Individuals cannot privately own land in China but may obtain transferrable land-use rights for a number of years for a fee. Currently, the maximum term for urban land-use rights granted for residential purposes is seventy years. In addition, individuals can privately own residential houses and apartments on the land (“home ownership”), although not the land on which the buildings are situated.
Real estate may be transferred through sale, gift, or other legal means. When real estate is transferred, the land-use rights and home ownership are transferred simultaneously. Restrictions that may apply to the transfer of real estate include prohibiting transfer when the land-use rights are reclaimed by the state in accordance with law, or when the property has not been properly registered and certificates of ownership have not been obtained.
Both urban land-use rights and home ownership are subject to registration. The registration is performed by local authorities at or above the county level; certificates are issued to confirm the rights and ownership.
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