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Property developer fined for illegally demolishing private house

Property developer fined for illegally demolishing private house

Taipei, May 30 (CNA) The New Taipei city government decided Monday to issue a NT$90,000 (US$2,757) fine to a property development company after the company illegally tore down a private house in the city's Sanchong district the previous day without the owner's knowledge.

The city government said it will not allow the company to start work on a development project in the area before public safety can be ensured and did not rule out revoking the developer's business license if the deadline for starting work expires.

Meanwhile, it added that it will reject property projects submitted by the company for review and will consider putting the company on a blacklist, which would prohibit it from bidding on the city government's urban renewal projects.

The company launched a property renovation project covering an area of 150 pings (about 495 square meters) in Sanchong, where 13 residential units were situated, with the owners of 11 units agreeing to the renovation, while the other two rejected the rebuilding plan due to the unacceptable low level of compensation for demolishing their houses, including the owner of the demolished building, surnamed Lin.

According to Lin, he was told by one of his neighbors on the telephone that the home in which he had lived for 40 years had been torn down when he was out for lunch with his family Sunday during a surprise raid by the construction company.

Lin's three-story house occupied an area of about 7 pings and the first story was made from concrete blocks, while the second and third stories were built with makeshift sheet metal.

Lin said that his father bought the building about 60 years ago when he moved from southern Taiwan to the north.

Until their house was pulled down, Lin, his wife and three children were living there.

"We have only ownership rights of the building, but not the land," Lin said. However, the loss cannot possibly be estimated, he went on, because there are many things that money cannot buy.

Lin also said he presently has no other choice but to accept shelter arrangements provided by the city government.

According to the city government, since Lin did not get his house registered, it was deemed an illegal building.

However, the government said that while the development company applied for a construction license, it did not apply for a permit to start the construction work.

Noting that only the government has the authority to enforce the demolition of illegal buildings, the city government said it could fine the company for illegally tearing down the house and order it to stop the demolition work in accordance with the Law of Architecture.

A lawyer said that the developer could face up to five years in jail for destroying, damaging, or rendering useless a thing belonging to another based on the Criminal Code. (By Sunrise Huang, Bien Chen-feng, Wang Chao-yu and Evelyn Kao)

Updated : 2022-05-18 18:09 GMT+08:00