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‘ Work on 95% Projects will Come to a Stop’

Nine months since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an interim order to stop use of underground water for construction in Noida and Greater Noida, it has taken cognizance of the violation of its orders against 12 developers. Sources reveal that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that if the Tribunal’s orders are properly implemented, work on more than 95% projects will come to a halt.

Dewatering a must for basements:
Many architects are of the opinion that the Tribunal’s order to stop groundwater extraction during construction is inconsistent with the construction plan approved by the development authorities. No basement, especially in projects close to river beds, can be constructed without dewatering the foundation.

“If you are building a 20-storey structure, you have to dig at least four metres under the ground for a basement. If you go higher, you need to dig deeper. How can a developer construct an apartment in projects close to the riverbed without dewatering the foundation,” asks AK Jain, a well-known architect and developer who has recently launched a luxury project, The Jewels of Noida, in Sector 75.

Pile foundation is an expensive alternative:
On there being a viable alternative to dewatering for basements, Jain says pile foundation is the only technique in civil engineering which can work, but the drawback is the high cost involved. “If a developer utilizes this pile foundation technique for a high-rise, he will not need to dewater the foundation. The problem, however, is that the cost of laying the piles is one-and-a-half times more than the cost for basement construction. So the total cost of the project will go up and buyers will not be able to afford it,” says Jain.

It is also suggested that since raft and pile foundations (and sometimes a combination of both) decrease the possibility of water extraction, this should be made mandatory in areas where the water table is quite high. As far as the requirement of parking in buildings is concerned, it should be provided in the upper floors of the apartment.

Says Pradeep Kharbanda, an architect and town planner, “In India any one can misuse natural resources in the name of development to earn high profits. Why do we need to go for basements and why can’t we make provisions for multi-storey parking by building one or two towers (blocks) in project/townships which will take care of all the residents’ parking requirements? Unfortunately, developers will not like this as it will reduce the salable area.”

“Some environmentally-conscious builders are taking precautions and are working towards logically dewatering through their own efforts,” says Kharbanda.

Amend Construction Plans:

  • Many civil engineering experts hold the development authorities responsible for the violation of the NGT order. “First of all, the approval of building plans for any area should be assessed on the basis of its water table.
  • “No project should be approved in areas where construction permits interfere with the water table. The development authorities should keep this in mind while giving approvals to any project in future,” says a senior professor of civil engineering from IIT, Delhi.

He adds, “Now when a lot of projects have already been approved and are under construction, the development authorities should take up each project and assess whether they can be constructed in compliance with the NGT’s order.”

Inadequate water supply from STP:
Another challenge in the implementation of the NGT order is the lack of adequate water supply from sewage treatment plants (STP) for construction. In its order delivered in January, 2013, the NGT prohibited developers to use underground water for construction purposes.

Though the concerned authorities claim to have enough STP water to fulfill every need, the developers dismiss it. “Most of the sewage treatment plants are defunct in Noida and Greater Noida. Those which are functional are unable to meet the huge water demand, so everyone is facing a difficult situation,” says Jain.

Many developers, who do not want to be named, admit that due to constant pressure by home-buyers to deliver projects on time, they cannot help but violate these norms.

“Authorities are unable to present the correct picture to the Tribunal. The industry is already under pressure due to several new developments. We are also accountable to home-buyers to deliver the project on time. The delay in delivery will invite penalty. Even if I get my building plan amended and adopt the combination of raft and piles foundation practice, how will I construct a building if I don’t get enough water supply from STPs,” asks a real estate developer.

International norms are against Dewatering:
Is dewatering for construction a common practice in other countries too? Experts say no. According to Rajesh Gulati, an NRI architect and one of the partners in DDG, an internationally renowned planning, architecture and design firm based in the US, developers should look for more innovative solutions instead of choosing the easiest way out – which is more often than not likely to be harmful for the environment.

“We have designed mixed- use projects across the globe, which are close to the ocean front/riverbeds with high water table. Building any basements in such spots is virtually impossible and definitely not practical. Diverse projects such as supermarkets, hotels, apartment towers and office buildings have been successfully accommodated in the same structure without resorting to a ‘dug-out basement’ concept,” says Gulati.

It is very common in the West to have an integrated approach to mixed-use planning. Typically, a structure incorporating parking entry ramps, lobbies of residential buildings/offices/hotels are all planned at the ground level. This practice is complex but highly successful and cost-effective, he adds.

Building experts say that there are quite a few places where height restrictions are in place, which necessitate underground construction. However, it is done with a lot of caution. “Authorities in some countries know that the cost to dewater and waterproof the basement is very high. The retaining walls too need to be designed to take water pressure from surrounding areas,” says an IIT Delhi professor from the civil engineering department.

For example, within the federal triangle area in Washington DC, no building can be higher than the Capitol Dome. Therefore, most builders have to pursue basement construction for parking. Also, there are areas close to airports where the height of buildings is restricted.

Source: Hindustan Times (Estates), September 2013
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Rent Agreement of Co-owners

Some terms that must be clear when co-owners rent out their property.

A property may be bought by two or more people jointly. More than one person may pool in funds to purchase a property. Such owners are known as co-owners.

If a property is owned by more than one person, it is called joint ownership. Under the Transfer of Property Act, a co-owner has a proprietary right to the entire property. So, any transaction needs to be with the consent of all the co-owners, unless specifically mentioned to the contrary in the agreement.

Joint ownership is a mode of ownership of a property where it is held by more than one person. All the owners have title to the property and have the right to use it without prejudicing the corresponding rights of the other co-owners.

The shares or rights of one co-owner over the property can be sold individually and separately, subject to mutual agreement.

A property owned by co-owners may be kept for their own use, meant to be disposed off later, or bought for renting out.

In case the property is rented out, the co-owners will be able to use the rental income.

All the co-owners enter into an agreement among themselves. It specifies their respective ownership shares. It specifies how much each of the co-owners is entitled to-from the regular income of the property as well as in case of its sale. This is also required from a tax perspective-in order to claim a deduction on interest.

There are certain peculiar issues that need to be taken care of while renting out such a property.

These are in addition to the usual clauses required for a lease agreement.

Some factors to be specified:
Authorized representative: First and foremost, who will be representing the co-owners has to be specified. The tenant cannot deal with all the co-owners individually. Normally, co-owners give a power of attorney to one among themselves, and he undertakes all the transactions related to the lease. He may be authorized to negotiate the terms, finalize the deal, and sign the lease agreement.

Payment of Rent:

  • In whose favour the rent is to be paid should be specified. It may be paid in the name of one of the co-owners or in case of a partnership firm, in the name of the firm. Again, it would not be practicable for the tenant to pay separately to all the co-owners individually.
  • Maintenance of building: Similarly, who will maintain the premises should be clear. There may be a need for repairs and maintenance of the premises regularly. Municipal tax also needs to be paid.

Power of Attorney:

  • Normally, the co-owners may give a general power of attorney to one among themselves and authorize him to rent out the property. He may be further authorized to receive all the payments. Further, he may also be authorized to meet expenditures related to maintenance and repairs of the property.
  • At regular intervals the co-owners can evaluate the net amount received as rent from the property.
  • The rent is shared by them, usually in the ratio of the amount of capital contributed by each of the co-owner.
  • Clarity for tenant: From the perspective of the tenant, it is important to know who exactly he has to deal with. He cannot run around contacting the numerous co-owners of the property. He needs to deal with only one or two people.

In addition, in case there is any change in the co-ownership or their inter se agreement, which has an impact on the tenant’s rights, it should be immediately informed to the tenant. Any acts by the tenant, without knowledge of change in agreement among the co-owners, may not be legally binding on him at a later date.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Vintage look for Spaces

Designers and homemakers are drawing inspiration from older styles to create show-stopping interiors.

The concept of design has changed dramatically. It no longer features a gaudy, in your-face style, obedient to the latest trend that ends up looking dated a few seasons later. Homeowners are no longer afraid to express their personal style and this has resulted in some amazing reincarnations of design ideas and concepts, many of which are comebacks from the past.

Furniture First:
Be it the living room, bedroom or study, it’s all about highlighting certain key pieces of furniture to centre the room and give it character. Nowadays, furniture-making has been elevated to an art form and is no longer looked upon as a simple exercise in carpentry. Furniture transcends mere functionality today. A chair isn’t merely an object you sit on but an intricate piece of your home that can set the mood, reflecting identity, emotions and lifestyle.

Four-poster:
The craze for an old fashioned four-poster bed, vintage dressing table or a pair of armchairs is back. Homemakers love the old-world charm and detailing of a four-poster bed that make a dramatic style statement, helping it create a visual centre in a room.

Dresser:
Another piece quickly gaining popularity is the old-fashioned dresser. A striking vanity or dressing table can be the style statement in any bedroom. Whether it is custom-built cabin entry or a small table in a nook that becomes a dressing area, there are plenty of attractive design options to choose from. Decorate your dresser with romantic overtones in the form of framed pictures, flowers or a box filled with personal effects.

Sofa:
Before you toss out an outdated, worn-out sofa or an old-fashioned writing desk in an attempt to add some style to your home, consider some simple do-it-yourself solutions. You could easily perk up your sofa by reupholstering it in a modern fabric with a bright red colour along with a contrasting trim of lime green.

Berry-colored stripes have become all the rage as well, and add a fresh, vibrant feel to any room. Strip the veneer or polish off your old writing table and go for a paint job in any bright colour from mustard yellow to lime green. Don’t forget to change those tarnished drawer knobs for a final finishing touch.

Bare Look:
A touch of raw wood is wowing the world of interior design these days. Raw wood fits into any home decor, whether vintage or modern.

Go shopping in antique furniture stores for small items to add to your rooms, whether it is a mirror frame or a piece to accent a wall. However, don’t go overboard or your room can end up looking like a hunting lodge in the highlands.

Wallpaper wow!
If you thought wallpaper was tacky and was to be limited to your grandmother’s home, think again. This trend is back but with modern twists. Nowadays, you can choose your wallpaper from an array of shades and patterns that lend character and style and are an instant fit for any room. Rather than wallpapering a whole room, try it just on an accent wall or in a small space such as an entryway or powder room.

Light up the room:
Glamorous art deco shades or a chandelier centrepiece in the living area are fast becoming favourites with homemakers. Vintage reading lamps that are curvaceous and colourful add shape and visual weight to side tables and nightstands. Whether they are in solid colours or muted ones, these lamps effortlessly become part of any room, adding a hint of glamour and style.

Go old-school:
Old-school is the new cool in the decor world. Old school-style furniture, such as desks and benches, are being painted and remodelled to add a whimsical touch to homes these days. Textured painting and a touch of polish can transform these sturdy items into design worthy decor.

Quick Bites:
Homeowners are no longer afraid to express their personal style and this has resulted in some amazing reincarnations of design ideas and concepts, many of which are comebacks from the past.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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ग्रीन ट्रैक पर डिवेलपमेंट

एनसीआर के शहरों में सबसे ज्यादा हरियाली नोएडा में देखने को मिलती है। यही वजह है कि नोएडा में मेट्रो के 3 स्टेशनों का नामकरण पर्यावरण व हरियाली को समर्पित है। बॉटैनिकल गार्डन व गोल्फ कोर्स के बाद भविष्य में ओखला बर्ड सैंक्चुरी मेट्रो स्टेशन नोएडा की शान मंे चार चांद लगाएगा।

देखें खूबसूरत नोएडा:
आप महामाया फ्लाईओवर से नोएडा की खूबसूरत तस्वीर देख सकते हैं। यहां पर खड़े होकर फ्लाईओवर से घिरे नोएडा की तस्वीर आप अपने कैमरे में कैद करे बिना नहीं रह पाएंगे। यहां पर हरियाली और डिवेलपमेंट में बैलेंस रखा गया है। इसके आगे नोएडा एक्सप्रेस वे की तरफ बढ़ते ही अलग-अलग तरह के फूल आपका मन मोह लेंगे। वहीं, खूबसूरत मूर्तियों को आप निहारते रह जाएंगे।

एजुकेशन में भी आगे:
नोएडा एजुकेशन हब में तब्दील होता जा रहा है। यहां पर उत्तर प्रदेश के बेस्ट इंजीनियरिंग कॉलेज हैं। इन कॉलेजों में पढ़ने वाले हजारों स्टूडेंट्स विदेशी कंपनियों में काम कर रहे हैं। स्टूडेंट्स के रुझान को देखते हुए यहां के कॉलेज कई प्रफेशनल कोर्स करा रहे हैं। जिले में 4 गवर्नमेंट स्कूल हैं, जिनकी गिनती इंडिया में बेहतर गर्वनमेंट स्कूलों में होती है। महामाया बालिका इंटर कॉलेज, पंचशील बालक इंटर कॉलेज का बेस्ट इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर इनकों प्राइवेट स्कूल से भी बेहतर बनता है।

मेडिकल टूरिजम:
कुछ वर्षों में नोएडा मेडिकल टूरिजम के रूप में तेजी से उभरा है। यहां के बड़े-बड़े अस्पतालों में आए दिन विदेशों से आकर लोग ट्रीटमेंट कराते हैं। यहां चाइल्ड स्पेशलिटी और पोस्ट ग्रैजुएशन संस्था भी जल्द शुरू होने जा रहा है। इसके शुरू होने के बाद मेडिकल फैसिलिटी के मामले में नोएडा की अपनी एक अलग ही पहचान होगी।

Source: NBT Property, September 2013
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Better Safe than Sorry

Invest in a safe to secure important documents and jewellery.

Most people find it convenient and comfortable to keep valuables at home as it facilitates ease of use.

However, even at home, one faces the risk of burglary, and damage through fire and dampness. This can lead to a lot of heartburn about where a family should safely store their documents, cash, jewellery, and other valuables.

The most convenient option is to invest in a good home safe.

Types of home safes:
There are a variety of safes that can be purchased for home use. These can range from the simple mechanical lock safes to advanced safes that are theft and fire resistant.

Three broad categories of safes:

  1. Home safes with mechanical and electronic locks: The simplest home safes have mechanical or electronic locks. The electronic locks for this range are simple digital number pad locks with four-six digit passwords.
  2. Home safes with advanced features: The next level of safes are the ones with advanced features like electronic locks that can be opened with the swipe of a debit or credit cards, and safes that use fingerprint recognition as a unique password. These safes also offer more space than traditional safes.
  3. Fire and burglar resistant safes: The most advanced safes meant for home use are burglar and fire resistant, and can withstand attacks from cutting torches, drills, and fire accidents. The duration for which these safes can withstand attacks of such nature and keep the contents safe varies, depending on the material used and the needs of the customer.

Factors to consider while choosing a safe:

Contents to be placed: This plays an extremely important role in determining the safe to choose. For example, there are safes that are built to keep laptops inside, so that any sensitive information on the laptop is protected at all times.

The safe is also provided with a charging point. In case there is a need to protect valuables, like extremely important documents, the use of a fire-resistant safe is recommended.

Threat perception: If the need is to protect valuables like small amounts of cash, gold, etc, a good option is to choose a safe that is thicker in its make and gives basic level of security. Choosing a very heavy safe and one that can be bolted to your wall or within the wardrobe will not be necessary in this case.

On the other hand, more fragile contents may require both burglar and fire-resistant safes that are large and heavy. A fire-resistant safe is advisable for protecting important documents while a burglar-resistant safe is designed to safeguard valuables like jewellery.

Frequency of use:
The frequency of use of the contents of the safe must be taken into account while choosing a safe, as well as the location that you would want to place it. In case the contents are not meant for frequent use and you wish to keep it hidden within a wall, there are safes that can be opened from the top and can easily be fitted. On the other hand, front opening safes can be chosen if the safe is being placed in a more accessible area.

Size of the Safe:

  • The safe must be chosen depending on the area that is available for placing the safe.
  • Safes that are placed in a cupboard are usually smaller in size and can accommodate a limited volume.
  • Safes that are fire and burglar resistant, on the other hand, are larger, heavier, and cannot be bolted down or carried away.

Quick Bites:
The simplest home safes have mechanical or electronic locks. The electronic locks for this range are simple digital number-pad locks with four-six digit passwords.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Succession certificate to Transfer Property

A succession certificate is needed to transfer property in case the deceased does not leave behind a will.

A succession certificate is an order granted by an authority or court to the successors of the estate of a deceased person on the basis of an application made by them in the capacity of legal heirs, or otherwise entitled to succeed to the estate of the deceased person under certain circumstances.

If a person passes away without leaving a will, a succession certificate can be granted by a court to realize the assets, securities and debts of the deceased.

It is issued according to the laws applicable in the case of inheritance.

A succession certificate is issued to the legal heirs of a deceased person. The certificate establishes the authenticity of the heirs. It also gives them the authority to inherit the property of the deceased person and is issued by a civil court. It is required by the legal heirs to have the securities and other assets transferred to their names. The beneficiary needs to file a petition with the district court or high court where the properties of the deceased are situated or where he normally resided.

The petition should give details of the case, including:

  • Full name of the deceased Details of time, date and place of death
  • Details like the name and relationship of the petitioner 
  • Place of residence of the deceased 
  • Details of the family and other kith and kin of the deceased, and their residential addresses 
  • Names of all the heirs of the deceased 
  • Details of property and debts of the deceased

The person applying for a succession certificate has to provide proof of his rights, or establish in what capacity he should be nominated as the successor of the deceased person. The petition should be filed along with a copy of the death certificate.

On the basis of the application, the court will issue a notice in the newspapers for a given period. Usually, 45 days are allowed for anybody to represent against the grant of the certificate.

In case no one contests the petition on the expiry of this period, the court will pass an order for issuance of the succession certificate. A fee is levied by the court for the certificate in the form of judicial stamp paper. The whole process may take between three and six months.

A succession certificate gives authority to the person who obtains it to represent the deceased for the purpose of collecting debts and securities due to him or payable in his name. The grant of a succession certificate is conclusive against the debtor.

One can then apply for transfer of property, bank accounts or securities registered in the name of the deceased on the basis of the certificate.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Property fraud cases to now get solved easily in Noida

From now on, cases of forgery related to registration of land and property in Gautam Budh Nagar can be resolved at the department of stamps and registration in Noida. Earlier, complainants had to move various courts to adjudicate these matters, which often stretched on for several years owing to pendency of cases.

The department has been empowered to handle these cases through a recent UP government order. Officials in Noida said that those finding errors in registration of properties can make their complaints directly to the stamps department. It would also help reduce the burden of land and property-related litigations from courts, said officials.

Officials said the order would be of great relief to those who have invested in properties in the region, particularly because numbers of fraudulent property deals have been on the rise in Noida and Greater Noida in the recent past. “The matter can be resolved in our department itself. One would not have to make multiple rounds of courts to rectify faults,” said SK Singh, AIG (Stamps), Gautam Budh Nagar.

According to the guidelines contained in the order, the stamps department would be fully empowered to declare a registration as ‘null and void’ if it is found to be incorrect in records available with it.

The department has also been empowered to register FIRs with the police in accordance with the order, if required in the case.

Explaining the procedure to be adopted for adjudicating these cases at the district level, officials said an index would be drawn up after receipt of complaints from property owners. Notices would be issued to parties and witnesses in individual cases thereafter.

The order gives the department the right to declare a registration as ‘null and void’ after two notices within a couple of months if respondents fail to turn up. “The decisions will be taken based upon documents available with the sub-registrar or with the land revenue department,” said Singh.

Source: Magicbricks.com, September 2013
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Noida set to be a hub of premium properties

The real estate market in Noida has performed well in the last few years. With its unique selling attribute of being affordable as compared to Delhi and Gurgaon, Noida has been eyed by both investors and end users. Today, with growth in terms of physical and social infrastructure, Noida is gearing towards becoming a premium residential market with maximum availability of properties valued at Rs 1 crore and above.

Earlier, most of the high-end properties were seen to be concentrated in Gurgaon. However, buyers now have ample number of options in the premium category in Noida as well. As per the data with MagicBricks.com, Noida saw almost 35 per cent of properties being delivered in the budget of above Rs 1 crore in the Apr-Jun 2013 quarter. Even the absorption of this segment remained considerably healthy.

Sachin Garg, deputy general manager of Mahagun India Pvt Ltd says, “Noida has witnessed price appreciation in the last few years. Since the issues over land acquisition got over, Noida Extension too, has come a long way and the prices have almost doubled. Within two years, the average capital values in Noida Extension have gone up from Rs 1,700 per sq ft to almost Rs 4,000 per sq ft. With the cost of construction also going up by twice the amount as it was two years ago, Noida is definitely heading towards being a premium residential market.”

The recent developments such as the hike in circle rates by 25 per cent and the proposal to extend the metro to Noida Expressway to Greater Noida is expected to give another impetus to property values in Noida. Sukesh Dhingra, director, Future Home Consultant Pvt Ltd says, “With the coming up of the metro, several IT/ITeS industries are looking forward to setting up their base along the expressway and areas around it. The current affordable rental trends as compared to Gurgaon’s commercial spaces, is also one of the reasons why companies prefer relocating to Noida.”

What needs to be seen is to what extent Noida competes with Gurgaon over becoming a premium residential destination. And, if it does well, then the question arises – Will Delhi have to expand even further to accommodate the needs of affordable housing?

Source: Magicbricks.com, September 2013
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RBI debars upfront 80:20 loans for Flats

The RBI has barred banks from providing upfront loans for under construction projects through innovative “80:20” or “75:25” schemes by developers. Under such schemes, a buyer is assured of getting the flat upon completion for the rate it is booked with just 20-25% upfront payment. This is due to a tripartite agreement between the buyer, builder and lender whereby the builder agrees to pay the loan installment until delivery.

RBI’s move to hit growth: Builders

The bank benefits from so-called 80:20 schemes as it classifies the loan as a mortgage and not construction finance which is considered a risky business by the RBI and requires higher provisioning. The builder gains as home loans are far cheaper than construction loans.

While builders said the RBI’s move would hit economic growth, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh had recently spoken out against such schemes. “As a basic tenet, construction finance entails higher risks and, therefore, such risks have to be built into the pricing. Construction finance should not, through any innovative structuring, be available to developers at the rate of interest being offered on individual home loans. Further, to pay upfront construction finance to developers even before the ground is broken is dangerous,” Parekh warned.

Some feel the RBI’s decision will bring down prices. “It is a good decision as the government has sought to warn buyers who are tempted by the attractive 80:20 scheme, thinking they are getting a good discount. In reality, this scheme is quite complicated and does not clarify how much discount the developer is giving the buyer. The RBI’s decision will force developers and banks to be more transparent in explaining the benefits of the scheme to buyers. It will force developers to give a prospective buyer a discount upfront instead of spreading it across 2 to 3 years as in the 80:20 scheme,” said Sanjay Dutt, executive managing director at global property consultants Cushman and Wakefield. Alternatively, the developer will have to come up with other promotion schemes to sell his project. But builders are greatly upset by the move.

Source: Times Property, August 2013
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Sanjay Rastogi, Saviour Builders Pvt Ltd – National Duniya

National Duniya_01st Spetember'13_13Source: National Duniya, September 2013

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