Thursday, August 17, 2017

YCDC to modernise land lease certificates

Yangon City Development Committee is preparing new land lease certificates to stamp out forgeries and reduce land ownership conflicts. Kaung Htet / The Myanmar TimesYangon City Development Committee is preparing new land lease certificates to stamp out forgeries and reduce land ownership conflicts. Kaung Htet / The Myanmar Times

Yangon City Development Committee is preparing new 60-year land lease certificates to stamp out forgeries and make land ownership safer, an official said.

The certificates are being developed by YCDC’s City Planning and Land Administration Department.

“The department is issuing these new land grants because land prices in Yangon are soaring and people are falsifying the old ones, which were last updated in 1992. We want to make them more secure,” a department spokesperson said.

“We started working on the new grants, which will be valid for all 33 townships under the YCDC, in November. But I can’t say exactly when the new leases will be in the hands of the owners,” the spokesperson added.

The official said the new certificates would feature holograms and watermarks to differentiate them from the old papers and make them difficult to forge. However, the spokesperson said news of the impending certificates had already resulted in a surge of about 150 applications a day to replace old versions.

U Sai Khung Noung, the managing director of Sai Khung Noung real estate agency in Tarmwe township, said he welcomed the news that new certificates would be issued.

“A new set of land grants would largely solve the land ownership disputes that are occurring. In this computerised age it’s easy to forge documents – particularly if they are old and have simple designs – and this should be helpful in resolving that issue,” he said.

He added that the new grants would improve public trust in land ownership.

“Land ownership disputes are relatively common in instances when a property is jointly owned by two or more siblings or when the original owner of a property cannot be found. Buyers are extremely wary of such properties and these new certificates should go a long way to resolving this problem, which has worsened since land prices started rising quickly in recent years,” he said.

U Sai Khung Noung suggested that land ownership laws needed to be revised to stop a number of ugly practices that enable land owners to extort money from apartment sellers.

“We tried to sell an apartment in Yankin township in mid-2010 but the land owner demanded 20 percent of the sale price just to sign the ownership transfer papers. The normal fee for this is less than K500,000, which made his demand entirely unreasonable.

“I think the YCDC needs to change these laws to make sure that everybody gets a fair deal,” he said.

U Zaw Zaw, a manager of Unity real estate agency in Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, agreed that the new certificates would make buying property safer.

“The latest version of the land lease certificates should add safety and peace of mind for buyers because they will be much harder to fake,” he said.

He added that in the past, real estate agents had had to spend many hours rigorously checking grants with the City Planning and Land Administration Department, which the new grants should alleviate.

U Ko Ko Lay, a director of Three Friends Construction in Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, said: “This is a positive development for the construction industry because we frequently encounter land ownership problems as a result of faked documents.

“I think this will solve the majority of those problems,” he said.

He added that Latha and Pazundaung townships, both of which are characterised by extremely high land prices and are popular with developers, were where most land ownership disputes were encountered.

U Khin Maung Aye, 36, an apartment owner in Bahan township, said the new certificates would provide a “safer climate” for buyers.

“I think a new land ownership certificate would create a safer climate than the old ones. I think they will also save time by making ownership transfers easier,” he said.

U Khin Maung Aye, who also runs Shwe Kan Myay real estate agency in Bahan township, added: “I own a plot of land in North Dagon township and as soon as these certificates are available I’ll be requesting one from YCDC.”