Proposed law to reduce minimum voting rights for reconstruction

The number of aging apartment buildings in Japan that need to be rebuilt in the near future is growing at a rapid pace, yet actual reconstruction projects are seriously lagging.

These projects are frequently stalled as the body-corporate meetings can take up to 10 years before any agreement is reached. This is due in part to the laws which require over 80% of apartment owners to agree to reconstruction. Older buildings tend to have older residents who are happy to stay where they are and don’t want to relocate to temporary accommodation for 3 years while awaiting their new home. Other setbacks include a lack of funds for the project and owners with low incomes who cannot afford to take on any additional financial burdens.

The government has just announced plans to revise the sectional ownership laws relating to the reconstruction of old condominiums. The proposal will reduce the voting ratio from four-fifths (80%) to two-thirds, which means two-thirds of the owners must agree to to reconstruction for it to go ahead.

Decisions regarding repairs to the common areas has also been reduced from three-quarters to a simple majority vote.

This bill is expected to be presented to the Diet in 2013. If passed, it should help to speed up some of the reconstruction projects.

Source: The Nikkei Shimbun, January 4, 2011.

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