A gorgeous river on which the setting sun looks just resplendent and which creates a fantabulous view for you to wake up to every morning. Doesn’t it sound like the stuff that dreams are made of? Well, riverfront homes are fast becoming a reality in many Indian cities and states with developers offering these exclusive properties to discerning and passionate buyers. If you’re among the lucky lot that can afford to shell out more for a riverfront home in your city, you should certainly relish the prospect while adopting some caution at the same time.
Why is this so? Recently, the Supreme Court of India issued its directive for the demolition of not less than 5 residential apartment complexes in Kerala’s Ernakulam district on account of their violating CRZ (Coastal Regulations Zone) regulations. This has led to several queries being raised about the awareness of homebuyers at these apartments regarding such rules. The order for demolition of the complexes within a month at Marad came after the KSCZMA (Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority) appealed to the apex court. After the verdict came out, many owners of flats in these complexes have stated on record that they were clueless regarding developers flouting these regulations and that they were living in these homes for close to 10 years.
The Supreme Court had stated in its order that the State of Kerala cannot take the impact of another severe flood arising from such illegal construction activities. As a result, you should always undertake what we call due diligence (don’t worry it does not involve any sleuthing!) before buying any home that is situated in close proximity to a water body, lake or river.
Things to keep in mind for prospective riverfront home buyers
There are quite a few things that you will have to remember when planning to purchase any riverfront property. Here’s looking at the same:
- There are development regulations for every Indian city and state which are notified by planning authorities. For the state of Karnataka, for instance, the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act has setup the authority while it is the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) which notifies the regulations in the city of Bangalore. In Chennai, it is the CMDA (Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority) which is in charge. Kerala also has multiple bodies including the GCDA (Greater Cochin Development Authority) which operates in Kochi and also the TRIDA (Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority). There is a separate CRZ department courtesy the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority. Be aware of the particular authority which has notified coastal regulations.
- CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zones) should be carefully identified. Checking whether a particular area comes within the CRZ is a must before buying any riverfront home. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has already passed its notification which states that coastal land from the High Tide Line up to 500 metres is the CRZ. The CRZ map can be used for reference in a particular State or professional help can be taken with regard to finding out the category of CRZ for a particular land parcel.
- Building permits should also be carefully scanned by homebuyers including the location where the project has been proposed for development and whether that comes in the CRZ and so on. Most people do not see things beyond the title and buyers should always see whether developers have requisite permits for development on the specific area in question.
- Legal advice is often handy since buyers can get information regarding a particular property online in addition to CRZ maps and so on. Buyers should always do research thoroughly on the reputation of the developer and property details prior to taking a final decision.
- The title, development plan and everything else should be scrutinized and verified by a professional lawyer. Post receiving the lawyer’s approval, homebuyers can go ahead with the purchase.
- Remember that developers flout CRZ regulations at times since they feel that they can get away by spending some extra money.
Other aspects to be careful about
These are some of the legal and other vital aspects that you need to be aware of when it comes to buying a riverfront property. Now, when it comes to overall quality, you should also be cautious. Check out the frontage that is on offer. Many a time, a so-called riverfront apartment does not have adequate frontage for a river across the border of the property. This impacts the view as well since you ought to have a clear view of the waterfront that you are paying extra for. Also compare the pricing since similar properties in the neighbourhood are expected to be priced lower as compared to those with waterfront views. While this is a normal development, go for a logical price instead of being driven purely by emotion.
Also check whether the apartment complex or home is situated on land which has a portion of any wetland or ecologically sensitive area. This is vital for taking the right decision. Take professional assistance in this regard. Also check for the structural quality of the building and materials used in order to withstand moisture and damp along with the overall measures taken to safeguard against situations like excessive rainfall and high tides.