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Centre to urge states regulators to invoke force majeure clause to comfort builders and homebuyers

JULY 24, 2020

NEW DELHI: The Centre will soon issue an advisory to all state governments and real estate regulators (RERAs) to invoke the “force majeure” provision due to the COVID pandemic. This would bring major relief to builders as they would get extension of timelines for project completion, exemption from paying penalties to state agencies for the impacted period.
“We shall consider their demand for invoking ‘force majeure’ clause under RERA and will soon announce measures to save the interest of home buyers and protect the sector from adverse impact,” Union housing minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted after an emergency meeting of the Central Advisory Council set up under the RERA law.

Some of the RERA chief told TOI that homebuyers will get relief as they won’t have to pay any penalty for delayed payments to builders, which was due during the impacted period. The entire period will be treated as “zero period”. Moreover, regulators won't impose any penalty for not meeting the timelines for projects impacted due to the pandemic.

RERA chief of Gurugram bench in Haryana, K K Khandelwal said, “The provision to invoke force majeure is already there in the law. The clause can be invoked in case of war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake or any other calamity affecting regular development a project. COVID is an unavoidable crisis and the Centre has invoked Disaster Management Act to deal with this.”

The real estate regulation law has this provision to give the promoter additional time to complete a project. The developers submit the details of completion timeline while applying for registration with the regulators.

“While each regulator is already empowered to take the decision and give relaxations, a Central government advisory detailing measures will bring uniformity and there will no room for subjective interpretation,” said an official.

The spread of coronavirus has forced to put several restrictions and there has been hardly any construction activity at project sites.

Source : Times of India.