MOI’s mandatory building inspection plan draws mixed reactions

A proposal by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) to make safety inspections of buildings 30 years or older mandatory has attracted mixed opinions.

The ministry said Wednesday in a press release that it is mulling amendments to the Building Act to mandate that old buildings must receive certification for earthquake resistance. The bill is expected to be submitted during the current legislative session.

Given the fact that about 45 percent of a total of 8.44 million registered residential housing units in Taiwan are 30 or more years old, the ministry is mulling law amendments to make sure safety standards are adhered to, Deputy Interior Minister Hua Ching-chun (???) said Wednesday during a seminar.

The proposed new regulations stipulate that old houses of a certain age must have a housing health and safety rating report, with the aim of providing potential home buyers with transparent information about housing conditions so that they can make well- informed choices, according to Hua.

However, the new rules do not ban transactions of homes without such a safety inspection report, Hua said.

The proposal received positive reactions from Chang Chin-oh (???), a professor in the Department of Land Economics at National Chengchi University, who said that the measure will help accelerate urban renewal and improve home safety.

However, it has drawn a backlash from the real estate brokerage industry. Lee Tong-rong (???), chairman of real estate portal GigaHouse, said it is not the right time to introduce the proposal, because it is expected to adversely impact property sales amid a market downturn.

Meanwhile, Eastern Realty Chairman Wang Ying-chieh (???) also said that the new measure could significantly drive down second-hand housing transactions and property values.

Wang added that supplementary measures, such as who should shoulder the fees for the housing health and safety checks, should be mapped out before pushing the law amendments.

In response, Interior Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (???) said Thursday that the proposed law revisions are being deliberated to address concerns over the structural safety of buildings in Taiwan, which is in a quake-prone region. The proposal is still under consideration and is not expected to affect property transactions, Yeh added.

Also, Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (???) said the policy has yet to mature.

Hua said that the policy is still in the development process and may still require further adjustments.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel