Time to regulate real estate for common man’s benefit

ISLAMABAD - Having one’s own house is dream of every citizen. But in a society plagued with exploitation and weaker regulations, this dream often lands these citizens in real trouble when they fall prey to property tycoons.
Playing with their emotion of having a house, the housing societies’ owners first trap them by showing pleasant dreams and then exploit them fleecing their hard earned money.
In a desire of having their own abode, some invest their pension or gratuity money and others sell their ornaments or household. But, after sometime they come to know that either the society was illegal or the owner had invested the collected money elsewhere delaying development and possession of plots. 
The investors are charged repeatedly either in the name of development charges or other expenditures other than the specified plots price as recently surfaced in the case of a society in the suburbs of Rawalpindi. 
Social media is seen flooded with hue and cry by investors against owners of this society, the heirs of a big gun in real estate business, for massively charging development expenses. 
“They have become a mafia. Weaker regulations encouraged them to act without fear. Under the garb of specific laws, they freely fleece the people,” said an investor Rashid Mahmood. “It is very rare that there is any compatibility in actual land price and the price charged by buyers.”
There is dire need to transparently maintain the data of files or property selling by housing societies by the government departments not leaving the developers to play as per their will. Moreover, strict laws must be enacted to ensure that both the developer and the investor or end user could equally benefit from these projects.
In many cases the societies’ owners disappear with the investors’ money leaving them in lurch. Many societies’ owners sell the same plot or file more than once to earn double or triple money against the actual price, flaring disputes among the owners and leaving them to strand for years to settle disputes. Astonishingly these developers sometimes operate hand in glove with the government authorities with a few among them becoming so influential that they have a say in making or breaking the governments.
They manage market as they desire through engineered mechanism of themselves dropping the rates of files or plots making way for their crony sale partners to purchase the same on lesser rate. Once the purchase is completed, they enhance rate for theirs and cronies benefit.
“They grab billions of rupees through this fake dip and hike,” said a small property dealer Amir Chaudhry. “But, nobody can challenge them as they have deep roots in the state institutions.”
“I know hundreds of investors who invested money by selling their ornaments and other valuables. But, since years they are waiting for plots to construct houses,” he regretted. “All this happens due to weaker legislation in this area.”
Then the societies’ owners have their own style of recovery, cancellation of files and surcharge policies and extract billions after billions from the people. 
There is also no check to officially gauge the mechanism of compatibility of land purchasing rate and rates of plots offered to end users, uneven revision of prices, double selling of plots and delayed development or delivery.
The dilemma is that developer recovers his land value manifold and the real estate agents get their commission time and again, but inflicting pangs of deprivation and depression on investors or end users.
Although much has been stated, written or clamored about this ongoing exploitation, yet these practices still go on making the low income class to bear the brunt.
Therefore, the common people have demanded from the government to set up an exclusive regulatory authority on the pattern of NEPRA, OGRA or NADRA to manage these developers.
Such an authority must be empowered to have a say and rationalize the plots prices vis a vis the cost of purchased land, keep record of buying and selling, rationalize development charges mechanism, ensure timely completion of projects and handing over plots to owners as well as the recovery of their payment if any developer flee or delays the project.
This regulatory body must also have power to recover investors’ money by selling the belongings of a developer if he fails to deliver project on time.
The small investors have appealed to the government to deal with this issue on priority as they have recently dealt with artificial hike in dollar price, hoarding, repatriation of illegal migrants and other issues of common man’s interest.
Just to conclude, the case is not with all housing societies as there are good developers as well who take along their investors by bailing out them if any problem comes their way.
Therefore, it is direly needed to regularize this business setting certain rules and regulation through involvement of the government so the poor could be saved from cruel clutches of these money hungry property tycoons.

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