Implementation of controversial property registration law will be delayed 2 years on Sisi orders

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered has ordered delaying the enforcement of the recent controversial amendments to the real estate law for a period of no less than two years to allow time for public dialogue over the law.

If the new amendments have gone into effect, citizens would have required to register their properties at the Real Estate Registration and Notarisation Authority (RERN) to make any future transactions recognised by the official authorities and be able to install utility services.

President 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.

The new amendments oblige citizens to register their properties at the 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.

Sisi’s directives aim to “provide the opportunity to hold a community dialogue” about the recent changes to the law, the statement added.