Tenants harassed by builders can approach the consumer forum


Builders always lookout out for ways to sell their new flats to buyers, but exhibit irresponsibility when it all comes down to providing accommodation to the existing tenants. In a recent case in Gujarat, a tenant had to undergo similar harassment and was forced to lodge a consumer complaint for deficiency in service against the builder.

Jagdishbhai reportedly rented a tailoring shop on Moon House. However, the whole building was proposed to be demolished to construct a commercial property as the landlord had sold the property to Subhash Realtors. In the new construction, Jagdishbhai was supposed to be given shop no. 1, measuring approximately 26.29 sq. meters. Under the signed agreement, the builder also promised to bear expenses of registration of the sale deed. The shop was proposed to be given possession within a month and in case of any delay, the builder was entitled to pay a sum of INR 10,000 per month.

However, the builder failed to give possession of the shop within the stipulated time and instead offered an alternative on the rear side of the commercial complex. Since, Jagdishbhai would not accept the offer; he filed a complaint in the district forum to direct the builder to hand over the proposed shop as well as INR 10,000 per month for the delay. But, the builder argued that Jagdishbhai was not a consumer. Since it was a land-lord tenant dispute, the lodged complaint was not valid before the forum.


Overruling these objections, the district forum directed the builder to hand over the shop and at the same execute the sale deed. Also, the builder would be liable to pay a sum of INR 10,000 if it fails to execute the action within 30 days.

As Jagdishbhai wanted an increase in the compensation and the builder looking out for a way to set aside the order, both the parties appealed to the Gujarat state commission. Since Jagdishbhai was not a consumer, the commission ruled in favor of the builder.

Pointing out that the earlier landlord-tenant relationship ceased to exist with the execution of the agreement on ownership basis, Jagdishbhai filed for revision of the order before the national commission. Holding that Jagdishbhai was a consumer, the commission supported the revision and directed the builder to either give possession of the shop or allot another at a prominent place of the complex. Not only that, the builder was also directed to pay INR 15 lakh along within a compensation of INR 2 lakh as for harassment.