Real estate transactions in India are complex and involve a lot of legalities and paperwork. With the introduction of new Indian real estate laws, like RERA, there are certain procedures to be followed and steps to be taken in case of grievances.
A real estate lawyer can help you negotiate this chaos and also provide useful insights to help you in your home buying process. In this article, we explore what exactly lawyers for real estate do and where one can find their services.
Who are Lawyers of Real Estate?
A Real Estate Lawyer in India is a certified professional who oversees all real estate transactions involving real estate law. They are responsible for putting together and reviewing legal documents for real estate transactions and negotiating their terms and conditions. They do everything from conducting a property title search to resolving any disputes related to real estate. They have to make title search certificates as per client requirements and check for any pending litigation on a property.
Real Estate Lawyers are expected to have a thorough knowledge of all Indian real estate laws including the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA), the Transfer of Property Act, state rules and regulations, Standardized Building Bye-laws, Development Control Rules, West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act (WBHIRA), etc.
What do Lawyers for Real Estate do?
Lawyers for Real Estate carry out the following functions
- Advise their clients on various real estate related matters.
- They draft documents like MOUs, lease agreements, leave and license agreements, etc.
- Real Estate Lawyers can also be employed in law firms, government firms or public departments, RERA departments in state governments, or real estate companies.
- Detailed due-diligence ranging from conducting a title search, vetting share certificates and ownership documents to overseeing and registering the sale of the property.
- Carry out intricate regulatory and compliance-related services in accordance with changing laws.
- Dispute resolution and settlements in the district and higher courts.
When should a Home Buyer hire a Lawyer for Real Estate?
Home Buyers should hire a Lawyer for Real Estate to help them negotiate all the paperwork involved in a real estate transaction to make sure everything is legal and above board. The following functions should be performed by a Real Estate Lawyer for a Home Buyer:
Review the Title of Property
A Lawyer for Real Estate will make sure that the seller has clear and transferable ownership right over the property that he or she is selling. There should be no pending litigation on the property and the title should be transferable. This will be verified by the lawyer on review of the deed or deeds in case of a chain of multiple ownership of the property. The lawyer will confirm the information in the title deed by checking with authorities such as the Public Index at the municipal office, the local registration office, the land reform office and the land revenue office.
The lawyer will ensure that the property does not have any encumbrance on it and that it has not been charged as security against any loan by the seller. Unless all encumbrances and charges are cleared, a property cannot be transferred to the buyer. The lawyer will also make sure that there is no pending litigation, a notice of requisition, or notice of acquisition against the property. If any such issues exist, the transfer of a property becomes null and void.
Search for Statutory Approvals
A lawyer for real estate will make sure that all necessary approvals required for the transfer of property have been obtained from relevant authorities before the sale of the property can commence. These approvals include clearances by government departments such as the land development authority, planning authority, environmental authority, income tax department, etc.
A real estate lawyer will be aware that extra precautions are required to be taken for properties related to trusts, minors, widows, and lunatics as defined under Indian real estate law. Extra precautions are also required when dealing with properties owned by people under religion or area that is governed under different personal laws.
Dealing with Power of Attorney
It is a common practice for developments to be constructed on plots of land belonging to different owners under Power of Attorney. A real estate lawyer will keep in mind the precautions to take while dealing with one or multiple power of attorneys on the sale of a property.
Preparing Sale Documents
Lawyers for real estate are responsible for drafting carefully the various legal documents involved in buying and selling property. These documents include:
- Sale Agreement – the primary real estate legal document between a buyer and a seller enumerating the applicable terms and conditions. Breach of contract by either party is grounds for legal action.
- Conveyance Deed – a conveyance deed transfers the title, ownership and rights over a property from the buyer to the seller. The lawyers of both parties must carefully check the conveyance deed before it can be approved and signed.
- Registration – after the sale of property and transfer of ownership, the lawyer must register the original deeds with the registration office thus making the transaction legal and binding.
Any disputes arising in the course of the sale of the property will be handled by the real estate lawyers who will keep the best interest of their clients as their priority.
How to Find Real Estate Lawyers?
- Word of Mouth:
The best way to find a lawyer for real estate is through word of mouth. A trusted friend or acquaintance can probably refer you to a real estate lawyer who has successfully managed a real estate transaction for them in the past.
- Online Search:
Another way to find a real estate lawyer is by searching online. But one has to be careful because it is difficult to assess competence. Reviews are a great way to understand a lawyer’s pros and cons.
- BAR Association:
When choosing a lawyer for real estate it is important to choose one who has the required qualifications of a law degree and knowledge pertaining to the law on real estate in your state.
- How do you know if a flat is legal?
The following checklist will help you find out if the flat you are considering is legal:
Approved map of the flat site
Property tax slips
Location in a registered housing society.
We hope this article sheds some light on the importance of hiring a qualified real estate lawyer to ease the process of buying property. For the common man, it is impossible to gain a thorough knowledge of all relevant Indian real estate laws and procedures in their state. But this knowledge is extremely important to make sure that you are not getting duped or getting involved in something illegal. Hiring an expert lawyer is the safest course of action to take to navigate these transactions.