Stamp Duty Refund Process

So things haven’t been as perfect as you would have expected with your registration procedure and to make things worse you have already paid stamp duty to the state. Since you are right now on this page, I will make a wild guess and deduce that you wish to have your stamp duty refunded. Good for you, however, there’s a slight problem, the first thing you need to realize is that your money has already been received by the state government and the second thing is that to get it back from them wouldn’t be any less of a mean feat. So how can you go about it?

The whole of the stamp duty refund procedure could be described into two general steps:

  1. Step 1: Filing a stamp duty refund application.
  2. Step 2: Dedicated follow up.

  • Step 1. Stamp duty refund application (Maharashtra)

To file a stamp duty refund application you have to complete an online procedure and an offline procedure.

Online procedure: To complete the online procedure you could go to state government’s Department of Registration and Stamps website. Complete the form and download or print a copy of completed form.

Offline procedure: To complete the offline procedure for stamp duty refund you will need to download various forms from IGR Maharashtra’s official website like;

  • Application form
  • Jabab
  • Checklist
  • Receipt for the Value of stamps (Two Copies)
  • Affidavit
  • Pratidnyapatra

Besides the aforementioned list you will further need some other documents, they are as following:

  • Photocopy of I.D. (Preferably Pan Card)
  • Original Gras Challan/Simple receipt Challan or ESBTR certificate
  • A draft of the Agreement which you couldn’t register or Cancelled Agreement
  • A cancelled cheque of the account where you wish to receive the refunded stamp duty and registration fee amount

Attach all the downloaded forms and rest of the documents together. Create two more photocopies of all the completed forms and attached documents. One photocopy will be attached with the file you are about to submit, the other photocopy will be served as your acknowledgement.

  • Step 2: Dedicated follow up.

Filing of the stamp duty application is just the beginning and you will need to maintain consistent and dedicated follow-up of the concerned government office. Make sure that no additional requirements are asked of you by the concerned office. Usually there is a deduction of Rs. 1000/- (max) only out of your stamp duty and registration fees and the rest is refunded to you. Sometimes the application is rejected.

Those of you who intend to file stamp duty refund application personally, you could check if you are eligible for refund from here: Are you eligible for stamp duty refund?

I hope that you have been informed about the basics properly and sincerely wish that you do get your Stamp duty & Registration fees amount back.

Was this article useful to you? If you have any queries regarding stamp duty refund procedure, please feel free to contact Sarvesh R by posting comments here.

California out-streaming

I was looking at Census estimates for 2018 this morning (I know, I know, but I also took a nice walk first), and saw that after seven years of positive in-migration of 50,000 per year, we in California had net outmigration of 38,000 between 2017 and 2018.  This reduces the pressure on the housing market by ~ 30,000 units, or 3-4 months of production at current levels.  Some thoughts:

(1) This doubtless explains why the housing market is slowing (and I am sticking with my call of a small price reduction over the next few years).

(2) Perhaps this reflects a tipping point–we have just become too expensive as a state, regardless of the economic productivity here.

(3) Perhaps also this reflects that policy hostility toward immigrants is really mattering.  California has long had domestic outmigration, but had more than enough foreign migration to make up for it.  This is no longer true.

It is particularly striking that this is happening at a time when there are lots of jobs in California.

Why Home insurance is extremely important in India?

Jammu and Kashmir floods have been devastating to say the least. Many people have lost their lives. Businesses including restaurants, Shikaras, tourism, small workshops have been razed. Agricultural land has been eroded. Houses including the contents of a household have been damaged. The floods in Jammu and Kashmir have been the worst in over half a century.

Well, there could be man-made reasons such as aggressive construction, & lax regulations for this great disaster, however, one cannot take away the fact that it was a horrendous natural disaster partly assisted by man-made actions.

The focus of the state and central government is to rescue the people and then focus on relief work. We must congratulate Armed forces for their stupendous work for saving Thousands of lives. Food is being provided to the flood victims, Medicare facilities have been augmented.

However, to bring back the normalcy would take months, maybe year or two. The government has announced relief packages including financial assistance. However, one wonders, what will happen to the damaged houses and the contents of the houses? Will these be recovered? In such a scenario, home insurance would have been of great help. We are not sure, if home insurance was a common practice in Jammu and Kashmir.

Home insurance is extremely useful for people living in areas that are prone to the risks of floods, earthquakes or burglaries?

Home insurance can cover losses to the structure and contents of one’s home from any natural or man-made calamity. The disasters that can be insured against are fire, earthquakes, storms, cyclones, tempests, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or inundation, lightning strike, explosion, landslides, impact by vehicles or aircraft, and bursting or overflowing of water tanks and pipes. However, care needs to be taken that only the cost of structure is insured and not the cost of land.

Mainly two types of home insurance policies are available in India:

Insuring the building or building structure is important since it protects the policy holder against inevitable losses in case the insured building is destroyed or debilitated in any natural or man-made calamities.
Contents insurance under home insurance plans includes protection to movable goods, possessions or contents in the house; anything that is not a fixed part of the home, for example appliances, electronic goods, furniture and clothing etc.

Home Insurance can be extremely useful for an NRI who is living far away from his/her property. In case of an NRI, his/her property is usually managed by a Property Management Company who specializes in NRI Property Management Services and such companies can advise an NRI to opt for home insurance.

Find below the detailed info about Home insurance in India including the
claim process, benefits of home insurance, and companies that offer
home insurance in India.

How to Deal With Difficult Tenants

Every landlord’s goal is to have ideal tenants who always pay rent on time, properly maintain their residence, follow the rules, and continuously renew their lease. Unfortunately, being a landlord involves dealing with all types of tenants, not just exceptionally great ones. Even by following a strict screening process and writing stringent lease agreements, you will inevitably come across difficult tenants at some point, such as those who: 

  • Fail to pay rent on time 
  • Damage property 
  • Sublet without your permission 
  • Cause general issues 

Difficult tenants can bring harm to your reputation and business. In Massachusetts, being a landlord is especially a challenge because the laws and rules are nearly all slanted in the tenant’s favor. Fortunately, if you have a solid plan in advance to prepare yourself for troublesome tenants, you can handle tough situations smoothly and prevent problems from spiraling out of control. Taking the time to learn the following important legal knowledge will help you address any future negative situations with troublesome tenants:

1. Tenants not Paying Rent on Time 

When addressing tenants who are behind on their rent payments, you must always maintain composure and professionalism. Communicate with the tenant in person and in writing, reminding them of the consequences of paying rent late, including any late fees. Always save written documentation in case you need to bring the case to collections. 

In Massachusetts, the grace period for a renter must be clearly defined in the lease agreement, including when, where, and how the payment must be made. A landlord cannot begin the eviction process within the grace period defined in the lease. Late fees are also required to be defined in the lease agreement. According to Massachusetts laws, late fees and/or interest charges may not begin until 30 days after the rent payment is due. If the grace period expires and no payment is made, the landlord can begin the eviction process. Landlords are required to first provide you with 14 days “Notice to Quit”. If the tenant makes a payment within these 14 days, the landlord can no longer continue the eviction process. 

2. Tenants Suddenly Abandoning their Lease

When you find out one of your tenants has suddenly abandoned their apartment and moved out, it’s important to understand the law on property abandonment. You have the legal right to pursue unpaid rent and any additional fees the security deposit does not cover. Ensure that you document all efforts made to communicate with the tenant and keep receipts of any necessary repairs that were made. If your efforts to collect the rent back turn out unsuccessful, you may file your case with small claims court or hire a collection agency to track down your tenant. Consider reporting the tenant to all major credit bureaus, which will negatively impact their ability to secure another apartment rental. 

3. Property Damage 

If your property has been accidentally or purposely damaged, you must first asses the damages and figure out repair costs. Discuss restitution with the tenant and listen to their side of the story. If the property damage is minor, landlords have the power to retain the security deposit to cover any damages incurred by the tenant. Also consider asking your tenants to purchase renter’s insurance, it’s extremely affordable and prevents many major problems. 

4. Creates a General Nuisance 

Occasionally you will run across renters who break rules, accidentally or purposely. Examples of common troublesome behavior includes sneaking pets into apartments which are not pet friendly, or having large parties which cause noise complaints and legal worries. Whatever the case is, always begin by confronting the tenant in a respectable and kind manner. Ensure you go over the lease agreement terms and address any concerns or confusions they may have. A responsible property manager should always have an eviction clause in your lease agreement to protect yourself from troublesome situations that persist. 

Overall, having a clear-cut system to handle troublesome tenants will save yourself many headaches and legal troubles. Take the time to prepare yourself and educate yourself on property laws, which will allow you to conduct yourself in a confident and efficient manner. Remember that taking the time and investment to conduct background checks and credit checks before signing a lease often prevents many problems. 

Rising Seas Are Lowering Massachusetts Home Values

New reports show that rising sea levels are drastically lowering Massachusetts property values. Boston’s Seaport hasn’t been affected by flooding this year like it was at the start of 2018, however new reports have come out displaying how rising seas are hurting New England property values. The report, first published by New York-based First Street Foundation, a non-profit that studies rising sea levels, revealed that New England homes have dropped more than $400M in value due to tidal flooding and rising sea levels.

First Street Foundation studied 2.5 million properties throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine coast lines, ultimately determining sea levels had accounted for $403.1M in home price depreciation between 2005 and 2017. Massachusetts faced the greatest amount of property loss, with an estimated $273.4 in lost value. Furthermore, property values are expected to continue decreasing from rising sea levels, unless adaptation and precautionary measures are being taken to stop it. The study stated that homes next to, but not yet in, flood prone areas are still highly susceptible to the damages and depreciating home values brought along from flooding and water damage.

Currently, Boston real estate leaders are going through several storm resiliency studies to determine the best way to prevent $80B of liable commercial real estate from getting damaged by regular flooding in the future. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh revealed a comprehensive plan in October that requested more private-public partnerships to build and protect the city around rising sea levels and flood damage.

What is the impact of Interest (Repo) rates on Housing & Housing Prices Appreciation in various cities in India? Is there any direct relationship?

Ok, everyone including the real estate developers, builders’ apex bodies such as CREDAI, brokerage houses, and other related industries are shouting from the roof tops for interest rate cuts to revive the demand in realty sector. Every time there is a review of monetary policy by RBI, numerous articles in leading newspapers are published on how the rate cuts can boost demand and bring back fence sitting customers in investing in real estate in India. However, RBI has resisted such calls and instead has focused on bringing down the inflation. Now that, inflation has come down, can we expect rate cuts? Mr. Raghuram Rajan knows it best. Let’s leave it to him and his team at RBI.

But, let’s explore, is there any merit in the builder’s argument for reducing the interest rates? Will rate cuts boost demand?

For that, we need to examine the housing price appreciation in various cities across India and the impact of repo rates on housing price appreciation.

Let’s go one by one.

  • Appreciation in Housing prices across India

As can be seen from below graph, the pace of housing price appreciation has slowed down since 2010. What does it suggest? Well, it suggests, that demand has been falling gradually since 2010. End-users or investors are postponing their decision to invest in real estate. Assuming influx of new housing supply to be constant from 2010 to 2014.

Repo rates have increased from 5% in March 2010 to 8% now. Repo rates are rates at which RBI (central bank) lends money to banks or housing finance companies.

  • Impact of increase in repo rates on housing price appreciation

This graph tells the whole story. As the repo rates started moving up from 2010 to 2014, the housing price appreciation started to come down. In 2010, most cities witnessed substantial appreciation in housing prices with Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai appreciated upwards of 30%. Whereas in 2014, the highest price appreciation was witnessed in Pune at mere 3.88%.

While rate cuts will certainly bring back customers to market and we may see improved activity in real estate investment. However, just like demand waned gradually from 2010 to 2014, similarly, demand will pick up gradually and we may see the full potential somewhere in 2017.