Condominiums not covered by Condo Law

Nearly all of Yangon’s recently constructed “condominiums” may not qualify as condominiums under the draft Condominium Law, according to Yangon City Development Committee engineering deputy director U Nay Win.

The draft law has been submitted to the Pyithu Hluttaw, but it stipulates a condo must be built on freehold land or land that was granted to the residents – while most of Yangon’s buildings are on leased land.

“Under the condominium law, residents must be proportional owners of their land,” said U Nay Win. “But most residents of the condos don’t own the land, just the rooms. We cannot regard them all as condos.”

U Nay Win said “condominium” is often being used as a catch-all term for a high-rise with large rooms, and buildings with this label generally do not meet the legal definition.

“People think these buildings will be included in the law, but they are not,” he said. “No recent buildings have followed the condominium law.”

Most so-called “condominiums” have been built on leased government or YCDC land, meaning owners of condo apartments do not own the land it sits on.

Condo owners can face other difficulties if the building is on leased land.

An ageing building that needs to be torn down and rebuilt on leased land will not receive automatic approval to go ahead. New structures in Yangon require YCDC approval, which may not be granted if the property owner objects.

“If they don’t get approval from the owner, they don’t get permission from YCDC,” city officials told The Myanmar Times.

Disputes between the landowner and developer and residents can also occur, as well as the requirement to pay for the lease, the official said.

Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association vice president U Tha Aye said developers want the condominium law to cover those in a building on leased land.

Identifying the difference between owned and leased land can be difficult for residents, he said. He added it was better to purchase a condo located on owned land, but there are relatively few of these in Yangon.

Myanmar Real Estate Service Association (MRESA) general secretary Daw Moh Moh Aung said that developers should be candid about the type of land the building sits on – particularly when foreign investment in condos materialises.

U Nay Win said the draft laws submitted to the Pyithu Hluttaw allow foreigners to own a maximum of 40 percent of a building that is over four stories.

Daw Moh Moh Aung said many of Yangon’s buildings were constructed under built-operate-transfer terms, with an initial lease of 50 years than can be extended twice by 10 years each time.

Source: Myanmar Times

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