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China enforces new property cooling measures As of March 31st, China’s major cities implemented strict property cooling measures as part of a government crackdown on the overheated property market. The move comes after the government enforced a 20% capital gains tax and higher down payments on second-home buyers earlier in the month. Under the measures, single Beijing residents are prohibited from buying second homes, while the Shanghai municipal government planned to apply greater scrutiny to borrowers who come from other cities and are foreign or divorced. Chongqing and Guangdong are both looking to ensure that the supply of land for housing is not lower than average actual supply of the past fi ve years. [Source: Reuters]

Greece offers residency scheme to foreign investors

In an attempt to revive the real estate industry, Greece will be offering residence to non-EU investors purchasing or renting a property over €250,000. The initiative was voted into law mid-April, after strong demand from Arab, Chinese and Russian investors. The residency plan is valid for fi ve years and open to renewal. It

“China’s major cities: strict property cooling measures as part of a government crackdown”

will enable the holders, their spouses and children under the age of 18 to freely travel in the Schengen area for three consecutive months at a time. The country’s tourism ministry also announced plans to increase the fl ow of senior tourists into Greece. [Source: Business Inquirer]

Short-lived changes to Civil Code of the Russian Federation Federal Law No. 302-FZ on Amendments to Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Part I of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation was adopted at the end of December. The amendments, among other things, abolished the requirement for state registration of lease agreements for “immovable property, buildings, structures and businesses”. This came into effect on 1 March 2013, which led to uncertainty regarding the need to register leases. On 4 March 2013, Federal Law No.21-FZ was adopted. This reinstated the rule that lease agreements must be registered, so the abolition of registering lease agreements actually applied for three days. It could be argued, therefore, that any lease agreements concluded during this timeframe without registration should still be deemed valid. This should be


noted by the relative few acquiring Russian real estate – it can be assumed that people took advantage of the short- lived ‘legal vacuum’. [Source:]

Dubai: Tenants pushing back against landlords raising rents |MAY 2013

debts or not. They include: A new European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS) making it easier for consumers to compare mortgages, new rules for advertising mortgages to include clearer information on the annual percentage rate and tougher criteria for credit assessment of people applying for mortgages. There will also be new competency requirements for mortgage lenders and increased choice for consumers by allowing credit intermediaries to operate across borders. The regulations will have to be signed off by EU member states before they can be fi nalised, and should come into force in mid-2015. [Source: Irish Independent]

Tenants in Dubai are fi ghting against landlords trying to impose illegal rent rises. Rents have already increased by an average of 20% since last year. However, RERA, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, imposes strict rules on increases. Landlords are allowed to raise rents for tenants depending on how far the existing rent is below RERA’s geographic rent index. Those below 25% may not be raised at all. Those between 26-35% can be raised by 5%, between 36-45% by 10%, between 46-55% by 15% and those more than 55% below can be raised by 20%. However, a landlord is required to give at least 90 days’ notice before renewal for any change to rental terms, according to the law. [Source:]

France and Switzerland closer to Inheritance Tax deal French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has announced that the new inheritance tax agreement with Switzerland is due to be signed in May. A new agreement would replace the existing treaty between the two countries, dating from 1953, which was denounced by France last year. An initial revision proposed by France provoked fi erce criticism from Switzerland, who argued that the text brought advantage only to France and none to Switzerland. The new agreement states that the succession and inheritance tax law to be applied is that of the benefi ciary’s country of residence and not the deceased’s, as is currently the case. The revised law will apply from 1 January 2014, following approval by the parliaments of both countries. [Source:]

New EU mortgage rules to stop property bubbles

The European Parliament has agreed a common set of rules on mortgage lending aimed at avoiding housing bubbles. The new rules will tighten controls across the sector and make it easier for lenders to decide whether a borrower will be able to repay their

UK government makes several changes to tax system For the new fi nancial year 2013/14, the UK government made several changes to its tax system. For income tax, the amount of personal allowance has changed for different age groups over 65. The income amount before paying a 40% tax has fallen, while the tax rate for additional rate payers and the tax they pay on dividend income have both been cut. For benefi ts, child benefi t has been frozen, while maternity and paternity pay, job seeker’s allowance, the basic state pension and the minimum income guaranteed by

“Tenants in Dubai are fi ghting against landlords trying to impose illegal rent rises”

the pension credit have all risen. In terms of tax credits, the basic element of working tax credit stays the same, as does the family element of child tax credit, but the child element has been increased. The capital gains tax (CGT) threshold has increased, while the inheritance tax threshold is frozen (and will remain so until April 2018). Council tax for the average band D house has also seen a rise. For full information on the new rates, visit: [Source: The Guardian]

Easier to become an estate agent in Poland

The lower house of Poland’s parliament, the Sejm, has passed a legal regulation aimed at increasing access to 50 professions. It is the fi rst in a planned series of deregulation waves promoted by Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin. In the vote, 368 MPs were in favor of the new law, 59 were against, and one abstained. Support came from coalition partners Civic Platform and Polish People’s Party, as well as from main opposition party Law and

Justice. The new law will make access easier to professions such as notaries, repossession agents, real estate brokers, tour guides or taxi drivers. The justice minister is preparing the deregulation of a further 89 professions in a second law and of 103 professions in another. Currently access to some 380 professions is restricted by stringent requirements and licenses. [Source: Warsaw Business Journal]

Belgium Issues 11,000 Tax Fines For 2012 After 117,000 taxpayers failed to submit a 2012 income tax declaration on time last year, 11,000 now face a fi ne and a potential tax increase of up to 200%. Belgium’s general tax administration sent out reminders in November to taxpayers who failed to fi ll in an income tax return by the date specifi ed, in which they provided a new deadline. According to the Belgian Finance Ministry, 11,000 taxpayers had still not completed their reporting duties by 28 January 2013. The amount of tax increase imposed on individuals will depend on the severity of the offence and whether or not it is a repeat crime. The Finance Ministry has sent out second advice notices to all 117,000 taxpayers, in the case of any further non-reporting issues in this or in subsequent tax years. [Source:]

Turkey: one year residence permits for foreign property owners

In a move to attract further foreign direct investment to the country, the Turkish government is extending residence permits for property owners. Currently, property buyers are subject to tourist visa limitations, where they are only permitted to stay for three months out of every 180 days. The new law will increase the length of stay to one year. This adds to a string of favourable law changes being introduced to ease barriers to investment in the country. Last year saw the Turkish government relax restrictions on the amount of land a foreigner could buy, along with removing reciprocity conditions. The new residency law is expected to come into force in early 2014. [Source:]

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