Real estate law in the works
Industry bodies call for new legislation to lift professional standards and to protect the rights of buyers, sellers and agents in Myanmar’s real estate sector.
MYANMAR needs a real estate services law to bolster public confidence in the sector and to allow practitioners to cooperate – and compete – with regional counterparts, industry figures say.
However, the special commission tasked with assessing legal reform needs said a draft proposal submitted by the Myanmar Real Estate Services Association (MRESA), a UMFCCI-affiliated industry body, would have to be taken back to the drawing board.
Speaking at a press conference on September 12, officials from MRESA said the adoption of a law regulating their industry would improve professional standards, as well as provide for brokers operating increasingly in other ASEAN countries.
“The services of real estate agents and customers needs a policy framework to help ensure the good conduct of business. The Philippines has a Real Estate Services Act and Singapore has an Estate Agent Act, so that agencies, agents and brokers in those ASEAN countries are licenced professionals who enjoy public confidence,” said MRESA chair U Khin Maung Than.
MRESA said existing legislation, like the Transfer of Property Law and the Landlord and Tenant Law, regulated the sector, but falls short when it comes to protecting the rights of agents, buyers and sellers, and laying down dispute resolution procedures.
“The only way to resolve disputes is to rely on the sales contract, and that is not enough. It’s time we had a law, which other countries already have,” MRESA vice chair U Than Oo said.
The industry body said it has submitted a draft proposal to a parliamentary commission for review.
Legal Affairs and Special Cases Commission vice chair U Ko Ko Naing said it was agreed that there needed to be an updated law governing the real estate sector, but that further consultation with official industry bodies would be required.
“We [already] met with three associations, Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw city development committees, the Ministry of Construction, and the attorney-general to discuss drafting the law,” he told The Myanmar Times.
The Commission’s decision has been met with relief from the two other UMFCCI-affiliated real estate bodies, the Yangon Real Estate Entrepreneur Association (YREEA) and the Mandalay Real Estate Service Association.
U Saing Kong Naung, YREEA chair, said he hopes the commission’s future consultations will be more inclusive.
“There couldn’t be a law [drafted] by only MRESA … Three associations [have] got official licences,” he said, adding that private brokers and experts could also be consulted.
“[Once all the] relevant authorities agree, the commission will form a Bill Joint Committee to draft a bill for submission to the Union parliament,” U Ko Ko Naing said.
MRESA’s lawyer Daw Khin Aye Mu said the industry body’s draft proposal submission was an attempt by the organisation to be proactive, and that it hadn’t been their intention to box out the other associations.
“We’re doing what we think is best for the industry,” she said.
Real estate agents discuss floor plans.