Mandalay city to seize low-cost apartments flipped by owners

The Mandalay City Development Authority will seize apartments that have been resold and re-rented in low-cost housing buildings for squatters, a senior city official has said.

U Kyaw San Myint, a member of the authority, said his office is compiling a list of people occupying the buildings on Strand Road west of Mandalay city.

City workers have also begun clearing illegally built structures in the compound, he said.

“After we compile the list, we’ll evict whomever we find to have re-rented apartments from the original renters, and we’ll seize the apartments that have been resold,” U Kyaw San Myint said on Monday.

The low-cost housing along Strand Road is notorious for being a haven for drug traffickers and users, the committee said, and many of the original renters of these apartments are no longer staying there.

In 2015, the authority built 22 six-storey apartment buildings – each storey with 12 units for a total of 1584 apartments – to accommodate people who were squatting along the banks of the Ayeyarwady River.

The government rented out the apartments through a lottery system for K30,000 (US$20) a month. It also forbade reselling or re-renting them.

The official said his office received information that the apartments were being rented out to drug users for K50,000 to K80,000 a month.

When the authority scrutinised the apartments in 2017, it found that people were living in 920 apartments, 81 apartments were locked and 59 had been resold, Mandalay Mayor U Ye’ Lwin told the regional parliament.

U Kyaw Oo, a member of the parliament, expressed concern that the plan to seize the apartments would adversely affect some innocent tenants.

He suggested an intensified information campaign before the plan is implemented.

“The situation is a little complex here, so we cannot carry out the plan strictly according to the law. There may be some good people who are hurt,” he said.


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