Cambodian property insiders have welcomed a new measure that reinforces the government’s requirement that all commercial land sales and development projects must be registered with the proper authorities.
The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction announced on Tuesday that all land development activities must be approved by the authorities in advance.
The ministry said the current trend of selling off parcels of land or subdividing it, is inefficient and often conducted without approval.
The measure reinforces a previous directive signed by the minister, Chea Sophara, on May 11 that was aimed at promoting proper land management and ensuring the sustainability, balance and efficiency of land development and urban planning.
The parkas mandated that any land development project bigger than 30,000sqm must have a permit from the ministry, while projects smaller or equal to the figure must receive a permission letter from the city or provincial authorities.
Projects of less than 5,000sqm must have the approval of the town or district authorities.
The move comes as the practice of selling off subdivided parcels of land is booming across Cambodia, property experts told The Post.
Mong Martin, the owner of a land sale project in Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district, has more than 7ha being subdivided for sale. He said the same business model is happening everywhere in the country.
Martin said his business did not seek permission from the authorities before selling land. He said he only asked for recognition at the district level so that customers would have land titles after closing the sale.
“I submit a document to the local authorities to ask for a land title when someone agrees to buy it,” he said. Even so, he said his business will comply with the government’s requirements.
“If the ministry issues instructions of what to do, I will follow them. As a businessman, we need win-win solutions between owners, customers, and state,” he said.
Ket Votdong, the owner of the Phoumthan SuoSdey Property Co in Kampong Speu province’s Thpong district, said the proper registration will protect customers from fraud.
“The prakas on land development is very important because it will contribute to better land management in Cambodia.
“When something goes wrong, we often run to the law to help, so in order to avoid the problem, everyone should obey the law,” he said.
Leang Bora, who is seeking to invest in land for resale, said if the government is going to require registration, the procedure should be easy.
“I hope that seeking permission from the government doesn’t cost a lot or take a long time,” he said.
The ministry’s secretary of state, Pen Sophal, said the measure would help mitigate many negative factors that have emerged as the property market has boomed.
He warned that legal action will be taken against any landowner who split up plots of land to sell without proper permission or those who cheat customers in unregistered land deals.