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title insurance

IRDAI has vide its circular dated 8th September, 2021 recommended to general insurance companies to consider providing title insurance policies to real estate developers and promoters and also home buyers to mitigate the loss, if any due to bad or defective title to the property.

https://irdai.gov.in/ADMINCMS/cms/Circulars_Layout.aspx?page=PageNo4558

Title insurance is a form of indemnity insurance that protects a potential owner of a property against financial loss from defects in title to real property. The policy is a retrospective one where the insured is protected against losses arising from the events that occurred prior to the date of issuing the policy.

2.    There are a few Title Insurance products in the Indian marketcurrently. However, considering the requirements of legal protection for promotors in the early stages of development of the project during financial appraisal, registration and approval with RERA authorities and safeguarding the interests of individual buyers after taking over the physical possession of property, there is aneed to expand the current title insurance products suitable to promotors/ developers and retail property buyers.

3.    In order to ensure that the general insurers offer basic Title Insurance covers for legal liabilities of promotors/developers in case of any loss caused to allottees duetodefective title of the property, protection for individual buyers for the purchased units in projects and to facilitate easy marketability of these products, the Authority had constituted a Working Group to suggest, inter alia, product construct and policy wording for two new products in addition to the existing products.

4.    Accordingly, the Working Group hassuggested product structure, coverage and policy wordings for the following products.

(a)  Promoter Legal Expenses (Defence Cost) Policy: This cover will indemnify the insured against legal defence costs only against suits challenging the Title of the project.

(b)  Allottee/Individual Buyer Retail Policy: This cover is designed to indemnify the insured against loss from a defect on title of property. The policy may be opted by the individual buyer and financiers of the property at the time of the possession.

The policy wordings developed by the Working Group for the above products are given in the Annexure.

5.    The main objectives of new Title Insurance products are to provide cover to;

(a)  promoters/developers, preferring to optfor a minimum legal defence cost;

(b)  end usersi.e., allottees/individual buyers/financiersat the time of possession/handing over of the property unit for protection against any legal suits in future.

6.    All general insurers are, therefore,encouraged to file these products as per the procedure required under the extant product filling guidelines. The insurers may also design and filesimilar products, keeping in view the minimum coverage as specified in the given policy wording. The filing of the said product/s may be carried out at the earliest to respond to the requirements ofpromoters/developers and retail property buyers.

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income tax relief for housing

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1672636

As part of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package 3.0 as announced by Hon’ble Finance Minister on 12th November, 2020, certain income tax relief measures were brought in for real-estate developers and home buyers.

Up to 2018, section 43CA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (‘the Act’) provided for deeming of the stamp duty value (circle rate) as sale consideration for transfer of real-estate inventory in the case the circle rate exceeded the declared consideration. Consequentially, stamp duty value was deemed as purchase consideration in case of buyer under section 56(2)(x) of the Act. 

In order to provide relief to real estate developers and buyers, the Finance Act, 2018, provided a safe harbour of 5%. Accordingly, these deeming provisions triggered only where the difference between the sale/purchase consideration and the circle rate was more than 5%. In order to provide further relief in this matter, Finance Act, 2020 increased this safe harbour from 5% to 10%. Therefore, currently, the circle rate is deemed to be the sale/purchase consideration for real estate developers and buyers only where the variation between the agreement value and the circle rate is more than 10%.

In order to boost demand in the real-estate sector and to enable the real-estate developers to liquidate their unsold inventory at a rate substantially lower than the circle rate and giving benefit to the home buyers, it has been decided to further increase the safe harbour from 10% to 20% under section 43CA of the Act for the period from 12th November, 2020 to 30th June, 2021 in respect of only primary sale of residential units of value up to Rs. 2 crore. Consequential relief by increasing the safe harbour from 10% to 20% shall also be allowed to buyers of these residential units under section 56(2)(x) of the Act for the said period. Therefore, for these transactions, circle rate shall be deemed as sale/purchase consideration only if the variation between the agreement value and the circle rate is more than 20%.

Legislative amendments in this regard shall be proposed in due course.

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