A Frenchman has discovered that a million-dollar apartment he bought seven years ago was built illegally, and he is now unable to sell it.
The South China Morning Post reported that Didier Boissiere paid seven million yuan (approximately $1 million) for a 200 square-metre Beijing apartment that came with luxury amenities, including a fitness centre and a roof deck.
When he attempted to sell the property this year, he discovered his property had been built illegally by the developer, who had also failed to provide him a certificate of ownership.
Chinese law requires property developers to provide ownership certificates to buyers no more than a year after a transaction, but Mr Boissiere has yet to receive one.
As a result, Mr Boissiere has been “somewhat taken hostage in China”, according to the paper.
Beijing authorities said the developer had constructed 19 illegal penthouses, one of which Mr Boissiere owns, and had refused to demolish them. This meant the property company had been unable to apply for ownership certificates from the housing commission.
Mr Boissiere is now asking the developer to compensate him for the delay in issuing the certificate, or to buy back his property at the market price, which has doubled since he bought it.
Yin Xuefeng, Mr Boissiere’s lawyer, told the South China Morning Post the development was one of many “dead projects” in Beijing, whereby both the government and the developer have reached an impasse.
The developer, Beijing Zhengxujingdian Real Estate Development, has not responded to the request, with their sales office now closed.
Mr Boissiere is now planning to bring the case to court following similar unsuccessful attempts by other owners.