Living in a flat without occupancy certificate? You may lose power

Repo-rateBGALURU: Rajini Chengappa, 58, and husband Vivek, 65, bought a flat in Kodigehalli, off Hebbal, in 2012. They moved into the sixth-floor flat a year later.

The builder, Vivek says, had promised them an occupancy certificate (OC), but it has remained a promise. The Chengappas are not alone in their plight. Thousands of homeowners are facing a similar quandary. Nearly 10,000 buildings in Bengaluru, including 50% of apartments built after the Karnataka government introduced transfer of development rights (TDR) in the city in 2005, do not have OCs, say official sources.

In many cases, though the building plans are approved, OCs are denied due to other violations. Obtaining an OC is a requirement under the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972. The law says one cannot legally move into a building unless the developer gets an occupancy certificate from the BBMP or BDA. The corporation can ask apartment owners to leave such illegally occupied flats or impose heavy penalties.
Replying to a question at the recent Belagavi assembly session, chief minister Siddaramaiah had said only 97 highrises in Bengaluru have obtained OCs between 2009 and 2014, while promising stern action against builders violating construction norms.
Energy minister DK Shiva Kumar echoed similar views and directed officials to get tough with apartment builders, by disconnecting power.
But it’s not as easy as it seems, considering the quantum of violations, nexus between civic officials and builders and a lack of stringent laws. Many errant builders and developers have, over the years, gone scot-free, say those familiar with the working of the sector.
There are several examples of builders disappearing without giving OCs and legal water connections to housing complexes. Apprehensive of losing their homes, buyers who’ve invested hard-earned money move into their flats and make do with water from pumps and water tankers.

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