Construction Boom Raises Risk of Break-Ins, Security Tips for Your Home or Business
The strong growth in the economy has largely coincided with the construction boom in Phnom Penh and all over Cambodia.
However, a recent trend that is symptomatic of the burgeoning amount of construction across Cambodia is the increase in house and business break-ins proximate to construction sites, said John Muller, Managing Director of Global Security Solutions (GSS) Cambodia.
Although statistics are hard to come by, Muller, a security professional with almost 30 years of experience in South East Asia, and who follows this issue closely has noted a rise around construction sites where workers have ample time to survey the movements of occupants, determine their wealth and assess easy access points. He also noted that recently there have been various cases of increasingly bold break-ins where people are entering while occupants sleep and even entering bedrooms to take high value items.
Sihanoukville Real Estate Market Report
The Sihanoukville real estate market offers great variety to property seekers, Cambodia’s foremost beach-side resort destination.
Take a look at Universal Real estate range of seaside properties on the Sihanoukville real estate market, perfect for launching tourism ventures or securing the beach front view of you and your family’s dreams. Check out the latest breed of luxury condominiums shooting up in the Sihanoukville real estate market, serviced apartments and opulent french inspired villas located in the central city; or, if your budget’s a bit smaller, the host of affordable apartments, flats and borey houses outside of the inner-city are plentiful on the Sihanoukville real estate market. If you are looking for prime retail space on the Sihanoukville real estate market, industrial property or serviced offices for your business, Sihanoukville has a growing number of offerings and more and more new developments are appearing every day. The proximity of the city to the Sihanoukville deep sea port is attracting industrial investors and manufacturers at a rate previously unseen. The city is compact and manageable for a first time buyer, with very encouraging rules for foreign investors.
Commercial Property on the Sihanoukville Real Estate Market:
As Cambodia’s only port city, industry is booming in Sihanoukville of late as companies increasingly choose to open processing, manufacturing and assembly operations as near as possible to the deep sea port in order to ease costs of import and export. The labour market in Sihanoukville is also cheaper than in Phnom Penh, and supposedly easier to retain. This sector will only expand as the port is set to increase its capacity hugely by 2020. Offshore oil also exists in Sihanoukville. Read more about that here.
Resort/Retail Properties on the Sihanoukville Real Estate Market:
The islands off the coast of Sihanoukville are being sold to large scale resort developers, and a number of luxury hoteliers are also being granted exclusive property rights to large stretches of Sihanoukville’s beaches. These rights are being awarded despite often being already occupied by smaller hospitalities operators and local residents. What this means for real estate investors in these tourism hot spots is that you should be especially careful purchasing beachside or island property in Sihanoukville, as any new beach or island based business or home appears unable to totally guarantee their land title. There is apparently a risk that that land could be sold again without your consent, or possibly even an appropriate payout, as a number of occupants and vendors have already experienced in the last ten years. One way to protect against this risk is to always ensure due diligence when checking the legitimacy of titles and/or lease agreements when investing in these popular areas, or, alternatively, prospective Sihanoukville retailers can branch away from the beach hot spots where property titles are more dependable.
Office Space on the Sihanoukville Real Estate Market:
Serviced offices hardly exist in the Sihanoukville real estate market, such as the type available in Phnom Penh. Villas are widely available for low prices, however, and easily converted to business purposes. Standards of building quality and connected utilities and infrastructure vary hugely across the Sihanoukville real estate market, particularly with older buildings such as villas. So before renting or purchasing any property make sure it meets all of your necessary infrastructural criteria. Read more about that here.
Residential Property on the Sihanoukville Real Estate Market:
There are a variety of apartments for rent in the Sihanoukville real estate market, available for short or long term leases, or purchase. Recently, some new, high-end condominium developments are also appearing. This means opportunities now exist for foreigners to own property in Sihanoukville.
There are a various array of grounded houses/villas for rent in Sihanoukville also. Location will influence the rental or purchase price dramatically, as high property prices continue to rise around tourism and industrial epicenters of the Sihanoukville real estate market.
You can find them all here on Sihanoukville Real Estate.com. kh Begin your search for the best real estate in town by communicating with Sihanoukville’s most professional agents right here through our online portal. Just use the search engine to enter in your criteria and you will be presented with a large list of Sihanoukville real estate properties for sale all over the various suburbs of Sihanoukville, or tailor your search to the specific neighborhood of your choice. By using Realestate.com.kh intuitive online features, such as the property alert tool, you can simply select the real estate properties that best suit your requirements – meaning you won’t waste time viewing properties that don’t suit you, your family or your business! Every time there are new listings that meet your criteria you will receive a notification by email, allowing you to be one of the first to see. There is no easier way for finding the right Sihanoukville property for your needs!
Hard Title Deed is a legal document or certificate that proves the ownership of property. A real estate title deed contains a detailed description of the property and its location and the name of the owner (or owners) of the property. It may also specify any legal rights or easements attached to the property or the ownership of the property.
There are different types of title deeds in Cambodia, ranging from deeds produced at the local level – village or commune – up to national level ownership registration. Different types of title deeds may have differing degrees of security attached to them. Deeds produced at the national level are far more secure than those produced at the local level. Locally-produced deeds are generally acceptable to Cambodian citizens. Foreigners investing in Cambodia, however, will seldom feel secure with less than what’s referred to as a ‘hard title’ registered at the national level.
Cambodia’s cadastral system is operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and its main purpose is to establish and record the legal ownership of land. The cadastral system in Cambodia is a title registration system, covering the whole country, that identifies legal land parcels and records public and private ownership rights. It is hoped that the ongoing legal registration of all of Cambodia’s land will help to resolve the majority of the country’s ownership disputes and therefore reduce instances of displacement and land-grabbing.
In terms of title deeds, one consequence of the ongoing cadastral survey will be a massive improvement in the security attached to ownership documentation. Title deeds, produced in areas that have already been surveyed by the Department of Cadastre and Geography, are regarded as some of the most secure.
LMAP is a similar multi-donor project, also run under the remit of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, that aims to help improve administrative procedures for recording and transferring ownership. The project has operated in a number of provinces resulting in accurate ownership records and title deeds with improved security of tenure. Between the cadastral survey and LMAP, significant areas of the country have already been surveyed, but full registration of all Cambodia’s land will probably take some years to complete.
How a foreigner registers the ownership of real estate they buy, depends on which purchase method the foreigner chooses to use.
If a foreigner chooses to form a corporation in order to invest in property, the company name would appear on the title deed and the ownership of the property would be recorded at the national government level. This is a very safe method of recording ownership.
The other method of land ownership involves the use of the name of a Cambodian citizen on the title deed. This deed should also be recorded at the national level, though it is not absolutely necessary. This option requires creating a lease back arrangement. The lease is recorded at the local level and serves to legalize and protect the foreigner’s investment.
As with all matters involving purchasing real estate in Cambodia, S.R advises its clients to seek independent legal advice before entering into a sales or purchase transaction. Lease back arrangements can be accomplished without legal services but the client will feel safer with the advice of a good lawyer.
Sihanoukville is located in the south of Cambodia. It is 185 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh in a small Peninsula and Bahia. Beaches are the main feature that attracts national and foreign visitors. A small archipelago is embedded by the Sihanoukville Bahia off its south and west coast. The commercial and international port is located at the north west. The limits of its territory. North and West Koh Kong Province. East Kampot province and south Gulf of Thailand Beaches the line the west contour of the city from north to south are victory Beach, Lamherkey Beach, Koh Pos Beach, Interdependent Beach, Sokha Beach, Serendipity Beach, Ochheurteal Beach and Otres Beach. The most popular beaches are Ochhuerteal, Sokha, Independence and Victory.
Tourists can take water taxis to the nearby islands from diving snorkeling, and game fishing. The peninsula is separated from the central plains of Cambodia by the Damrie mountains, especially the Bok kor The city is also besides the Ream National park(210km2) and it includes the islands of Koh Thmei and Koh Sei Being a rather small province, Sihanoukville has two main urban centers: the port itself and the Prey Nob District, 46 kilometers from Sihanoukville down town to the north. The city is connected to Phnom Penh to Phnom Penh by National Road No.4, to Kampot Province by NR 3 and to Koh Kong Province. There are also sea routes to Koh Kong, Kampot, Vietnam and Thailand from Sihanoukville Port centre, The town centre is located on a hill roughly in the centre of the peninsula and is seen as a district area from tourism promotion. It contains the banks, bus station and market, although the post office is some distance toward the port.
How to buy property in Cambodia
Can foreigners buy Real Estate in Cambodia?
Yes, but with some restrictions…
Legislation passed at the beginning of April 2010 allows foreigners to own property in Cambodian buildings above the ground floor. This works well for apartments in condominiums or even older buildings in cities but not for a villa in a residential area except if you can manage to buy the upper floor.
The following options show how it is possible to buy almost anything.
Buying Real Property in Cambodia
Under Cambodian Land Law, foreign nationals cannot hold a 100% stake in real property within the Kingdom (except for the case above mentioned). However, legal mechanisms and documentation exist that allow foreigners to fully control the purchase, sale and use of real property in which they have invested, and benefit fully from any profits they make.
There are basically 5 Options for buying real estate and details of these follow.
Option 1: Forming a Company with a Cambodian Citizen
The safest method by which foreign nationals can purchase real property within Cambodia is to form a limited company in partnership with a Cambodian citizen. Any real property purchased for investment is then registered in the name of the company. The company must have a minimum 51% Cambodian shareholding. However, careful allocation of shares, and careful drafting of the rights attached to share certificates can ensure the foreigner’s full control of the company and its assets. Additional mortgage, security and Power of Attorney documents can also be created to accompany ownership documentation. Following this procedure ensures security for the foreigner’s investment.
Under this Option, the foreigner is expected to pay 100% of the purchase cost of real property plus any construction costs. If the real property is later sold, 100% of the sale price goes directly to the foreigner. This includes any profit accrued as a result of the property increasing in value. This issue should be detailed carefully in any company and/or sales documentation.
Of course the choice of your partners is of prime importance.
Option 2: Purchase plus long-term Rental
This method allows foreign nationals to purchase real property and register the Title Deed in the name of a Cambodian citizen. The foreigner and the Cambodian then enter into a long-term rental agreement by which the Cambodian citizen leases the property back to the foreigner. Lease periods can last up to 99 years.
The problem with this method, and why it has few takers, is the psychological attachment to freehold ‘ownership’. Most foreign investors expect full ‘ownership’ of something they buy. The principal of renting back property that has already been purchased is an anathema to most foreigners.
However, correct drafting of the terms of the property holding and lease arrangements make this a reasonably secure method of controlling real property in Cambodia. Under this method, the foreigner may sell the property at any time and keep 100% of the revenue from the sale. The Cambodian citizen is not permitted to disagree with or obstruct the sale. The foreigner retains the original copy of the new Title Deed as a security precaution: sale of real property is impossible without the original copy of the Title Deed.
Though the foreigner can sell the property at any time, the Cambodian citizen’s signature or thumbprint is generally required before any sale can take place. A good working relationship between both parties is therefore very important.
Option 3: Registering Real Property with a Cambodian Citizen
This method is very similar to Option 2 but requires 100% trust in the Cambodian citizen.
Foreign nationals have rights, under the Kingdom’s Statutes, to choose a Cambodian in whose name their Title Deed is registered. That is, a foreign national can purchase property and register the purchased property in the name of the Cambodian citizen.
Once the Title Deed is transferred to the Cambodian citizen, the foreigner retains possession of the new Title Deed. This is a security precaution that protects the foreigner’s interests by preventing the Cambodian citizen selling the land or property: sales are impossible without the Title Deed. Transferring the Cambodian’s rights to the foreigner via a Mortgage or Lease Agreement provides additional security for the foreigner’s investment.
Copies of the Title Deed and any Mortgage or Lease Agreements must be registered with the Department of Provincial Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, as well as the appropriate District and central government departments that handle land registry. Most importantly, a copy of the Land Title and any Mortgage or Lease Agreements must be lodged with the Cadastral Land Registry Office.
The Cambodian citizen in whose name the Title is registered does not need to be resident in Cambodia. For example, the Title can be registered with a Cambodian citizen living in the USA or Australia. The Cambodian citizen must be able to prove Cambodian nationality.
Option 4: Marriage to a Cambodian National
Foreign buyers who are married to a Cambodian national can register real property using the name of their wife/husband on the Title Deed. It is also possible for a foreign national married to a Cambodian citizen and resident in the country for a long period to apply for Cambodian citizenship. In the event of citizenship being granted, Cambodian Law holds that land can be registered in the names of both parties. Neither partner can subsequently sell the land or property without mutual agreement.
In the event of divorce or separation, division of the land or property is dependent on the conditions under which divorce or separation takes place, and the decision of any court ruling or arbitration relating to the divorce. It is often source of conflict between the divorcees.
Option 5: Acquisition of Honorary Cambodian Citizenship
A foreigner may be granted honorary Cambodian citizenship if he or she donates a significant sum of money to the Royal Government of Cambodia for the purposes of benefiting the people of Cambodia. Foreigners who have made a special impact or rendered exceptional help to the Kingdom may also be granted this honor in recognition of their expertise or altruism.
One consequence of being granted honorary citizenship is that it becomes possible for a foreign national to acquire a 100% right of ownership over real property purchased within the Kingdom. This arrangement is recognized by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction for the Kingdom of Cambodia, and by the Royal Government.
Honorary citizenship is recognized by the Royal Government of Cambodia as a legitimate means of purchasing real property within the Kingdom but it does not affect the foreigner’s original nationality or citizenship in any way.
How to set up a company in Cambodia
Find your house
Rent or Buy
How to start new business in Cambodia
The following are the requirements for forming a company in Cambodia:
Deposit the required initial capital (minimum of CR2 Million or US$474.21) in any authorized bank. The bank will then issue a certificate of the deposit.
Check the uniqueness of the company name at the Ministry of Commerce. This process costs about US$10 and takes five days to complete.
Obtain a company registration form (CIB 01R) from the Cambodian Investment Board. This may also be downloaded from the CIB website – http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh, and costs US$5-US$10.
Companies are required to have company seals. These are usually made by the Ministry of Commerce but the company may choose to have it done elsewhere. The seal costs about US$15.
An abstract of the company organization documents, such as the by-laws, memorandum and articles of association, must be published in a recognized public newspaper. This should contain the following:
Name of the company
Form of the company
Summary of business objectives
Term of the company
Total capital in cash
Name and family name, occupation, nationality, address of a director and/or auditor
The location where the company is to be registered
Publication will cost around US$42 and will take seven days to be released. At least two copies of the approval of the newspaper and application documents must be secured for applying for registration.
Enrollment in the Commercial Register is required within one month of establishment and/or 30 days prior to the start of commercial operations. The following documents are required to be submitted to the Registrar at the Ministry of Commerce:
Copies of Registration Application Form
Memorandum and Articles of Association (2 copies)
Statement of Conformity (2 copies
Application for publication in the authorized newspaper (2 copies)
Copies of identification cards or passports of directors and shareholders (2 copies)
Photos of directors and shareholders (2 copies)
Declaration of non-guilty of directors (2 copies)
Decision of share contribution (2 copies)
The registration documents must then be stamped and approved by the Phnom Penh Tax Department. This can be accomplished in one day. The fee is US$26.
Tax registration is required at the Real Regime Tax Office.
The Ministry of Labor must be notified when starting operation and hiring or dismissing employees.