A senior land management ministry official has warned that officials will take action against land dealers who sell unregistered plots amid a market boom.
The warning came as the Ministry of Land Management yesterday held a workshop in Phnom Penh to disseminate a directive on land management.
Speaking to reporters after the workshop, Pen Sophal, a secretary of state at the ministry, said that all land development, including divided plots of land located in land development projects, had to obtain permission from the ministry, provincial officials or from City Hall.
“Regarding the purchase of plots of land, the ministry would like to call on all citizens to check it carefully before buying it to see whether the plots of land are properly registered. If not, this kind of sale is punishable by both the land law and the criminal code,” Mr Sophal said.
He said that according to regulatory standards, both the public and private sector had to abide by the laws. In the case of disobedience, there will be sanctions and fines, he said.
The Ministry’s National Committee for Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction also called on people who wanted to purchase pieces of land to look into whether the plots were legally registered.
Oknha Sear Rithy, chairman of Worldbidge Group, said that selling and buying of plots of land resulted in boon and bane in the future.
Mr Rithy said for the boon, selling and buying plots of land was a culture of sharing for people with low income.
“Some people cannot afford to buy houses in Boreys [a community of houses], but they can buy a small piece of land for building a house,” he said.
Mr Rithy added that for the bane, some businesspeople or companies announced the sale of illegally held plots of unregistered land.
“They get the land without land titles or without being registered by the government because they announce the sale via Facebook. It is then a problem for them in the future,” he said.
Buying plots of land in subdivision projects, with most on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, is becoming increasingly popular for middle-income people, especially newlyweds as the price is more affordable.
Chan Lapy, 28, a Phnom Penh resident, said that some people wanted to own plots of land as much as the rich did.
Ms Lapy said that when the company showed their selling permits and land titles, people will not think too much of any risk in the future because they believe the company.
“For me, I don’t have thousands of dollars to buy a house and a big piece of land due to a meagre income, so I think that a plot of land will be sold profitably in the future,” she said. “We also have our own land and nowadays, companies have special promotions such as selling without paying the first high instalment or paying without interest rates.”
In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the country’s economic situation looked promising after the dissolution of the opposition CNRP.
“This year, since the CNRP was dissolved, the price of land has begun to go up and everything is stable and people say the situation is better after the CNRP disappeared,” Mr Hun Sen said.
In June, land prices in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district surged dramatically due to a number of new development projects in the area, according to the report of VTrust Appraisal.
The report found that land prices in the district surged by 35 percent since 2012, particularly in Dangkao and Choeung Ek communes, noting that these areas are home to a raft of new developments, including ING City and the new international airport.