HomePress ReleaseDNA: Get house-hunting websites to register with housing tribunal: Consumer body

DNA: Get house-hunting websites to register with housing tribunal: Consumer body

State housing watchdog MahaRERA has issued notices to four real estate web portals that list properties for sale, asking them to explain why they haven’t registered themselves with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority. Websites housing.com, 99acres.com, magicbricks.com and makaan.com, which also list properties for rent and have mobile apps, received the notices.

The suo moto action by the authority came after leading consumer body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat complained to MahaRERA, asking that real estate web portals register themselves with the authority. They reasoned that the realty portals introduce homebuyers to flats, which many of them end up purchasing.

The case was heard on Tuesday by Dr Vijay Satbir Singh and B D Kapadnis. MahaRERA secretary Vasant Prabhu said that representatives of the web portal sought a copy of the complaint filed with the housing regulator, and stated that they would reply to the authority.

The notice sent to the web portals by the MahaRERA secretary reads, ‘The web portals have to be present during the hearing, with an explanation on why they haven’t registered themselves with MahaRERA. If they have registered, then they need to inform the authority of their registration numbers.’

The web portals have sought time to reply to the notice. The next hearing in the matter is on August 29.

Advocate Shirish Deshpande, chairman of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, said that as per sections of the RERA Act, a ‘real estate agent’ means any person who negotiates or acts on behalf of another in a transaction of transfer of his plot, apartment or building in a real estate project, and receives remuneration or fees or any other charges for his services as commission. This includes anybody — property dealers, brokers or middlemen — who introduces, through any medium, prospective buyers and sellers to each other for negotiation for sale or purchase of plot, apartment or building.

Deshpande has based his complaint to MahaRERA on the last part of the definition which specifically includes ‘a person who introduces, through any medium, prospective buyers and sellers to each other for negotiation for sale or purchase of plot, apartment or building’. “The term ‘any medium’ used in this definition certainly includes real estate web portals,” he said.

REALTY MATTERS

  • Consumer body says portals that introduce realty sellers with buyers are, by legal definition, real estate agents
  • Portals housing.com, 99acres.com, magicbricks.com and makaan.com received notices from MahaRERA.