RERA ticks off strict rules for every real estate stake holder, barring the property portals. Modern realty business is partial without property portals. Buyers don’t utter a single word without exploring property details. However, The Real Estate Regulatory and Development Act, hasn’t mention any particular rule regarding the registration process of the property portals. The owners of the property portals are yet to distinguish whether they would register as ‘agents’ or the ‘middleman’.
According to the legal desk, real estate portals too have to be registered under RERA, whereas portals don’t consider themselves functionally as real estate agents. To conclude these ambiguity real estate authorities suggested that one has to research on the nature of business of these real estate portals to make a call.
The definition of realty agents as given in the RERA Act, property portals doesn’t fall under real estate brokers’ category, as it is not involved in property transactions, neither does it offer any related services to the property buyers. Again there is information with the purpose of selling. Directly or indirectly when it comes to real estate selling, as a stake holder one needs to be registered with RERA.
Real estate portals act as a property advertising platform for individuals/brokers and developers. As stated in the IT act, a property portal falls under the definition of an ‘intermediatary’. As of now, no leading property portal in India could register under RERA due to this whole lot of confusion and most of them are taking legal advice for the future performance.
However, the FAQ’s came out from the sources of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation states that all electronic advertisements via the internet/e-mail/SMS shall fall inside the definition of “advertisements” under RERA. Though, this absolutely depends on how state authorities infer the same.
Again state RERA authorities can penalize any real estate portal on the ground of advertising real estate properties with a selling intention without getting registered with RERA authorities. Thus, web property portals should seek clarification from the respective state RERA authority regarding the registration procedure to continue their services up and coming. While, under RERA a ‘middleman’ should also be registered in every state for any real estate business conduct. States that have not come up with an official RERA website, property portals should seek for the guidance of state RERA authority in person for the future steps.
“These days, property portals are the preface of Indian real estate market. People don’t visit to a professional broker without doing online research on the kind of project that he/she requires. Be it suburb or the metro cities, internet and the property portals hold an important role in deriving the buyers’ sentiment. Now under which category it will be registered under RERA, is until unclear,’’- said Mr. Mahesh Somani, The Chairman – National RERA Committee, National Association of Realtors India (West Bengal).
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