Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered delaying the enforcement of the recent controversial amendments to the real estate law for a period of no less than two years, a presidential statement said on Monday, five days before the law was set to come into force.
El-Sisi held a meeting earlier today with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Justice Minister Omar Marawan, where he entrusted the government with putting forward a new bill to push the enforcement of the newly amended law back for a minimum period of two years.
The new amendments oblige citizens to register their properties at the Real Estate Registration and Notarisation Authority (RERN); otherwise, any future related transactions would not be recognised by official entities, and neither would requests for the installation of water, gas, or electricity services be obliged.
The law, approved by the House last August, is in line with state efforts to inventory real estate properties countrywide and allocate a national ID for each housing unit to prevent any building violations, maximise the value of these properties, and ensure the state’s rights.
Registering properties with the RERN seldom happens nationwide owing to the registration requirements and fees that are deemed by many to be too complicated and expensive.
Property owners already pay a fee of 2.5 percent on property value, known as the Real Estate Disposal Tax, a provision which has been in place since 1939.
Under the Real Estate Registration Law, citizens are required to pay a number of fees, aside from the Real Estate Disposal Tax, in order to register properties with the state. These include registration fees, which are determined based on the property size, and bar syndicate fees, which are up to 1 percent of the property’s value.
The new real estate registration law, known officially as Law 186/2020, has stirred controversy over the past several days as the initially scheduled date of enforcement approached.
El-Sisi’s directives aim to "provide the opportunity to hold a community dialogue" about the recent changes to the law, the statement added.
President El-Sisi suggested during Monday’s meeting collecting a reduced flat fee when properties are registered during the transitory period, based on the property's size and the ownership type, instead of the current tax imposed on real estate transactions.
Prior to El-Sisi's intervention, there were governmental and parliamentary attempts in the works to dispel the controversy, with a bill submitted on Sunday by the cabinet to delay the enforcement of the new law till the end of 2021. The Legislative Committee at the House agreed earlier today in principle to amend the law in accordance with the government's bill.
During Monday's meeting, the justice minister reviewed government efforts to develop and inventory real estate across the country by regulating the issuance of construction permits, removing encroachments on state property, and allowing reconciliation in this respect, in addition to providing housing units for residents of slums areas.
Minister Marawan also said that the government aims to secure citizens' property and maximise their benefits, as well as control the real estate market and put an end to encroachments and slums.