Lodha Group is defrauding flat buyers in Carpet Area

10th October, 2017, Mumbai: Lodha Group is a frontrunner of the building industry in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), but it is openly playing a fraud on customers -- so open that it is uploaded on the RERA website! The carpet area of the flats is almost always much less than customers are led to believe, because Lodha appears to be counting even the space occupied by normal finishes such as plaster, bathroom tiles, etc., with which he delivers the flat to you.

Lodha Group forbids you to officially measure the carpet area of your flat. If you raise a dispute regarding carpet area, Lodha threatens to destroy your interior work as a precondition for resolving the dispute by measuring the carpet area! In most Lodha projects, the carpet area mentioned in the agreement are much less than the actual. To prevent this truth from becoming exposed, your registered agreement states that if carpet area is to be measured, the finishes must first be removed at your cost. This means removal of your paint and plaster, skirting, headboards, bathroom wall tiles, and possible damage to flooring also! This toxic clause is found in the "Proforma Allotment Letter and Agreement to Sell" uploaded on RERA website. The clause states:

(Download the proforma agreement file of Lodha Palava, do a text search for the word "measurement" and read this toxic clause for yourself. You will also find it in case of most other Lodha projects, such as Lodha Fiorenza, Eternis and Amara.)

This non-standard definition in Lodha's agreement proforma cannot be accepted by any court of law, because it is at variance with the definition given by Indian Parliament. The correct definition of carpet area, as per the Real Estate Regulation Act 2016, is as follows: 


Please note, Lodha is cleverly declaring that the area covered by finishes i.e. wall plastering, etc. is included in the carpet area calculations. This is fraud. Customers who find that the carpet area of their flat is less than claimed may also seek the help of the Department of Legal Metrology for exactly measuring it.

Your flat transaction is also protected under Section 12 of Legal Metrology Act 2009. Short delivery of any commodity (such as carpet area of flat) is a punishable offense as per Section 30.

You may consider filing a complaint under Consumer Protection Act. However, Lodha has tried to remove this legal option from your armoury by including a fallacious definition of carpet area in your registered agreement. As defined in the Consumer Protection Act,  "defect" means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity or standard which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force under any contract, express or implied or as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods. So it is possible for a consumer forum to rule in favour of Lodha based on this technicality alone.

If you find a shortfall in your flat's carpet area, (or any other defect), promptly file a claim for compensation ("Form B") before the Adjudicating Officer of RERA. Your claim for compensation would rely on Section 14 (3) of Real Estate Regulatory Act, which says, "In case any structural defect or any other defect in workmanship, quality or provision of services or any other obligations of the promoter as per the agreement for sale relating to such development is brought to the notice of the promoter within a period of five years by the allottee from the date of handing over possession, it shall be the duty of the promoter to rectify such defects without further charge, within thirty days, and in the event of promoter's failure to rectify such defects within such time, the aggrieved allottees shall be entitled to receive appropriate compensation in the manner as provided under this Act."

Conclusion:

Lodha staff are trained to methodically mislead customers without leaving evidence. They are trained to avoid putting their claims in writing in any email, SMS or Whatsapp. Claims such as carpet area of the flat you are purchasing, your family's entitlements such as club usage, nature of the land title to be conveyed etc, are only orally mentioned, or given to you as computer printouts on plain sheets of paper, without any employee's name and designation. Then, based on such hearsay information, you are forced to write down their claims, including carpet-area, in an "application form", which has terms and conditions stating that you are legally liable to forfeit your booking amount if you have written anything wrong! This is followed by an allotment letter that cleverly states, "The terms and conditions as stated in the Application Form shall continue to be binding in respect of the allotment of the Residential Flat. The details of the Residential Flat allotted and your address in our records for the purpose of correspondence are as under". Translated into plain English, this means that the carpet area in the allotment letter are as mentioned by you (and not by them), and that having written it down, you are legally bound not to question it!


More details are in this article.

Don't take any of Lodha's claims at face-value. Do not sign anything without consulting a lawyer, and refrain from making even a minor token payment without full application of mind. Please resist their coercion, arm-twisting and mind-control techniques. Otherwise, you will end up losing both your money and your peace of mind.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
Mumbai

Comments

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