The Housing Movement 2.0 yesterday vowed to push for legislative reform, with the support of lawmakers across party lines, after wrapping up a month-long pop-up exhibition to protest the rising cost of homeownership in Taipei.
The housing advocacy group has joined forces with like-minded lawmakers to push property tax reforms and legal protections for tenants and home buyers ahead of next year’s local elections and the 2024 presidential and legislative elections, it told a news conference.
Proposed property tax reforms are to include provisions for a tax on unoccupied residential properties, incentives for their sale or rent, and raising rental income tax, the group said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Protection for tenants and home buyers would include a mandate for the separate listing of buildings and amenities, and making a landlord-tenant law that includes an arbitration mechanism and penalties for infringing on consumer rights, it said.
The group’s pop-up exhibition, which ran from Jan. 5 to yesterday, revolved around a mock real-estate agency in downtown Taipei that advertises “deals” for tiny apartments with high price tags.
The agency’s name, “Celestial Dragons House,” is a reference to the fictitious ultra-privileged elite class that functioned as a backdrop to the hit manga series One Piece by Japanese creator Eiichiro Oda.
“Rent is a huge economic burden on young people,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiang Yung-chang (江永昌) said. “Saying that the problem is inherited does not excuse the government’s inaction.”
DPP Legislator Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴) said “the moment is right” to push for deeper housing reforms, adding that legislative efforts should focus on implementing affordable housing and taxing rent-derived income.
Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that housing justice campaigners are protesting the inequity of the nation’s real-estate market, which is “the most unfair in the world.”
“The TPP is in full agreement with the Housing Movement’s direction of reform... We will give our unreserved support to legislative efforts from any major party that has the courage to act,” he said.
TPP Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) said that rising property prices have pushed young people out of the homeownership market and forced them to rely exclusively on rented properties, making the regulation of the real-estate industry an urgent issue.
“In 2019, about 1.02 million households in this country lived in rented units, and there are an estimated 2.68 million people renting an apartment right now, in addition to students,” she said. “The government has to take tenants’ rights seriously.”
“As the passage of regulations for verified real-estate values in the most recent legislative session suggests, reform is possible if the ruling party musters its will,” New Power Party Think Tank executive director Lee Chao-li (李兆立) was quoted by online outlet Newstalk as saying.
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