Click your way through property services

You can get a lot of housing-related government services done online

If you are a home owner or considering buying one, dealing with government agencies to get documents, make payments or file complaints is a hassle that might be worrying you. But in the last few years, at least a few of the functions have been moved online to ease the process.

Property is a State subject and hence the departments that deal with land and houses, fees and rules differ from State to State. Be sure to check the applicable website. States also provide information in regional languages. For example, in Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh, the documents are in Hindi. Some others States such as Tamil Nadu provide information in Tamil and English.

Get documents

Many State governments let you view and print land records online. Uttarakhand, for example, gives information such as the size of the land, for all areas including rural ones. In Rajasthan, you can view and print a Jamabandi document for any piece of land online. The time of your obtaining the document is printed for reference.

Some States such as Tamil Nadu provide other documents as well. You can view patta copy, A-Register Extract and the extract from the Town Survey Land Register (TSLR) document for a given survey number and location including taluk and block. In Karnataka you can view Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (for agricultural land), mutation register and status.

In Maharashtra, the Mahabhulekh website provides land record documents (known as 7/12 or Satbara Utara) and property card (Malmatta Patrak), which gives the record of land ownership history.

In Kerala, you can search for property details including owner information and any dues to be paid, at the Sanchaya website by keying in the property ID.

Verify property

Some property-related verifications can also be done digitally. For example, in West Bengal, you can check if a given land is owned privately or by the government, based on the land records. In Haryana, you can search for court records that provide information on whether it has been disposed, attached or stayed. This can be used to verify if the property is clear of any court issues.

You can also go online to get an encumbrance certificate (EC) which gives information on the monetary and legal liability of the property. It is important to verify this before buying land, and is required by banks for a loan. In Tamil Nadu, you can fill out a form with property details such as survey number, sub-division, zone, district, village and the Sub Register Office it belongs to, when applying for EC. The system generates a reference number which can be used to collect the document at the Sub-Register Office. There is also an option to get it delivered by post.

Other services

Many States have the facility to pay your property taxes online. In Karnataka, you can pay taxes and notify any alterations to the property (such as change in area, tenancy change) online.

You can also initiate the process of changing records with a few clicks. In West Bengal, for example, you can apply for mutation (change of ownership) by filling out a form online. Likewise, you can also apply for conversion of land use, from, say, agricultural to residential.

Other government permissions can also be sought digitally. In Karnataka, if you wish to purchase agricultural land for industrial purposes, you can directly raise a request using the project details. Once the process is completed, you can also get a copy of the permission order electronically. If you want to book an appointment to register a property, Haryana lets you check available slots in the next 60 days and book online.

With the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), nearly all the States have a portal with a list of registered projects and agents. The sites provide detailed information on the developer and the project including any pending issues or cases.

You can also look up data such as RERA complaints filed and their current status including questions raised and judgement.

This is very handy when you have an issue with a developer or, better yet, to understand problem areas and avoid it ahead of time.

You can also file your complaints online. Typically, information such as name, contact information and details of the issue and supporting documents and payment are required.

The amount varies with State — many including Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, charge ₹1,000 while some such as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra charge ₹5,000. When you get a judgement, you can also file for an appeal, if needed, by paying the required fees online.

The writer is an independent financial consultant

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