Main opposition plans to challenge constitutionality of real estate regulation laws

SEOUL, The main opposition party said Thursday it will challenge the legality of the three recently signed laws aimed at stabilizing soaring housing prices by better protecting rights of tenants.
The People Power Party (PPP) said it will file a petition with the Constitutional Court against the laws, which took effect on July 31, a day after they were approved at the National Assembly led by the ruling Democratic Party.
The laws guarantee the validity of a house lease contract for up to four years and cap the maximum rent increase at 5 percent in the event of contract renewals.
“The Moon Jae-in administration’s legislation for its real estate policies severely violates the people’s basic rights,” said Rep. Song Seog-jun, chairman of the PPP’s committee advocating for “the normalization of the housing market.”
Calling the package of real estate laws “unconstitutional,” he claimed that the government was infringing upon the people’s privacy and that it was “unacceptable” in a democratic nation.
The legislation came as the government has been trying to cool down the overheated housing market, especially in Seoul and nearby cities, by raising taxes on multiple-home owners and enhancing tenants’ rights. Surging apartment prices have been a major source of public discontent that dragged down the approval ratings of President Moon Jae-in.
In July, two bills — a revision of Housing Lease Protection Act and a revision of the Commercial Building Lease Protection Act — passed the National Assembly, backed predominantly by the DP, which now holds 174 of the 300 assembly seats. The opposition parties boycotted the vote, calling the bills “flawed.”
In August, a batch of bills raising rates of income tax, corporate tax, and property ownership tax was passed, also with DP’s lion’s share of the chamber seats.
The bills raised the property ownership tax for owners of multiple homes from 0.6-3.2 percent to 1.2-6 percent, the corporate tax on companies that own multiple properties from 10 percent to a maximum of 20 percent, and property acquisition tax for people who are given a house worth more than 300 million won (US$255,929) from 3.5 percent to a maximum of 12 percent.
The party argued that the exorbitant rates of property ownership tax was “a grave invasion of personal property rights” and that it was seeking plaintiffs who would join the party for a constitutional appeal.
It also voiced opposition to the government’s plan to establish a real estate supervisory agency, citing potential infringement on personal privacy and freedom.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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