Assessing Property Relations and Formalizing Condominium Ownership in China

Project: Research

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While it is true that the concept ‘property ownership’ is new to Chinese residents, even more foreign to them is ‘condominium ownership’. A condominium association is a forum whereby owners gather together to solve issues relating to condominium management. This new form of association has been attributed by academics to promote social relationships and democratic governance. The success or failure of these associations much depends on the cooperation among unit owners as well as other stakeholders, namely: developers, local governments, and property rights activists. Much has been said about how these associations may help unit owners advocate their rights and solve disputes in day-to-day operation of condominiums. Yet, Chinese courts are witnessing an increasing trend of disputes between owners and developers. However, there is little said about what law can react to ensure a proper functioning of these associations. It has been suggested that laws need to recognize the cultural variations and local norms in order to create an enforceable and functioning legal institutions. This proposed research aims to examine the unit owner’s needs and the relationship dynamics among the stakeholders, with the ultimate goal to suggest how law should respond to it. This study involves conducting empirical studies at four cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu. The unit owners, developers, local government officials, and property rights activists will be interviewed. They will be questioned on their understanding of property rights, their participation in setting up and operation of the condominium associations, and the impact of the associations have on them. In the end, a legal framework will be proposed based on our research findings.


Project number9041812
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/10/1230/03/17