Apartment construction delayed for years - looking for refund
The description is a bit lengthy but I want to share every detail so that I get some useful and clear suggestions from you.
I booked a flat 302 in Tirumala Arcade (total flats 40), Hyderabad with builder Mr. Venkataraju (M/s VR Associates) in April 2012. I paid a token advance of 50,000/- on 15-May-2012. On 23-May-2012 we signed a mutual agreement and I paid another 3,00,000/-. The agreement says I paid 3,50,000/- by then.
Agreement states that within 160 days of agreement the builder will arrange for registration of flat and builder will give the possession with in 4-6 months, failing which builder will pay 2% monthly interest for the amount paid till that date.
Since May-2012 there was negligible progress in the construction and when asked the builder asks for money. Builder told me not to approach any nationalized banks for getting loan. He said we should approach only one bank which he will shortlist. Doubting which I delayed the loan process for 1 month. Later the builder and land owner had some disputes and the construction got stopped. I met the builder personally and asked about the status, he promised to complete the construction within 2 months and I paid another 2,00,000/- in 8-Dec-2012 (Total 5.5 Lakhs).
Again there was no progress for another 3 months. So I met the builder in Feb-2013 and told that I want to cancel my agreement and asked to return my money because he failed to meet the deadlines and there is no progress at all. Upon multiple visits he promised to return my money by Oct-2013 but he got absconded after that. He did not pick any calls, he did not respond to the messages. I went to his office several times, there was no board and it was closed. When enquired with neighbours, they told me that he vacated the office. I had no option left but to go and check the apartment progress.
Now after 3+ years, I have seen some work going in the apartment. I tried to contact the builder but he does not pick the calls. I wrote my mobile number on the wall. Next day, he called me and said without his permission I cannot write anything. I said he has absconded for 3+ years and did not pick my calls or present in the office to discuss. He said that he is present in the same office and I should talk to him. I reminded him that as per our discussion 3 years back I wanted to cancel the agreement and he agreed to pay my amount back which he did not.
He asked me to come to his office and meet. I along with another person who booked my opposite flat went to the office but it is closed. He is not picking the calls again. He changes his mobile numbers often and does not pick any calls. Please guide me how to proceed. I tried my best to meet him personally or through phone to discuss. I would like to know what kind of refund I can expect legally when I want to cancel my agreement. There is no clause on cancellation in the agreement, but only on delay of possession. I had put my hard earned money and my father's pension amount into it and we have gone through lot of agony and mental tension when builder was not available for 3 years and even now.
Asked in Property Law from Hyderabad, Telangana
1) issue legal notice to builder to refund your money as he has failed to deliver possession within period stipulated in agreement
2)if builder fails to refund file complaint before consumer forum and seek orders to direct builder to refund Rs 5 lakhs paid by you with interest
3) also seek litigation costs and compensation for mental torture undergone by you
You have to issue him a lawyer's notice to cancel the agreement to demand the refund and if he does not heed it then you may sue him in the consumer forum, but for this you require his address to serve him the notice/summons. So if he is untraceable then firstly file a FIR for cheating against him if you want to keep alive your hopes of recovering your hard earned money.
Since you wish to cancel the booking and seek refund from the builder, my advice to you would be to first and foremost issue a legal notice to both the builder and land owner informing them that you wish to cancel the booking and are seeking for complete refund.
Next, if they do not respond or reply to your notice WITHIN 07 days from the date of receipt, then go ahead and file a consumer complaint seeking the courts help to recover your money along with interest and compensation. In this complaint make both the builder and land owner the O.P No. 1 & 2 respectively.
You can also file an injunction suit before a civil court seeking temporary injunction against the builder and land owner from creating any third party charge or liability over the property including trying to dispose off the property in favour of third parties therein.
Start the process immediately by contacting a good lawyer in Hyderabad.
You have to issue a legal demand notice intimating him that you have cancelled the agreement owing to the inordinate delay and his negligent attitude and ask him to return the booking amount and the amount paid so far.
Failing to respond or not complying with the demand made, you may drag him to consumer forum fo recovery as well as for compensation or can approach civil court for recovery.
You may consult a local advocate who is having expertise in the subject.