Myanmar parliament finally approves foreign ownership law

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The long-awaited Condominium Law should open up the market to overseas buyers

Image credit: Ann Wang (Frontier Myanmar)
Image credit: Ann Wang (Frontier Myanmar)

Myanmar’s Union Parliament finally passed the draft of the Condominium Law that will legally permit foreigners to own up to 40 percent of a condo building, Eleven Myanmar reported.

Under the law, a “condo” is defined as a building with at least six storeys on land measuring 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sqm).

The long-awaited bill was formally approved on 22 January and was officially announced this weekend.

It has been a long road for the Condominium Law, which has disputed between the parliament’s two houses for more than three years, according to Frontier Myanmar.

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While foreigners are legally allowed to buy units not exceeding 40 percent of a condo building, the law stipulates that foreigners are not permitted to “manage” condos, which has raised questions whether they will be allowed to rent out the units or not.

Myanmar Union Parliament on 22 January 2016 | Image credit: Eleven Myanmar
Myanmar Union Parliament on 22 January 2016

Another confusion arose when Khaing Muang Yi, a Lower House MP from Ahlone, told the media: “Condo owners shall have the shared ownership of both the land and apartment. Both contractors and landowners shall give up their shared ownership. Those who buy the apartment will own a proportion of the land and apartment.”

Existing laws in Myanmar prohibit foreign entities to own land.

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Before the parliament passed the bill last Friday, a director of Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) told the Myanmar Times that the Condominum Law could help reverse the decline of foreign investments in the country.

DICA director Daw Mar Lar Myo Nyunt said that the new law would allow foreign investors to “gain access to the real estate market” signaling that the current government was “a reliable partner.”

Further details of the Condominium Law, including floor designation, number of apartments, parking lots, and other building measures, will be announced by the Ministry of Construction.

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