Status as on- 22/10/2019
E- Commerce has spread its wings to the widest where majority of the transactions are now done online. But the process of E-Commerce has not been so fast as to completely exclude the middlemen involved in such processes. In the real estate sector for example, the middlemen plays a crucial role between the actual buyer and seller of the property. Thus, people in general opt for the conventional practice approaching real estate agents while buying or selling of properties.
What are Online Property Portals?
As the real estate industry is no different from others, where unlike before sellers/facilitators were approached personally for buying and selling of properties, in order to pace up with the changing market trends has ensured the online presence where many realtors now own their specialized web portals providing platforms for buying, selling, leasing of properties. With online portals it is much easier to generate leads on prospective buyers and sellers and closing deals with the estimated cut. Some of the commonly used online property portals includes magic bricks, 99acres, and makaan.com among others.
On a question being raised by a local consumer rights body in Maharashtra, MAHARERA took suo moto action deciding upon the issue of:
Whether web portals can function without prior registration under the (Real Estate Regulation & Development) act, 2016 as required for the real estate agents?
A two-member bench of Maharashtra real estate authority after inviting views from the stakeholders involved held that as online web property portals do more than just provide a platform for advertising the real estate projects, therefore they are well within the definition of real estate agents as provided U/S 2 (z)(m) of RERA, 2016. And ordered the web portals companies to get themselves registered as Real Estate agents under RERA within 2 months of the order. The authority while explaining the order said that-
As the web portals provided for comparative data based on market research, gain in any form would constitute a brokerage, and therefore the activities being performed by them are beyond just advertising. Also the authority observed for portals whose actions remain well within the activity of advertising are not required to get themselves registered under the act and for portals whose area of operation expands nationwide needs to get themselves registered under respective RERA authorities.
It is clear that the online property portals perform varied set of functions other than just advertising, the decision of MAHARERA seems fair as it will make the property portals more accountable for their actions towards the buyers and sellers.
Disclaimer – The above brief is based on the personal interpretation of the verdict and related laws which may differ from person to person. The readers are requested to take expert advice before putting reliance on it. For any clarification, please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.centrik.in