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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Property law changes in pipeline

Property law changes in pipeline

THE government is set allow foreign citizens to own up to 80 percent of private units in co-owned buildings as part of a new sub-decree due to be approved within the next month, an official from the Land Ministry said Wednesday.

“In one week or a month’s time, the government will approve a sub-decree for an 80 [percent] limit for property that a foreigner can own,” Nun Pheany, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, told the Post.

The sub-decree is linked to the foreign property ownership law, which was passed earlier this year, she said. The law permits foreigners to own property above the ground floor of a building that is not within 30 kilometres of a border.

Despite early drafts of the law stipulating that foreigners would be able to own only 49 percent of a complex, the final law passed left the exact proportion open-ended, stating: “A sub-decree shall determine the proportion and percentage of private units that can be owned by foreigners.”
A sub-decree is generally considered easier than a law to review.

Nun Pheany said that the sub-decree is awaiting approval by the Council of Ministers. Council spokesman Phay Siphan could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Sung Bonna, president and chief executive officer of the Bonna Realty Group, welcomed the move on Wednesday.

He said that setting a cap on foreigner ownership would take some of the uncertainty out of investing in the Kingdom’s property market.

He added that although the Cambodian real estate market has yet to recover from the fallout of the global economic crisis, there are positive signs for recovery in the Kingdom’s urban centres.

He added that so far this year, the number of real estate transactions is on the rise – which he believes is a positive sign for the industry.
“Now, it’s good time to buy and sell property in any town in Cambodia,” he said.

The foreign property ownership law is intended to “guarantee to protect rights of legal holders in apartments or condominiums for co-ownership. It also will facilitate management work of co-ownership of apartments and co-owners who live in the apartments or condominiums”.

The law has nine chapters and 24 articles and covers all types of apartments and condominiums across the country.

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