Cabinet to discuss easing Real Estate Brokerage Bill

  • By Crystal Hsu / Staff Reporter

Cabinet is due to discuss revisions to land rights and real estate brokerage laws this week with lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party, to add an exclusion clause to a proposed ban on the transfer of pre-sale housing contracts.

The concession came after industry representatives protested the proposed ban, saying it would punish buyers who have to terminate contracts for financial, work or family reasons.

The Council of Ministers is due to hold a final discussion on the bill drafted by the Ministry of the Interior which aims to curb short-term property speculation, in particular on the transfer of presale housing contracts, which require small sums money and are often accused of pushing up housing costs.

Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Taipei Times

The exclusion clause would give the department the ability to make exceptions for transfers necessitated by unforeseen and drastic changes in a buyer’s financial situation or occupation, or for other reasons.

Estate agents would not be allowed to assist with transfers and perpetrators could be fined NT$500,000 to 3 million ($17,419 to $104,511), the bill says.

Currently, exceptions are limited to immediate family members and second-degree relatives of purchasers.

Cabinet is expected to approve the bill on Thursday next week in its latest attempt to curb the unfair promotion of pre-sale housing projects and newly completed residential complexes.

The bill would then be forwarded to the legislature for consideration before coming into force.

Policymakers said a proposed fine of up to NT$50 million for unfair trade practices would stand, but a jail term of up to three years would be scrapped.

The unfair business practices stipulated in the bill include the use of parents, employees and other hired persons to queue, make deposits or sign purchase contracts to create the illusion of exceptional sales. .

They would also cover transactions and price gouging conducted on the internet, social media and other channels through fictitious accounts, group selling or monopoly tactics to make a profit, he said.

Misleading disclosures of transaction prices, sales volumes and market rates would also be subject to fines, as would promotional events using false data.

The bill would subject purchases of pre-sale housing projects by corporations to regulatory approval, as corporations have increasingly replaced individuals as the primary property speculators.

The Department of Finance said the exclusion clause would not weaken punitive property taxes by deterring property speculation.

The measures would complement each other, he said.

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