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New Law for Housing Sector

The Ministry of Construction has started to draft a housing law to safeguard homeowners' interests.

But it will take a relatively long time to complete the draft for submission to the state's top legislative body, the National People's Congress, an official revealed yesterday in Beijing.

"The new law should focus on protecting the interests of both home owners and real estate investors and developers from home and abroad," said Li Bingren, director of the Department of Policy and Regulation under the Ministry of Construction.

"Our nation's legislative regulations require that we strictly follow all the legislative procedures specified before a law can be approved by the National People's Congress," Li said.

"With the establishment of its market-based economic system and its pending entry into the World Trade Organization, China should ensure that it's laws, including the new housing law, protect the interests of all parties, especially foreigners and non-State investors, who are now being encouraged to take part in almost all areas of the nation's economy," said Li.

Li disclosed that his staff is now consulting law experts, real estate people and ordinary citizens, asking for basic ideas about the law, in addition to having conducted a careful research into the housing laws adopted by different foreign countries.

According to Li, there are some factors that should help China in framing such a law.

China's Constitution, for example, stipulates that the country must protect citizen's homes and other legal property and guarantee the inviolability of home ownership.

"We can also borrow some ideas from other laws and regulations, such as the Real Estate Management Law and the General Principles of Civil Law." Li said.

He noted that both of them stipulate that the country should encourage the development of residential dwellings and safeguard the interests of home buyers and owners.

A source with the ministry said that China had once framed a draft of a housing law during the 1980s but that it had never been approved by the National People's Congress.

Li also stressed the need for other new laws in the housing sector.

"Many laws and regulations in the construction industry are outdated because they were designed for the old planned economy," said Li, adding that new legislation will be the most urgent work facing his ministry in the new economic era.

(China Daily 04/17/2001)

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