Property Ownership in Chandigarh

By: Property

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has finally decided to change with the times. In a major pro-people move, it has decided to make property transactions in the city hassle-free by allowing mutual sale and purchase of dwelling units by allottees. Until now, the transfer of CHB flats in Chandigarh was based on the general power of attorney, a system rife with defects and legal complications.

But all that is now passe, with the board of directors of CHB deciding on February 20 to make their flat transfer policy people-friendly and transparent. The new move will benefit a substantial number of about 50,000 owners/allottees of CHB dwelling units in the city, and will change the way property transactions are carried out in the region. Most importantly, it will offer relief to people whose properties have been lying blocked for years due to legal wrangles.

The CHB, ever since it came into existence in 1971, has been a witness to countless problems posed by GPA transfer policy. Due to stringent laws governing the sale and purchase of residential property in Chandigarh , a majority of allottees had resorted to sale through general power of attorney.

Since initially the CHB did not recognise GPA, property transaction through this system led to several complications including legal battles between the original allottees and buyers on the one hand and original allottees and the CHB on the other. This often led to blackmailing by allottees or their legal heirs who found it convenient to extract money from interested buyers of residential property. This was besides the hefty premium which buyers paid to allottees/sellers.

The practice naturally allowed property dealers to mushroom and make hay as they negotiated deals between various parties and charged heavily in the guise of completing endless formalities besides charging their commission. The GPA transfer system had bred corruption in the ranks of CHB, particularly in public-dealing branches.

Keeping in mind these complication, the CHB had, in 2001, come out with a policy to regularise GPA sale by fixing charges for the transfer of property by original allottees besides also fixing terms and conditions like clearance of dues, retention of original structure of the dwelling unit, respect for building bylaws etc. The regularisation of GPA, however, helped little, with buyers of residential units continuing to face harassment.

The new mutual transfer policy will bring buyers and sellers face to face for the first time and eliminate the role of middlemen like property dealers. The move will also end the nexus between property dealers and officials by allowing genuine buyers and sellers to own property in a legal way.

Besides, it is expected to bring revenue to Chandigarh Administration as transactions would involve the payment of stamp duty and other prescribed charges. Until now, stamp duty worth crores was being evaded in the name of large scale sale and purchase of CHB flats through GPA. The new policy will protect the financial interests of Chandigarh Administration besides being people-friendly.

Meanwhile, the board had said GPAs taken to date would be acceptable till the time the new policy came into effect. It has added, however, that people would eventually have to own property on the terms and conditions specified in the mutual transfer policy.

Further in a bid to curb speculation, the CHB has categorically said that GPA holders will no longer be eligible to apply for flats in any of its residential project schemes. Residential property, say board officials, must go to the shelter-less people. The board has meanwhile also allowed transfer of residential property in Chandigarh on the basis of one surety. Earlier two sureties were required.

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