There are certain statutory as well as contractual obligations on a builder. If a builder does not give the notice, as required by law or under a contract, he cannot raise a defence about limitation.
Collin and Cheryl Paes had booked a villa at Navelim (Goa) in a complex known as D’Silva Residency to be developed by Homemakers.
According to the sale deed (dated 13 October 2008), a total amount of Rs40 lakh had to be paid for the construction and sale of the villa ad measuring 210sq metres, along with proportionate undivided right on the land.
The agreement stipulated that the purchaser would have to take possession within 30 days of the builder giving a written intimation that the villa was ready for occupation.
The builder kept extending the date of possession and also increased the price. Finally, when he failed to hand over possession of the villa by 31 January 2014, the Paes couple had a legal notice issued to the builder. As this too failed to evoke any response, the couple filed a complaint before the Goa State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The Commission noted that there was a dispute in respect of the agreed cost of the villa. When the written agreement mentioned the price of Rs40 lakh, no oral evidence could lead the builder to claim that the agreed price was higher, as it would be against the provisions of the Evidence Act. The Commission, accordingly, held the builder liable to pay interest on Rs63,11,870 at 14.5% from the date of the complaint up to date of payment, along with compensation of Rs25,000 for mental trauma and litigation costs of Rs5,000.