Taipei City’s Department of Urban Development yesterday promised to inspect construction projects in the fifth rezoning district in Neihu (內湖) after New Party Taipei City councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) lashed out at the city government for ignoring the illegal sale of office complexes as residential apartments.
The city government planned Neihu’s fifth rezoning district with an aim to promote industrial and business developments in the area, and city regulations on land use state that buildings in that zone cannot be used for residential purposes.
Of the 13 completed office complexes in the district’s east side, eight have been sold by construction firms as luxurious residential apartments. To avoid inspection from the city government, construction companies stated in the sales contracts that the change of the designs was made upon the request of clients, which shifted the blame of the illegal action onto the home owners, according to Wang.
“These major construction companies played tricks to avoid any responsibilities and the people who paid tens of millions [of dollars] to buy the luxurious apartments will have to take full responsibility for the illegal acts. If the city government continues to ignore the phenomenon, the district will be turned into the largest illegal residential area in Taipei,” she said at a press conference at the Taipei City Council.
She slammed the city government for failing to conduct inspections in rezoning districts around the city over the last five years and urged the department to exercise its authority and implement related regulations.
Wang Li-kuo (汪禮國), a divisional chief in the department, promised to start a city-wide inspection on the use of office building complexes in rezoning districts and will instruct construction firms to state clearly in real-estate advertisements that the buildings cannot be purchased or rented for residential use.
If the illegal construction of residential apartments is discovered, the construction company or apartment owners responsible may face fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000, he said.
The department will also ask construction firms to pay an advance deposit and offer assurances that its construction projects would only be used for industrial or business purposes, he said.