The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) aims at preventing problems in the real estate sector from cropping up and ensuring legal protection for consumers and developers, said P.H. Kurian, Chairman, RERA, here on Friday.

Addressing an awareness programme on the real estate sector, Mr. Kurian said marketing and long-term leasing of real estate projects without registering with the Authority was an offence punishable by up to 10% of the project cost.

A real estate entity is defined as a plot of land, villa, flat, commercial unit, office, or warehouse of 500 sqm or more. Details of all registered real estate projects and construction progress are available on the web portal rera.kerala.gov.in.

Before engaging in any transaction in real estate, one should visit the portal and confirm that the project promoter has registered with RERA. Real estate agents too must register themselves with the Authority, he said.

Upcoming projects and those that are currently under construction but have not received a certificate of ownership must be registered. However, projects which obtained the occupancy certificate before May 1, 2017, are not covered under the Act.

The Authority will check whether all the rules have been complied with and permits obtained in a project. Therefore, legal protection is guaranteed to the buyer, he said.

Mr. Kurian said RERA registration was also mandatory for obtaining loans from banks. As the progress of a project would be made available in a timely manner, lending banks could decide on the disbursement of loans without visiting the site. Advertising for projects should include only the facts stated at the time of the project registration. All advertisements must have a RERA registration number.

Land records and legal permits of all registered projects are available on the portal.

He said RERA had the power to accept and resolve complaints from customers, builders, and developers. Legal action would be taken against any developer found to have provided incorrect information. Complainants could be filed with the Authority in the prescribed manner, he said.

As of October 30, over 600 projects and 200 agents had been registered with the RERA. Of this, 118 projects have been completed. Of the 919 cases file with RERA, 480 were settled, he said.