Condominium Law – Foreign investment in Myanmar – proposed amendments
24 Nov

Condominium Law – Foreign investment in Myanmar – proposed amendments

For those who follow our blogs, you will know that we have reported several times on the discussions relating to the proposed Condominium Law in Myanmar. This is the law that, if passed, will allow foreign ownership of land and property. There has been a lot of debate, pressure and hope that the law will soon be passed. In the last few days, revised drafts were reviewed again in the assemblies in Myanmar.

First, we should add some detail on the assemblies and why this law was introduced. The Assembly of the Union Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is the national-level bicameral legislature of Myanmar, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has two assemblies, the Amyotha Hluttaw, the House of Nationalities with 224 seats and the Pyithu Hluttaw, the House of Representatives with 440 seats (a bicameral legislature is one with two separate assemblies, chambers or houses).

The draft Condominium Law bill was first introduced in November 2012 with proposals to allow foreigners to own condominium apartments if they were on the 6th floor or above. Now this November the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Bill Committee published their report on further proposed changes for the Condominium Law. Many had expected the amendments to be accepted in 2013.

However, on two separate occasions earlier this year, the committee has made recommendations for the proposed law to be amended. Clearly, if adopted, any changes would be a strong incentive for foreign investors to invest in Myanmar (there are reports that many have already invested via local contacts and nominees).

The latest report from the committee now states further new proposals and definitions. An apartment is now considered “a place for living or using for other means under the approval of the executive committee”. The version proposed by the Pyithu Hluttaw being “a place for living or doing business”.

The report supports the view of the Pyithu Hluttaw in that land beneath a condominium is seen to be collective at the discretion of the landowner. The view of the Amyotha Hluttaw stated it should be split among apartment owners only with government approval.

The committee clarified the definition of a condominium as “a high-rise residential building on more than 1 acre of land”.

So the main issue remains as to foreigners and their right to own property. However, this debate is now focussing on the percentage of ownership. The Pyithu Hluttaw says not more than 50 percent of units from the sixth floor and above of a condominium should be available for foreign purchasers. The Amyotha Hluttaw says no more than 40 percent.

The definition of a “foreigner” has been tightened as the committee has recommended these words. “Foreigners include those who are allowed to stay by foreign embassy organisations, other organisations and persons that have diplomatic relations with the country; companies or organisations that have signed contracts with the country for joint venture business; or companies or other organisations involved in investment”.

The clause of the Amyotha Hluttaw that allows developers to sell apartments off-plan was removed by the Pyithu Hluttaw but reinstated by the committee.

So, you can see changes are certainly in the frame, subtle but important changes taking place.

This report on events is part of the overall service to clients by FocusCore in Myanmar. Not only to provide you with company support services, but also to advise and help you with local developments and national changes.

Contact us now to hear how your plans can be affected. We can help you with our local information and services so you can fast track your investments in Myanmar with compliance and efficiency.

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