Condo Draft Law Ready for Parliament This Session: Official

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 26 May 2014

RANGOON— A condominium draft law will be submitted to Burmese lawmakers during the upcoming Parliament session, a government official says.

The draft law—written by the Ministry of Construction with assistance from international and local experts—allows foreigners to own certain apartment units while also giving all apartment owners more control over their property, according to Aye Aye Myint, director of the ministry’s Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development.

After Parliament convenes again on Wednesday, lawmakers will analyze the draft law before sending back recommendations to the ministry. The president will also make recommendations.

“It might be approved this year,” Aye Aye Myint told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

If enacted, the condominium draft law would allow foreigners to own no more than 40 percent of apartments in any given condominium building, and it would restrict them to apartments on the sixth floor or above, Aye Aye Myint said.

She said the draft law was a major departure from the 1987 Transfer of Immovable Property Restriction Law, which gives land owners—rather than apartment owners—more control over properties. Under the old law, if a land owner decides to tear down a building, the apartment owners have no room for recourse.

“There are many condominiums here, but owners can’t officially own their apartment,” she said of the current situation.

Moe Thida, assistant director of the Urban Planning Department, also under the Ministry of Construction, said the draft law would be enforced in major cities.

“After this law has been approved, Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw are required to follow it. Small cities will not have the management committees that are in big cities,” she said.

The draft law calls for an executive committee in each condominium block to approve proposals for renovations and minor repairs to the interiors of units. The committee would also make decisions about the use of common space and social activities, while approving or denying requests to mortgage a property or allow foreigners to buy a unit. Unit owners would vote to elect members of the executive committee.

Many condominium blocks currently have executive committees that perform similar functions, but this is not required in the 1987 land law.

The draft law requires at least one acre of land per condominium, although buildings can be constructed on less land with permission from the Ministry of Construction. It requires land to be registered as common land, with apartment owners each having a stake.

“We do not allow foreigners to own land or apartments according to the 1987 land law, but with the new condominium law, we would allow them to own land because of the common land rule,” Aye Aye Myint said. “We have to consider many things, including how to protect the interests of local people.”

Developers in Rangoon are expected to construct more properties if the draft law passes, potentially helping to reduce the high real estate prices.