MahaRERA and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Collaborate To Identify Erring Developers, Utilise Artificial Intelligence To Find Violations

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Tikam Shekhawat & Mubarak Ansari

Pune/Mumbai, 15th February 2024: The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has collaborated with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to identify developers advertising projects without registration number and QR code.

ASCI is a voluntary self-regulatory organisation in the advertising sector committed to protection of consumer interests across media of newspapers, television channels, social media, websites etc.

MahaRERA has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ASCI to protect homebuyer’s interests. MahaRERA’s Administrative Officer Vasant Vani and ASCI’s Chief Executive Officer Manisha Kapoor are signatories of the same.

As per the agreement, Artificial Intelligence will be utilised to detect advertisements published without MahaRERA registration number and QR code. For this, a core group will be created to track, monitor and evaluate such advertisements and eventually bring it to the notice of MahaRERA.

Since last year, MahaRERA has been initiating suo motu action against advertisements published without a registration number and QR code. The ambit is also being expanded on to the new age media apart from the traditional ones. MahaRERA is of the view that the area of action should be expanded further and include all advertisement sources/ medium. Hence, a decision was taken to collaborate with ASCI.

As per the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, any project (including plots) of over 500 square meters or 8 flats must be registered with the MahaRERA. Without the registration number, no developer can publicise or market or sell any property in the project.

Starting August 1, MahaRERA has also made it mandatory to include QR code in every advertisement published by the developer. Through QR code, all information pertaining to the project is made accessible available with a single click.

Prior to investing in any residential project, and to safeguard the amount, it is necessary to check if MahaRERA registration number along with the QR code is also publicised. MahaRERA has adopted a “zero tolerance” approach to ensure all the advertisements related to any real estate project have a registration number and a QR code.

MahaRERA Chairman Ajoy Mehta said, “MahaRERA has succeeded in instilling confidence for a housing project to have a MahaRERA registration number, which is a sign of safe investment. MahaRERA is trying its best to ensure that this trust does not get breached. Developers are not permitted to advertise unless the project is registered with MahaRERA. Whenever we have observed any advertisements without a registration number, we have initiated ex officio penal action against such erring developers.”

He added, “Now, having a QR code on the advertisements is also mandatory, to enable home buyers access project’s detailed information at a single click. We cannot ignore the new age media, where newer avenues of advertising are getting created. Thus, we are taking help of ASCI, a self-regulatory organisation and experts in the field to identify and prevent such misleading or incomplete advertisements across any medium. The latest move will definitely help in curbing such misleading and incorrect advertisements.”