Task force targets homebuyers

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, February 23, 2011
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Several government ministries are joining forces to crack down on Beijing residents who try to buy multiple apartments by getting temporarily divorced or taking part in a sham marriage in order to qualify.

Task force targets homebuyers

Task force targets homebuyers.[CFP]

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development will work with public security, taxation, civil affairs and social welfare departments to create a mechanism to determine who is qualified and who is not, the Beijing-based Legal Mirror reported Tuesday.

Couples are not allowed to buy a third home and some have filed for a divorce in order to do so. Single people are not allowed to buy a home if they do not have a Beijing household registration, or hukou.

The departments will share information about the property buyer and those who provide false information in order to buy a property will not be given a permit to do so. A record will also be made on the person's credit file.

Officials in Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau said they intend to solicit additional information from couples seeking a divorce, the paper reported.

The Beijing government announced a series of home buying limitations last week. Those without a Beijing household registration, or hukou, will not be allowed to buy a home unless they have paid social insurance or tax in the capital for five years. Those with a Beijing household registration are not allowed to buy a house if they already own two apartments.

Some local residents said they could easily exploit loopholes in the new plan, the Global Times reported Tuesday. Some said they would divorce in order to buy a third apartment, and "marry" a person with Beijing household registration.

Some also suggested that those without a Beijing hukou could purchase a counterfeit tax statement for 10,000 yuan ($1,519) to prove they are qualified, the Beijing Daily reported.

Wang Hongliang, a professor at the Housing Law Research Center at Tsinghua University, expressed doubts about whether the new effort will work.

"Officials can tell whether the social insurance records are falsified by checking them," Wang said. "But it is a challenge to tell a false marriage or a divorce from a real one."

Wang said that if workers interview a couple's neighbors to determine whether they are truly married or divorced, they could violate some privacy rights in the process.

Qu Xiaoxue, a Beijing saleswoman without a hukou, told the Global Times Tuesday that she may have to consider getting married to buy a home.

"In most cases, we joked about it because we felt we are biased. Without a Beijing hukou, we pay the same amount in taxes as those who have one. Then why we cannot enjoy the same services and rights?" she said.

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