At the time of buying a property, exercise of legal due diligence is essential to avoid getting entangled in legal issues later. Mentioned below are some of the precautions which you must take before signing on the dotted line.
1. The title of the property forms the foundation of proprietary rights. According to the Indian Contract Act, no seller can pass on to the purchaser a better title than what he already possesses. Therefore, the title of the seller must be clear and free from any encumbrance. Before you buy a property, verify the title of the seller and also the antecedent chain of ownership. A search of the records at the sub-registrar’s office may be carried out for documents that may affect the property and may have been registered .The report will show the recorded owner of title of the property and changes in the title of the property. If the land is an agriculture land than Jamabandi and Mutation records (Khata) of that land should be inspected.
Khata is basically a supporting document of title. It is the entry of the present owner in the municipal records. The absence of khata in the name of a current owner can be rectified at any time by applying for khata transfer. Khata has become important because it is required for loans, title opinions, electricity meter name change, registration, etc. Khata is changed after a sale deed is executed or after a property is inherited through a will, gift, partition, etc. 'A' khatha is issued if the building is constructed in accordance with the plans. 'B' khatha is not as good as 'A' khatha as not only does it fetch a lower value on resale, the banks also hesitate in accepting 'B' khatha property for the loan facility. So buying property with 'B' khatha should be avoided.
2. If the sale documents are being executed by a person holding power of attorney on behalf of the owner, the said power of attorney should be scrutinized closely. The person must not only possess the legal power to sell property, the power of attorney should also be validly executed before the appropriate authority. An agreement holder (as explained above) who also has a power of attorney to sell the land and/or building is normally a developer. Alternatively, a person may have paid the entire consideration to the owner and holds on to the property for some time to sell it at a later date for a profit. The sale will be effected by the power of attorney holder on behalf of the owner. Such power of attorney must be properly stamped and registered.
3. Always inspect the original documents of the seller and read all the documents carefully before signing them.
4. If the building is under construction, then inspect the plans threadbare to check whether they have been sanctioned by the concerned authority.
5. Always verify documents of title to check payment of stamp duty. If the ownership of property has changed hands more than once, examine all the documents for payment of stamp duty by the predecessors.
6. If the property is owned by a minor, prior approval of the court is required to enable the minor’s father/natural guardian to sell the property. In the absence of such permission, the sale could be voidable at the option of the minor on attaining majority.
7. If the flat that is being purchased is in a building built on a land which is given on lease, lease rent would have to be paid for the land by the flat owners. If the lease is to expire shortly, it is possible that the lease rent may increase substantially. Hence, the terms of the lease must be verified before buying the flat.
8. Occupation certificate should be inspected to ensure that the building has been built legally, especially in case of new buildings.
9. You can verify the carpet area by taking actual measurement of the property if the same is ready.
10. It is advisable to obtain a no dues certificate and no encumbrance certificate from the society (if the property is in the society) to ensure that all dues are paid and no mortgage is registered with the society in respect of the property being purchased.
Since you are unsure of deviations, if any, it is not advisable to purchase this property unless the legal due diligence as mentioned above is carried out.