Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Premier seeks changes to ‘lenient’ land act revisions

LACK OF COMMUNICATION:The premier said the Executive Yuan’s opinion was not taken into account when a Jan. 3 amendment to the Land Administration Agent Act was passed

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Premier Jiang Yi-huah, left, speaks with Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan before starting a press conference on a recent amendment to the Land Administration Agent Act in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday called on the Legislative Yuan to reconsider an amendment to the Land Administration Agent Act (地政士法), which was enacted on Jan. 3, citing concerns about how it would affect the registration system of actual prices of real estate.

The registry — which enters the actual property selling price, rather than the asking price, onto the Ministry of the Interior’s Web site — was implemented in August 2012 in an effort to combat rising real-estate prices.

According to current regulations, land administration agents should register real-estate transaction details within 30 days of the exchange of ownership.

The Jan. 3 amendment stated that agents would only be fined if they quote the wrong transaction price or delay their quotes and do not rectify their mistake after notification.

After the amendment, the act gave one to two weeks for agents to register correct prices or to post delayed registrations on the system before they are fined between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, which Jiang said could give rise to the falsification of prices and cause investors to speculate on real estate based on those prices.

With more than 90 percent of the registration of real-estate transactions handled by land administration agents, the leniency offered by the Jan. 3 amendment could adversely affect the system, Jiang said.

The premier said the government has limited manpower and cannot check the 500,000 real-estate transactions per year on an individual basis.

The amendment may result in an increase in delayed quotes, hamstring the speed of transaction rate information and pose a detriment to buyers relying on the system for correct and up-to-date information, Jiang said.

Commenting on the Executive Yuan’s sudden opposition to the amendment, Jiang said the Executive Yuan maintained its opposition to the amendment and has insisted that the registry system be maintained.

However, the opinion of the Executive Yuan had not been taken into consideration by the legislature, which led to the passing of the amendment, Jiang said.

The Executive Yuan was unaware that there were second and third readings in the Legislative Yuan, Jiang said, adding that both bodies should work together to increase communication and avoid similar incidents.

When asked by reporters whether the Executive Yuan’s motion to repeal the amendment was necessary since only seven cases of falsified registrations had come to light, Jiang said the act prior to amendment was largely responsible for that.

Relaxed regulations increase the moral risks as agents or real-estate companies could become complacent or even purposefully falsify prices, Jiang said, adding that there must be precautions in place.

Meanwhile, the premier dismissed suggestions that the proposal had nothing to do with a possible reshuffle of the Cabinet targeting Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源), saying that he was not holding Cabinet members responsible.

Lee was asked by reporters about being sidelined by the premier in the handling the matter and whether he was worried what the premier thought of him, but he said he was unaware of being overlooked and was not in the slightest bit worried.

Lee said that the ministry and the Executive Yuan understood each other perfectly and that it was regrettable that the Legislative Yuan had not taken the ministry’s suggestions into consideration.

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