22 Dec 2016

Foreign homeowner in Fiji criticises land laws

12:35 pm on 22 December 2016

A foreign homeowner in Fiji says they are not prepared to sell their house in a fire sale despite changes to the land laws.

The NH90 flies towards badly hit Koro Island which has had a lot of help since TC Winston

Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

Under amendments to the Land Sales Act residential freehold land within a town or city cannot be sold to a non-resident.

The homeowner, who does not want to be named, said the market for buyers was already limited and the law has now effectively trapped foreign owners.

There are very few foreign residents or Fijian citizens who could afford to buy a property like theirs they said and they have spent a lot of money restoring their house with the intention that if they ever had to sell, it would be an expatriate who could afford it.

The homeowner said other foreign-owned properties on the market are experiencing similar problems and many foreigners who buy land in Fiji do so as their retirement dream and do not have bottomless wells of funds as many Fijians believe.

They said they hope to live out their lives simply and provide employment to Fijians which they might not have otherwise had.

Fiji's deputy Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has said changes to the land sale laws were brought in two years ago in response to concern about what he calls a land grab by foreigners.

He said non-residents were only interested in acquiring freehold land for residential purposes intead of iTaukei land and had left land undeveloped for decades.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs