Amendments to give land owners more protection: interior minister

Saturday, June 16, 2012
The China Post

By Joseph Yeh--Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday said that his ministry's proposed amendments to the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例) (URA) will better protect the rights of property owners and curb property speculations.

“The new version (of the URA) is a lot better and more comprehensive than the old one,” Lee told media yesterday when asked to comment on the latest draft amendments to the URA that the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) proposed Thursday.

The proposal was drafted in an effort to eliminate controversies surrounding the urban renewal project in Taipei, which was criticized by some as a tool for property speculations used by real estate companies under the pretense of urban development, Lee added.

All future urban renewal projects have to be approved by a review committee before being carried out to protect the rights of all stakeholders, the minister said.

Lee also responded to local construction companies who raised objections to the changes — they argued that the amendments could make it almost impossible for pushing a renewal project in Taiwan, because the proposed version would require the consent of all land and property owners involved before a project can be approved.

“The new amendment requires 90 percent, not 100 percent of land and property owners involved to express consent before a project can be approved,” he noted.

During a briefing on Thursday, the MOI said 48 out of 67 articles in the current law will be revised, 17 new clauses are to be added, while one article is to be removed.

At present, the URA only offers minimal protection to property owners.

In the draft amendments, the value of property has to be determined by appraisers hired by both the construction firm and the property owners.

In addition, land or property owners will be given more opportunities to express their opposition to a project. The courts will have the final say when there is dispute, the MOI said.

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