Industry Views

Decrypting Indian Regulations for Alternative Investment

May 30, 2024
5 mins read
Alternative Investment

Investing in commercial real estate has gained significant traction among Indian investors looking to diversify their portfolios and achieve stable, long-term returns. However, navigating the regulatory landscape for commercial real estate investments can be complex. This blog aims to demystify these regulations and provide clarity for investors interested in exploring the best alternative investments as compared to traditional investments in India, specifically in commercial real estate.

Understanding Alternative Investments

Alternative investments encompass a broad range of asset classes that fall outside the conventional categories. These can include private equity, hedge fund, venture capital, real estate, commodities, and even collectables like art and wine. These alternative investment options are often characterised by their potential for higher returns, a lower correlation with traditional markets, and unique risk profiles.

Exploring Commercial Real Estate as an Alternate Investment

Commercial real estate (CRE) includes properties used for business purposes such as office buildings, retail spaces, industrial warehouses, and multi-family residential buildings. These assets are attractive for their potential to generate regular rental income and appreciate over time, offering a hedge against inflation and market volatility as compared to traditional assets.

Regulatory Framework for AIF Investment in India

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) play pivotal roles in regulating commercial real estate investments. These regulations ensure transparency, protect investor interests, and promote sustainable development.

Key Regulations for Commercial Real Estate Investments

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA)

  • Implemented in 2016, RERA is designed to protect buyers and boost investments in the real estate sector. Key provisions include:
  • Registration: All commercial real estate projects must register with RERA. This includes providing detailed project plans, timelines, and financial statements.
  • Transparency: Promoters must disclose all project details, including land status, approvals, and agreements, on the RERA website. This ensures transparency and allows investors to make informed decisions.
  • Accountability: RERA mandates that developers deposit 70% of the project funds in a separate escrow account, ensuring that the money is used solely for project development.
  • Dispute Resolution: RERA provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between developers and investors, ensuring timely redressal of grievances.

SEBI Regulations

SEBI's regulations primarily govern Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which are investment vehicles that allow individuals to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate. There is a growing interest in Small and Medium Real Estate Investment Trust (SM REIT) tailored to provide investment opportunities in smaller, more accessible real estate projects. Key regulations include:

  • Registration: SM REITs must register with SEBI and comply with its regulatory framework, ensuring they operate transparently and efficiently.
  • Investment Restrictions: SM REITs are required to invest at least 80% of their assets in income-generating properties. They can only invest up to 20% in developmental properties, mortgages, or other real estate activities.
  • Disclosure Requirements: SM REITs must adhere to stringent disclosure norms, providing regular updates to SEBI and investors about their financials, portfolio performance, and risk management practices.
  • Leverage and Borrowing: SM REITs are allowed to use leverage but must comply with SEBI’s guidelines on risk management and prudential norms.

Taxation of Commercial Real Estate Investments

Taxation is a crucial aspect that investors need to understand. The tax treatment of commercial real estate investments in India varies based on the investment structure and the nature of the income generated.

  • Direct Investment: Income from rental properties is taxed as income from house property. Investors can claim deductions for interest on loans, property tax, and depreciation, reducing their taxable income.
  • SM REITs: Income distributed by SM REITs is taxed in the hands of the investors. Dividends received from SM REITs are tax-exempt, but interest income and capital gains are taxable at the applicable rates.

Key Considerations for Investors

Due Diligence

Conduct thorough due diligence before investing in commercial real estate. Evaluate the property’s location, tenant quality, lease agreements, and potential for appreciation. It's also essential to understand the regulatory compliance status and adherence to RERA and SEBI guidelines.

Risk and Return Profile

Commercial real estate investments typically offer higher returns compared to residential properties, but they also come with higher risks. Assess the specific risks associated with the property, such as market risk, liquidity risk, and tenant risk. Ensure the potential returns align with your investment objectives and risk tolerance.


Commercial real estate investments often come with lower liquidity compared to other asset classes. Be prepared for longer investment horizons and limited exit options. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the investment’s lock-in period and redemption policies.


Diversification is a key benefit of commercial real estate investments. They can enhance your portfolio’s risk-adjusted returns by reducing overall volatility. However, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced approach and not over-allocate to a single property or type of commercial real estate.

How Strata Can Help

At Strata, we specialise in offering the best alternative investments in India, providing investors with access to high-quality commercial real estate opportunities. Our platform simplifies the investment process, offering detailed information and analytics to help you make informed decisions. Whether you’re looking to invest in office spaces, retail properties, or industrial assets, Strata provides a transparent and secure platform to meet your investment needs.

Why Choose Strata?

Expertise: Our team of seasoned professionals brings deep expertise in commercial real estate investments, ensuring you receive the best advice and opportunities.
Transparency: We prioritise transparency in all our dealings, providing you with comprehensive insights into your investments.

Accessibility: Our platform is designed to be user-friendly, making it easy for you to explore, invest, and manage your commercial real estate investments.
Regulatory Compliance: We ensure all our offerings comply with RERA and SEBI regulations, providing you with peace of mind and confidence in your investments.

Parting Thoughts

Navigating the regulatory landscape for commercial real estate investments in India can be complex, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can make informed decisions that align with your financial goals. By understanding RERA and SEBI regulations and leveraging platforms like Strata, you can access the best alternative investments in India, specifically in commercial real estate, diversifying your portfolio and potentially enhancing your returns.

Investing in commercial real estate offers exciting opportunities, but it’s essential to approach it with diligence and a clear understanding of the regulatory framework. With Strata, you have a trusted partner to guide you through the process, ensuring your investments are compliant, transparent, and aligned with your financial aspirations. Explore the world of commercial real estate investments with confidence and discover the potential they hold for your investment portfolio.

By focusing on commercial real estate, you are tapping into one of the most stable and lucrative alternate investments in India. Strata is here to help you navigate this journey, making commercial real estate a key component of your investment strategy with better portfolio diversification. 

For more information on commercial real estate as an alternative investment and more options to diversify your portfolio, feel free to reach out to our CRE experts at Strata!

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