Unused land faces state seizure
Landlords are being urged to make use of undeveloped land to avoid long-unused properties being seized under the Land Code.
Rachada Dhnadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, said the government can enforce Section 6 of the law, which allows the seizure of privately-owned vacant land left unexploited for 10 consecutive years.
The Land Department's director-general can seek a court order to revoke ownership of documents for unused plots and and declare them state property, she said.
Citing the Land Department, she said there has never been such a court order since the Land Code took effect in 1979. However, land owners are being encouraged to utilise their properties, she said.
According to the deputy spokeswoman, the Interior Ministry has guidelines on how to determine which land plots are considered abandoned.
Under the guidelines, setting up fences around the property or paying a land and building tax do not amount to property utilisation, she said. But land plots designated for living in residential areas are not considered abandoned even if no home is built on the property, she said.
Provincial authorities conduct surveys of land and buildings in their areas in January of every year to get an update of unexploited land and send notifications to owners to speed up land utilisation in three months, she said.
If the plots remain as they are after the deadline, a provincial committee is set up to consider if it will proceed to revoke lands and declare them state property, she said.
The process to retake the property will be handled by the Land Department and the prosecution, she said.
"So land owners are urged to examine and make use of their property. They can check with LandsMaps, an application of the Land Department, around the clock," she said.
Ms Rachada's clarification followed media reports on the enforcement of Section 6 of the Land Code to stimulate utilisation of vacant lands.
In its clarification, the Land Department details Section 6 and steps that will be taken if lands are found unused.