Protecting residential property rights is one giant leap for China

Updated 2016-12-26 09:30:12 Global Times

The government's recent move was set to ease the concerns of homeowners, and more work will be done to establish a related law for the expiration of land use rights, an expert noted on Sunday after Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province released an interim measures on land tenure.

Residents who live in houses with a 20-year tenure do not have to apply for extension when their tenures end, Wang Guanghua, vice minister of the Ministry of Land and Resources, told a press conference on Friday, according to a video posted on the ministry's website. And no fee will be charged for this extension.

In China, a land warrant for residential developments runs for a maximum of 70 years, according to Xinhua.

Extending residential land use rights automatically without a fee is seen as the biggest news of the year. "One small step for Wenzhou, one giant leap for China," according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency on Friday. The move is also in line with the government's intention to protect residents' property rights.

The State Council, China's cabinet, said more work should be done to protect residents' property rights, such as how the law will protect residents after the tenure of their residential properties expires, and how to improve the requisition system of land and residential properties, according to the central government's website.

Properties with a 20-year tenure are considered as part of an unresolved historical issue, such as when the Wenzhou authorities commercialized the city's housing system in the mid-1990s, it cut 70-year land warrants down to 20 years and 40 years for some properties so that the prices could be reduced accordingly, said Yan Yuejin, research director at E-house China R&D Institute.

"More work needs to be done to standardize the registration of land deeds to improve the way of dealing with similar questions," he told the Global Times on Sunday.

For example, after the tenure expires, how much authorities should charge as a land transaction fee and under which circumstances should there be charges are questions that should be thoroughly looked into, Yan noted.

"The process of establishing the policies is expected to take more than three years," he said. "In the meantime, the temporary policies should be cautious," he said.

Other cities, including Jinan and Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province, as well as Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, are dealing with the same issue, Xinhua reported.

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