Saturday, 14 March 2015

SITE BUYERS BEWARE

Leading advocate in Bangalore | Advocate at Koramangala | Real estate lawyers India


Agricultural lands cannot be directly used for residential purpose. They need to be converted for residential purposes, by paying conversion charges. The Special Deputy Commissioner is the competent authority to convert the agricultural land into non-agricultural purpose. Revenue site is a site that is formed on the agricultural land into non-agricultural purpose. Revenue site is a site that is formed on the agricultural land without proper approval under the relevant law i.e., Karnataka Land Reforms Act, Karnataka Land Revenue Rules and also as per other provisions of law.
No building shall be constructed on an agricultural land without obtaining conversion and other approvals from the concerned authorities. Residential site should be formed only in the residentially converted land, such a land should be in the residential zone as per the zonal regulations for getting the residential conversation.
As per zonal regulation of comprehensive development plan, the green belt area is only for the agricultural activities. Non converted land continues to be an agricultural land, and there are various restrictions on sale and purchase of agricultural land. In Bangalore only Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is the competent authority to approve the layout and to get this approval the layout; road width, residential area, civic amenities, other amenities to be fulfilled. The Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA) is the regulatingauthority to approve sites on the outskirts of the Bangalore. All around Bangalore, it is a very common practice for people to buy a piece of agricultural land, which is more popular as “revenue site”, without knowing the hassles involved in the buying of such sites. Consequently local agents, aided by certain landlords also misguide buyers to buy revenue sites.

Middlemen ride
The middlemen and the local brokers have perfected their art of cheating the innocent people by selling the revenue sites. Generally, a nominal sum is paid as a token advance to the landlord and a general power of attorney is obtained; and then, the search for the innocent purchasers begins.  The middle men, like double edged razors, hike the price of the land and at the same time, do not properly settle the accounts with the illiterate and ignorant land  owners.
Then, the said brokers who consider themselves above law, form layouts on agricultural lands without sanction, approval, planning, design etc. To increase the saleable area of the “sites”, they encroach on roads and as a result the roads get narrowed down. These layouts are formed without civic amenities and facilities, since there is no intention of providing them. However, the brokers know the art of marketing. They make colorful brochures with photographs of certain parts of Bangalore and paint an attractive picture. Some of them download the foreign photographs of houses from internet for their brochures. Better the presentation, deeper the deceit, which very few people understand. After the process, the broker has gained money, and the purchaser has bitter experience. The said agents in league with brokers will register some imaginary sites at the sub-registrar’s office using their clout with the sub-registrar.
Ancestral Property
In the recital of a sale deed, it is customary to mention how the seller has acquired his title, interests and rights to the immovable property from origin to the end. In case of revenue sites, the brokers at the office of various sub-registrars have devised a very ingenious method to hide this fact. They merely mention in the recital that the property is the “ancestral property” of the seller. In this way the property passes on from the GPA holder to the purchaser.
There are several instances where the land notified for acquisition and the land granted for schedule caste people have been converted into sites, where the purchaser of such a site would not get any title of the property. Then the law stipulates that certain lands, when granted to the schedule castes, will revert to them if purchased by any one else.
GPA transaction
Generally the brokers will take GPA from the landowner for the entire land and register in favour of the purchaser; most of the revenue sites are registered under the strength of GPA. Very few people care to check the legality of the GPA executed by the original vendor. Nobody bothers to find out whether the GPA is registered or not, whether the executor of the GPA is alive or not. If the executor of the GPA is not alive the GPA transaction is totally invalid. A joint GPA executed by two owners becomes invalid if one of them dies.
Form 9 and Form 10
Originally, a property falling under the village Panchayat area alone has the genuine site status. Form No.10 is for a house coming under Gramathana village Panchayat area and Form No.9 is for a vacant site coming under Gramathana village panchayat area. The middlemen and some of the revenue officials have made bogus Forms No.9 and 10 and have registered immoveable properties in favor of innocent purchasers. Earlier, when the Urban Land Ceiling Act was in force, thousands of revenue sites were registered by merely mentioning in the sale deed the description as one square asbestos sheet house’.  This was mentioned just to avoid getting the relevant clearance under the said Act. After the Urban Land Ceiling Act was abolished the term ‘one square asbestos sheet house’ was also removed from the real estate agent’s dictionary’.
It is not legal to form layouts and sell the sites in the agricultural land/green belt area,, even after selling all the sites; RTC (Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crop Inspection) will be in name of the original landowners. 
The Agent being a GPA holder will sell the sites, being “ancestral properties” to the innocent purchaser. The numbers assigned to these sites will never match with the survey numbers assigned to these sites will never match with the survey numbers assigned to these lands by the government. The purchaser of the revenue site doesn’t get the title of the property. What is purchased is an imaginary site only. If, however, the original owner is good then the purchaser can enjoy the property, till the government regularizes such revenue sites.
Difficult to get loans
If the title deeds are not clear and does not establish marketable title, it is difficult to obtain bank loans for construction by mortgaging the sites. Generally, these sites are situated on the city outskirts. There will be no proper roads, electricity or water supply. There is no scope for immediate development occupation. After all this, if the prices of the sites appreciate over a period of several years, the original landowner will appear from nowhere and start cultivating the area. He will remove all the boundary stones laid by the broker. The purchaser will then find it difficult to identify his property. In certain cases the GPA holder sells the same sites to several persons and collects money from all of them. Consequently, marathon litigation awaits the purchaser. The laws are so complex that they give rise to multiple interpretations.
To add to his woes, the Court fees, which are very high, drain his already depleted resources to forget everything and be done with it.
Only a fraction of the deceived purchasers feel that the laws are helpful under such circumstances.  It is hoped that people will exercise utmost care and restraint, when they go about purchasing “revenue sites”.  A little caution in time will save lots of botheration future.
Instead of purchasing a 60 x 40 site a purchaser can as well as go for a title within the city limits or BDA formed sites or BDA approved sites. Moreover, all the sites formed in and around Bangalore must have BDA or BMRDA approval.

The buyers, therefore, instead of wasting their hard earned money on revenue sites and spending sleepless nights, would rather be wise to consult qualified legal experts before investing their well earned money.

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