SC tells Unitech to pay interest to flat buyers

Unitech's Vista project

New Delhi, Feb 20 : The Supreme Court on Monday asked real estate major Unitech to pay interest to 39 flat buyers who chose to withdraw after the builder’s failure to deliver flats as promised.

The matter concerns the owners who booked flats in Unitech’s Vistas project in Gurugram in Haryana.

Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagouder gave the builder eight weeks to deposit the interest at the rate of 14 per cent to the top court’s registry.

The interest would be calculated from January 1, 2010 till Unitech deposited the principal amount.

The court said 90 per cent of the interest amount that would be deposited with its registry, would be disbursed to the 39 buyers.

Unitech will measure the quantum of interest to be paid to each purchaser and after the interest amount is calculated, the registry will disburse 90 per cent of the amount as directed, the court ordered.

Having directed Unitech to deposit interest component at the rate of 14 per cent, the court said that all the questions including rate of interest and the compensation are kept open for hearing on April 24, 2017.

Appearing for the company, senior counsel P. Chidambaram said that the flat buyers, who have opted out, can’t have the double benefit of compensation and interest on the amount that they have paid to buy the flat.

Chidambaram said that as flats were not allocated to the flat buyers, all that they have suffered is the rent that they have paid during their stay in the house. Alternately if they had got the possession of flat, they would’ve saved rent by moving in or earned money by renting it out.

In these scenarios, either they be paid compensation or interest on the amount that they have paid for purchasing the flat, which they are now opting out of. He questioned the 39 flat buyers asking for the interest on their money and the compensation as well.

On the rate of interest, Chidambram urged the court not to fix it at 14 per cent as Unitec had promised 10 per cent interest rate which was enhanced to 12 per cent by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).

The counsel for the flat owners countered this saying that NCDRC had fixed interest rate at 12 per cent in view of the revised date of possession and the situation has changed altogether, as the flat buyers are now withdrawing from the project.

The court was told that the flats that were promised to them are now being marketed at double the price.

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