High Commissioner appears before National Council to discuss revision of law on right to buy contract ("habitation-capitalisation")

High Commissioner appears before National Council to discuss revision of law on right to buy contract ("habitation-capitalisation")

20 September 2021

Having been asked by the President of the National Council to offer an opinion on the bill submitted last April by the Government relating to reworking or adding to some of the provisions in Act No. 1.357, dated 19 February 2009, defining the right to buy contract (“habitation-capitalisation”) in the state-owned housing sector, Anne Eastwood attended a working meeting at the National Council on 20 September to present her findings on the bill, which is currently being reviewed by the Housing Committee.

With the success of the right to buy contract since its introduction in 2009, problems that emerged on implementation of the Act have led Monegasque families to seek help, including from the Office of the High Commissioner, in order to attempt to solve situations that are currently poorly or insufficiently understood due to a number of vague areas and gaps in the existing legislation.

The High Commissioner therefore welcomed the fact that the planned reform aims to give substance to one of her recommendations, intended to promote mobility within the state-owned housing sector by allowing people who wish to exchange their apartment to do so without losing the benefit of occupation under a right to buy contract, an option that was already available to them if they were allocated a new apartment.

The High Commissioner also welcomed other changes on the way, describing them as highly positive and much anticipated steps forward. These changes include: one which seeks to confirm the principle that a right to buy contract can be renewed free of charge on expiry after 75 years, one dealing with the relocation of households and the continuation of right to buy contracts in the event of the demolition/reconstruction of a building, and one preventing the money invested in a right to buy contract by a single, childless person being “lost” on their death (this money can now be left to the person’s heirs in the ascending or collateral line).

Various suggestions were nonetheless put forward to further improve the proposed measures in these various areas.

Finally, the High Commissioner invited the legislature to consider the fate of a right to buy contract on the death of a holder in families with several children. She called for greater flexibility in the conditions under which the profit from the right to buy contract is intended to be passed onto them, by allowing the share of the capital due to them to be fully reimbursed to designated beneficiaries who do not wish to occupy the apartment or keep it in joint ownership, while authorising the continuation of the right to buy contract (for which the capital due at the end of the contract would be reduced by the same amount) for one or more of the others.

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