RERA: An Emerging Legal Career

Introduction

The legal profession is a promising career with diverse opportunities to explore. It has always been considered a reputed and honorable profession. This industry has an extensive structure and picking the right branch in the field of law plays a vital role. It is one of the difficult tasks to pick out the right branch and while deciding which legal path to choose one should take into consideration various factors like opportunities, job security, and money, etc. The private sector has also opened its doors for law professionals to work in their various fields. In the present scenario, due to the emerging real estate sector, practicing law in the field of RERA has proved to be a viable option. In other words, in recent times, being a real estate lawyer is considered a more promising and appealing field than corporate or litigation.   With the rise in demand for business real estate and housing properties, comes a lot of legal work, which as a result, calls out in demand for real estate lawyers. Lawyers practicing in the field of RERA in itself provide various opportunities. Like their client varies from individuals investing in a flat to big builders or developers. Moreover, the work of a real estate lawyer is not only limited to title search of a property but also includes drafting the contracts and dispute resolution, etc.  

What is RERA?

Since time immemorial, the real estate sector has played a significant role in fulfilling the demand and need for infrastructure and housing in the country. It is one of the most globally recognized sectors and with time its global outreach is dilating. According to the reports, by 2040, the real estate market is supposed to grow to Rs. 65,000 crores from Rs. 12000 crores in 2020. So, to protect this sector from mischievous activities, the parliament of India enacted The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 to not only protect home buyers and developers but also impose duties on promoters, in addition to this it will help in boosting the investment in the real estate industry. The act made it mandatory for all residential as well as all commercial real estate projects with land over 500 square meters or eight apartments to get them registered with the real estate regulatory authority. Moreover, the act made it compulsory for all states to establish a real estate authority for the regulation of the real estate sector and set up appellate tribunal especially for speedy dispute resolution. The act ensures that the real estate sector is free from any kind of money laundering, so it makes it compulsory for buyers to deposit 70 percent of the money in bank accounts through cheques.   In addition to that, it helps state-level Real estate regulatory authorities to supervise dealings related to both residential and commercial projects and ensure their timely completion and handover. Now with the effect of this act, there is no space for real estate builders to do any mistakes or deceive the customers. Moreover, the act has also led to the formation of a mechanism wherein issues such as project delays, quality of the project, pricing of the property, etc. can be dealt with transparency.

Loopholes in RERA

The main aim of RERA is to bring transparency amongst the real estate transactions, to protect the interests of the consumers, and minimize or eliminate the malpractices done by the developers. But it is rightly said that everything that comes into this world, comes with a fault in itself. So, almost every act in India has some loopholes through which wrongdoers get a way to get away with the act. However, even though the RERA is a well-drafted statue, there are some shortcomings in RERA with the help of which builders and developer’s escape from their responsibilities. 

  • Firstly, there is no provision in RERA to curb illegal construction and projects without legal approval of plans, and neither is there any provision related to plot projects. Even though taking permission from a statutory authority is mandatory for developers, most developers face the daunting task of acquiring approval from various agencies. 
  • One of the most significant drawbacks of RERA is the lack of technological know-how on how to file a grievance, drafting agreements on the sale and purchase of property, and when and how to register a property with the real estate regulatory authority. For example, the real estate law enforcement agency of Karnataka found 1,700 unregistered housing projects within two years of the State implementation of RERA, from which developers in approximately 700 projects did not react to the Authority\’s repeated notices. 
  • Also, concerning the deadline for drafting RERA rules and their compliance with the Centre\’s regulations, the central government has been lenient with the states, so there are some clauses in the RERA draughts of different states that lack clarification that can lead to overlap and duplication of the different stakeholders\’ positions and may lead to conflicting verdicts.

Benefits of hiring a Real estate lawyer

With the creation of the act and new provisions adding, comes more difficulties and problems, and to understand this and go through the whole process one requires a lawyer, as the whole process of filing and registering property, and prosecuting the RERA complaint remains the legal process in the end and requires the application of technological know-how, legal assistance, and experience at every stage. 

  • To avoid misfortunes in handling the process due to lack of knowledge and legal skills, it is essential to seek advice and regular consultation from a specialized professional in the area i.e., a real estate lawyer. 
  • Hiring a lawyer helps the person to view the situation from a legal perspective, identify the right reliefs, and in some cases, set up a mediating neutral zone between the buyer and developer. So, hiring a real estate lawyer at the right time prevents from worsening the situation and falling into any unseen legal traps. 
  • A real estate lawyer specializes in every matter related to property, from transactions to handling disputes between the parties. Therefore, it is crucial to engage lawyers at the consultation stage as one can experience the benefits of seeking professional assistance based on their personal experiences and analysis of the consultation session, only after hiring them. Overall, from due diligence of property to preparing simple conveyance deeds, lawyers are needed in every stage of real estate transaction. So, with a competent real estate lawyer, one can be sure that his/her property rights are protected, and also property transactions are legally sound.
What does a Real estate lawyer do?

A Real estate lawyer is all, one can ask for in cases related to real estate. In other words, a lawyer practicing in the field of RERA not only handles the transactions and disputes but also helps with insurance, drafting contracts, and protects client’s interests. A real estate lawyer is someone whose job is to know the rules and regulations related to real estate transactions. So, a real estate lawyer possesses an in-depth knowledge of various laws, rules, and regulation, and bye laws involved in real estate, as a matter of fact, RERA isn’t the only law used in real estate, transfer of property act, contract act, consumer protection act and also states rules and regulation play a major role in the real estate industry. With such laws in place, a real estate lawyer has to find an amicable resolution of the dispute for the client. The lawyers need to be able to provide end to end services to the potential client.

They help their clients understand contracts,leases, appraisals,inspections,legal documents, and other legal processes involved in acquiring property and perform a lot of contract preparations and read through offers to ensure that the legalese is in the best interests of their clients. A real estate lawyer advises his clients on potential issues cropping up and safeguard them against the same to the best of their abilities. Furthermore, Real estate law covers deeds, property taxes, estate planning, zoning, and titles. So, lawyers who specialize in real estate ensure that proper procedures are followed during the process. A real estate lawyer is equipped to draft and review documents relating to MOUs, purchase and lease agreements, title documents and license agreements, etc. They have to conduct the due diligence of the property and make title search reports and property certificates as per their client’s requirements. 

Moreover, they are responsible for preparing and reviewing all legal documents related to real estate affairs along with negotiating the terms and conditions of the transactions entailing real estate transactions and they ensure that any additions that have been made to a home don’t conflict with local building codes or permit guidelines. All in all, a real estate lawyer does everything, from a property title search to a resolution of a dispute in the real estate sector.

Real estate lawyer or Real estate agent?

It is well said by Mallory that “You and your real estate lawyer are the only people with best interests in mind. Not the agent, the other agent, either broker, the ex-crow officer; NONE. The only advice you will hear from your agent is ‘we have to move fast’ and ‘we have to make a strong offer’.” At first, it may seem like Real estate lawyers and agents have different roles and responsibilities in purchase and sales, but a real estate lawyer is interchangeable with a real estate agent. Real estate lawyers and agents can both offer beneficial services when it comes to an upcoming major property transaction. The role of a real estate agent is to make the complex process of buying a property easier for the buyer. They take care of all the paperwork, purchase contracts, and other necessary documents and also handle property inspections and negotiations and ensure that everything is running smoothly. On the other hand, a real estate lawyer does all the things a real estate agent does, and also, a lawyer can document and review the real estate documents and transactions. Moreover, a real estate lawyer can not only provide legal advice on property disputes but also step in and provide representation and defense in the court. Apart from all of this selling a home using a lawyer instead of an agent can save considerable cash and preserve equity. So, hiring a real estate lawyer may seem like killing two birds with one stone.

Why is RERA an ideal option?

We live in a society where the legal profession is always treated with utmost respect and consideration as a lawyer is the one, who works towards the betterment of society. And as long as there is a society, individuals need lawyers to get rid of their problem, to represent them in the legal proceedings, and to make sure that rule of law is properly implemented, and the lawyers need to perform such services for livelihood and to help make corrections in societal behaviour. So, to make sure that a lawyer chooses the right path, one should analyse all options and consider all factors relating to them. In the present scenario, among all the options like corporate, intellectual property, and litigation, a real estate lawyer outshines the most. As a lucrative and interesting field of career option, real estate gives the opportunity for lawyers to develop their skills and expertise in a varied range of laws. With the changing legislation and regulations, there is quite a bit of variety and excitement in this practice area that lends itself to interesting new challenges on a daily basis. Moreover, it keeps the lawyers on their toes and helps them stay on top of their game.

Real estate is another field of law that is ever-growing. The reason a career in RERA is so recommendable and prevalent is that of its diversity as there is never an end to the number of opportunities in the real estate industry. For example, options for a lawyer practicing in the field of real estate is not only limited to RERA lawyer, but there are also further various options to explore in itself like property dispute lawyer, real estate legal advisor, legal assistant manager in the real estate division, and property advocate. The market of real estate is always on the rise for real estate lawyers, even if the real estate industry is going through a boom or a bust. This practice area is hardly impacted by general business cycles or trends in the economy. Even when the real estate market is down, work for real estate lawyers has steadily increased. In COVID time, when the economy was declining and the interest rates were low, the real estate market tends to prosper; however, the need for legal advice and disputes concerning property hardly seems to slow down. No matter what the real estate industry is going through, there will always be a requirement for a real estate lawyer.

Once Andrew Carnegie rightly said, 90% of millionaires got success by investing in real estate, and to retain the success, they can limitlessly invest. In India, the real estate market is expected to grow by leaps and bounds due to the sheer population of the country. As mentioned earlier, the real estate market is supposed to grow to Rs. 65,000 crores which directly benefits the real estate lawyers. Due to the involvement of such a huge amount in the real estate industry, a commission of a real estate lawyer steadily increases. So, making a career in this field is highly rewarding and there is tremendous scope in becoming a real estate lawyer.

References

http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2532-reasons-why-you-should-seek-professional-assistance-in-rera-complaints.html

https://www.99acres.com/articles/what-missing-in-the-rera-act.html

This article is authored by Vibhor Jain, Student at Government Law College, Mumbai.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of Legally Flawless or its members.

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