Monday, August 31, 2015

Revenue Sites Buyer Beware




Revenue site is a site that is formed on the agricultural land without proper approval under the relevant law pertaining to town and country planning  and  also  as  per  other provisions of law.

Under the law, no building shall be constructed on an agricultural land without obtaining conversion and other   approvals from the concerned authorities..

All around Bangalore, it is a very common practice for people to buy a piece of agricultural land, which is  more popular as 'revenue site,'  without knowing the hassles involved in the buying of such sites. Consequently local brokers, aided  by   certain  landlords  also misguide buyers of revenue sites. So hard earned money of these innocent people goes down the drain, ruining them forever.
Middlemen Ride

The middlemen and the local brokers have perfected their profession. This is how they operate. A nominal sum is paid as token advance to the landlord and a general power of attorney is obtained; and then, the search for the victim begins. The middle men, like double edged razors, hike the price of the land and at the same time, do not properly settle the accounts with the illiterate and ignorant land owners.

Then, there are clever entrepreneurs, who consider themselves above law. They form layouts on agricultural lands without sanction, approval, planning, design etc. To increase the saleable area of the 'sites', they encroach on roads and as a result the roads get narrowed down. These layouts are formed without civic amenities and facilities, since there is no intention of providing them. However, they know the art of marketing. They make colorful brochures with photographs of certain parts of structures including 'Vidhana Soudha', Utility Building, etc., to paint a picture of the property, which a prospective buyer would like to own, as his 'intelligent investment'. They know that NRIs and local purchasers are very particular about presentation. Better the presentation, deeper the deceit, which very few people understand. After the process, one earns money, and the other bitter experience.

Whose ancestral property?

In the recital of a sale deed, it is customary to mention how the seller has   acquired   his title, interests and rights to  the immoveable property. In case of revenue sites, the brokers at the office of  various  sub- registrars  have devised a very ingenious method to  hide this fact from the unsuspecting buyers. They merely advise the I parties concerned to mention in the recital that the property is the 'ancestral property' of the  seller.  In this way the property passes on from one GPA holder to   another GPA holder, till such time an unlucky person becomes  the  owner  of such  an 'ancestral property'.

There are several instances where the land notified for acquisition and the land granted for schedule cast people have been converted into sites. Then the law stipulates that certain lands, when granted to the schedule castes, will revert to them if purchased by anyone else. And there is no guarantee that the money paid for such lands will be refunded.

GPA Transaction:

Very few people care to check the legality of the GPA executed by the original vendor. Nobody bothers to find out whether the GPA is registered or not, whether the executor of the GPA is alive or not.

All that everyone is concerned is how to become the owner of the site. Few people realize the danger when a GPA is revoked. A joint GPA executed by two owners becomes invalid if one of them dies.

Form 9 and Form 10 transactions

Certain dishonest and insincere revenue officials to circumvent the law and cheat the government have devised these transactions. Form no. 10 is for a house coming under gramthana village panchayat area. Form no. 9 is for a vacant site coming under gramthana village pancayat area. Originally, a property falling under the village panchayat area alone has the government site status. The middlemen and the revenue officials have made bogus forms no.9 and 10 and have registered immoveable properties in favour of innocent purchasers. Earlier, when the Urban Land Ceiling Act was in force, hundreds and thousands of revenue sites were registered by merely mentioning in the sale deed the expression 'one square asbestos sheet house'. This was mentioned just to avoid getting the relevant clearance under the said Act. After the Act was abolished the term 'one square asbestos sheet house' was also  removed from the  broker's dictionary.

It is not legal to form layouts in the agricultural land/green belt area. In such lands, the record of rights (RTC) will be in the name of the original land owners.

The sites, being 'ancestral proper- ties' of non-existing persons, will be sold by the GPA holders. The numbers assigned to these sites will never match with the survey numbers assigned to these lands by the government. The purchaser of the revenue site doesn't get the title of the property. What is purchased is an 'imaginary site' only. If, however, the original owner is good then any purchaser can enjoy the property. In Tamil Nadu, only properties with proper titles are registered. If the Government of Karnataka makes similar rules, lots of innocent people will be protected from the onslaught and greed of the middle¬men.

Difficult_to_get_loans

If the title deeds are not clear and marketable, it is difficult to obtain bank   loans   for   construction  by mortgaging the sites. Generally, these sites are situated on the city out-skirts. There will be no proper roads, electricity or water supply. There is no scope for immediate development or occupation. After all this, if the prices of the sites appreciate over a period of several years, the original landowner will appear from nowhere and start cultivating the area. He will remove all the demarcating stones planted by the GPA holder to fool the purchaser. The purchaser will then find it difficult to identify his property. In certain cases the GPA holder sells the same sites to several persons and collects money from all of them. Consequently, a marathon litigation awaits him. The laws are so complex that they give rise to multiple interpretations. To add to his woes, the court fees, which are very high, drain his already depleted resources. All these are sufficient for anyone to forget everything and be done with it. Only a fraction of the deceived purchasers feel that the laws are helpful under such circumstances. It is hoped that people will exercise utmost care and restraint, when they go about purchasing 'revenue sites'.

A little caution in time will save lots of botheration in future. Instead of purchasing a 60 x 40 site a purchaser can as well go for a 20 x 30 site with a clear marketable title within the city limits. Moreover, all the sites formed in and around Bangalore must have BDA or BMRDA approval. The buyers, therefore, instead of wasting their hard earned money on revenue sites and spending sleepless nights, would rather be wise to consult qualified legal experts before investing their well earned money.


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