Handing over one’s land to a real estate developer for construction is an increasingly common practice in Bangladesh. As this number is on the rise so is the amount of confusion related to this practice. Landowners are faced with numerous questions as to what is the appropriate procedure to engage in such an agreement. This is a natural consequence of negligence and ignorance from both parties. To prevent such confusions, the government of Bangladesh has introduced Real Estate Management Law in 2009, the Real Estate Development and Management Act in 2010 and the Real Estate Development and Management Regulation in 2011 respectively.
This article will attempt to provide useful information that will help landowners know what to expect or ask for when they consider going into a deal with real estate developers.
A Written Contract:
The agreement that takes place between the landowner and the developer should be in a signed written contract commonly known as ‘Deed’. The deed will include all the necessary information but most importantly it should specify the time frame of the completion of the building as well as the consequences of the developer not meeting the deadline.
In case of any dispute between the landowner and the developer, initially the parties must try to resolve it amongst themselves. According to Section 36 of the Real Estate Development and Management Act 2010, if the attempt fails, the dispute can then be taken into the governance of the Arbitration Act 2001. Under the act, a case can be filed against the defaulting party.
Delay in Handover:
The Ministry of Commerce on May 21, 2017 issued a notice that mandates all real estate developers to be a member of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB). So the code of conduct for REHAB members is also applicable for all Real Estate Development Companies.
REHAB members are obligated to handover the apartments to landowners on the date specified in their Deed of Agreement. In case the developer fails or if there is a delay for some reason, the landowners are entitled to a rental compensation that is to be paid by the developer every month. This compensation amount should be mentioned in the Deed beforehand. This can be overlooked if the delay is caused by something that is beyond the control of the developer. Such cases include: natural disasters, political turmoil, unusual rise in prices of the building materials, delay in getting utility connection from the concerned authority, etc.
If a developer refuses to transfer the predetermined portion of the landowner’s possession that is mentioned in the Deed, according to Section 30 of the Real Estate Development and Management Act 2010, the developer can be imprisoned for a maximum two years or will have to pay a fine of BDT 20,00,000 or can be punished with both.
Once all the apartments are handed over to the landowner, the owner is entitled to enjoy a maintenance facility provided by the developer. The developer must also take care of any damage or repair that might occur to the apartment within two years of handover.
Selling Apartments from Landowner’s share:
The landowner usually owns a predetermined share of apartments. However, if the Landowner wishes to sell off his/her share of the apartments, it is important to issue a power of attorney and transfer to the developer the right to sell his/her shares of the apartments.
These are some of the basic laws that are intended to safeguard the landowner’s rights when they are entrusting their possession to a developer. It is imperative that before entering into any agreement with a developer, the landowner goes through substantial research to make sure their rights are not subsided by any means.