Developers in Mumbai are vigorously using the super-built up area and misleading consumers. In November 2008, the Maharashtra government came up with a housing policy which stated that sales of all properties should be done on carpet area basis. However, developers still do not sell the properties on carpet area basis because they get a chance to play with the free Floor Space Index (FSI) areas by including it as part of the super built-up area and they charge the consumers for the same.
The regulation was supposed to become a law within three months of the draft legislation. By March 2009, it should have been a law, but it is not being followed. Builders are still constructing properties on super built-up basis without passing on the benefit of the free FSI to consumers.
“The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) only allows four feet flower beds,” said Pranav Desai, a Mumbai-based architect.
Most new properties have huge spaces dedicated towards flower beds, which are given to the developers free of FSI. “Today developers are talking of flower beds, which are 12 feet wide—how can you call it a flower bed? Developers are bucking the system openly and blatantly and no one is telling them anything,” said Pranay Vakil, chairman, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd.
If you glance through the brochures of various developers, you will come across a common feature—they mention the super built-up area, built-up area and (in brackets) the carpet area. They are following the law, but only indirectly. One high-rise at Peddar Road, south Mumbai, has not received the occupation certificate because all the balconies are flower beds, which are approximately six feet wide.
An industry expert pointed out that after the law was passed, all the properties have to be sold on a carpet area basis. However, a few developers have cleverly converted the total built-up area into carpet area, which has eventually raised the price of the property. It has not made any difference to the developers, but consumers have had to suffer.
“Developers have drastically raised the super built-up area of the new properties. From 50% super built-up area, it has almost reached 100%,” said Pankaj Kapoor, founder, Liases Foras.
However, with the increase in super-built up area, the cost of properties has also doubled over a period of time. Consumers are getting lesser space at a higher cost. For example, if an apartment of 1,000 sq ft carpet area had a saleable area of 1,400 sq ft in Kandivali (a Mumbai suburb) in 2005, at that time, the apartment was priced at Rs2,500 per sq ft. The total cost came to Rs25 lakh. But now, an apartment of 1,000 sq ft is quoted as 2,000 sq ft saleable area. Taking the current cost into consideration, it is priced around Rs8,000 per sq ft. The total cost of the apartment has jumped to Rs1.60 crore. — Pallabika Ganguly