LAHORE: Developers of private housing societies in the metropolis are trapping and defrauding customers by taking advantage of insufficient laws and lengthy and complicated agreements.
Daily Times has learnt that the developers of most of the private housing societies mislead, deceive and loot people under legal cover in a number of ways.
“Some of the housing societies get NOC from LDA of a plan showing 1,000 plots, but make bookings of 2,000 plots,” an official source in LDA told Daily Times.
He said, “We have received a number of complaints against such housing schemes and have sent subsequent notices to the developers. However, they claim to hold draws in order to provide refunds to those who were unable to secure plots.” But fact of the matter is that people neither get plots nor any refunds. In some cases, the developers make bookings and get down payments from customers, who even start paying regular installments. Unfortunately, later they come to know that the land for the housing society is yet to be acquired.
“During the last couple of years, many private housing schemes were launched and they made bookings. In reality, however, there was nothing on the ground and only files of plots were sold. This dangerous trend is still going on,” said property consultant M Rasheed. However, it is condemnable that the LDA does not take serious action against the developers of such housing societies, except for sending notices to them. “The LDA can just serve notices on the housing societies that defy its rules and regulations. The authority cannot take stern action against them owing to lack of powers,” said the LDA official.
“The agreements private housing societies make with customers are very lengthy and complicated. It is difficult for a common man to understand their technical points. Thus, the developers trap people easily through this complicated, legal documents,” Rasheed said.
In some cases, the developers provide land to the customers but the development work is not executed within the specified period of time. As a result, people do not actually get what they paid for in the first place. It has been learnt that there are a large number of housing societies in the city that have not been developed despite a passage of 10 to 15 years. After this issue was raised in Daily Times three weeks ago, the LDA showed some might and took a few steps against the private housing societies which had not been developed within the stipulated period of five years.
It was learnt that the LDA had recently taken over four private housing schemes, including Formanites Housing Society, Gosha Ahbab Scheme (Phase II), Gulshan-e-Ahbab and Naz Town. The developers of these schemes have been directed not to sell 20 percent of the total residential and commercial plots they had mortgaged to LDA in the past until completion of the development work.
Furthermore, the LDA has decided to take possession of mortgaged plots in 21 private housing schemes in the city and to auction them to generate funds that will then be used to finish development work in these schemes. The LDA has asked public and the developers of these schemes to file objections, if any, in this regard within 15 days, starting from February 22, at the office of the LDA metropolitan planning director.
The 21 housing schemes include Abu Zar Housing Scheme, Ahbab Cooperative Housing Scheme Phase-I, Al-Assar Housing Scheme, Al-Hamra Town Housing Scheme, Bagh-i-Iram Housing Scheme, Ravians Co-operative Housing Scheme, China Town Housing Scheme, Fazal Elahi/Makkah Housing Scheme, Gulshan-i-Jinnah Housing Scheme, Green Valley Housing Scheme, Hyde Park Housing Scheme, Kake Zai Housing Scheme Phase-II, Khurram Town Housing Scheme, Meraj Town Housing Scheme, OPF Farm Housing Scheme, Punjab Government Servants Housing Scheme Foundation, Rehman Abad Housing Scheme, Sally Town Housing Scheme (North), Saman Zar Housing Scheme, Sunny Park (Extension) Sunny Garden Housing Scheme and Zubaida Khatoon Housing Scheme.