Condo Law impasse could spur new draft

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will resume discussion of a controversial draft Condominium Law on August 10, according to Amyotha Hluttaw representative U Phone Myint Aung.

The draft law was first introduced to the Pyithu Hluttaw in November 2012. It was expected to be passed in 2013 but remains in limbo two years later, as ministers within the two houses of parliament have failed to reach an agreement on its content.

The law is expected to be finalised this year, but is still being considered by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Bill Joint Committee, said Daw Khin Mi Mi Htwe, deputy director at the Department of Urban and Housing Development under the Ministry of Construction.

“The law will not be enacted until it has been approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw,” she said. “Currently the responsible parties are discussing the main four issues that have divided parliament.”

The four issues are: whether land used for building condominiums should be designated as collective land, whether foreigners should be eligible to buy condominium units, whether developers should be allowed to sell units before a project is complete, and whether foreign sales should be limited to units higher than the sixth floor.

To try to solve the impasse between the two houses over these issues, the committee is discussing the draft with members of parliament, developers and the relevant government departments, said Daw Khin Mi Mi Htwe.

According to U Phone Myint Aung, this may lead to a new draft law.

“There was no vote on the draft law yet in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw because the Speaker [U Thura Shwe Mann] decided to reconsider it,” he said.

“They are discussing it again, and may come out with a new draft because the two parliaments are divided.”

The draft was rewritten before it was submitted to the Pyithu Hluttaw in June 2014 because some aspects of the bill were not in agreement with the law, said U Saw Hla Htun, representative of Chaung Oo township, Sagaing Region, in the Pyithu Hluttaw, at the time.

Developers want to sell their condominiums to foreigners and are hoping that this part of the draft law will be approved, said U Tha Htay, chair of the Myanmar Constructions Entrepreneur Association (MCEA).

“In the [current] draft, developers would be able to sell around 60 percent of condos to foreigners. The developers want this, because if they can sell to international buyers, the market will be better,” he said, adding that developers want the Condominium Law to be passed quickly.

Sales of condominium units have markedly slowed since the end of last year, due to a number of factors including uncertainty about the election and a flight to the US dollar. The pool of buyers onshore is small and foreigners are currently forbidden from owning property under Myanmar law.

Source: Myanmar Times

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