an OC. In case, if you do not possess a valid OC, it may be very difficult to find a buyer in case if you want to sell your property in the future. Therefore, the Occupation Certificate (OC) of the project must be taken from the builder before receiving the possession.
What should homebuyers do if developer doesn't give OC?
In case your developer refuses to or delays the OC, you must take serious steps against them. Here are some steps you can take:
Issue a legal notice:
The buyer should not accept the possession letter of the property and should request the builder to give OC, and only then accept possession. However, in case the builder still refuses to give Occupancy certificate and offering possession without giving the OC, then as per RERA guidelines, buyers of properties without receiving the OC can exercise their legal rights and drag the builder to court.
File a RERA complaint:
If the developer doesn’t give OC, a homebuyer must report to the RERA authorities. As per the RERA guidelines, a homebuyer can also ask for compensation from the builder the delay in getting the OC if a registered sale deed has not been executed in their favour.
Claim compensation in the consumer court:
In case, if the builder refrains to provide OC, a homebuyer can also send a legal notice to the builder. In case, the registration of the property is done, then a homebuyer can approach consumer forum and issue a show-cause notice to the builder to apply and handover OC, within one month from the date of issue of show-cause notice. If the builder does not respond, a homebuyer can file a complaint in the consumer forum and request the consumer forum to issue directions to the builder to provide the above certificates.
A homebuyer can also file a right to information (RTI) to the concerned department asking why the OC has not been issued for your property/project.