Resisting foreign ownership of land

Foreign land ownership can be regulated through restrictive legislation. This can be attempted in a number of ways: (1) restrict the amount of land available to non-residents within a geographic areas such as a county or a township; (2) restrict the amount of acreage which may be owned by a single non-resident; (3) regulated the use of land by designating it into use categories such as agricultural, forestry, recreational, etc; (4) regulate the sales process for land, so as to limit the right of foreign buyers to acquire land; (5) abolish tax sales, so that all land seized for non-payment of municipal taxes reverts to the State and becomes available only to residents on leasehold terms.

Alternatively, differential taxation can be applied to discourage foreign purchases, such as: (1) allow lower assessment valuation on land used for primary production (farming, forestry) as compare to land held for recreational use or for speculation; (2) provide a 'homestead exemption' to owners permanently resident on the land; (3) place a special tax on idle land; (4) place a special tax surcharge on land owned by non-residents; (5) place a heavy transfer tax on the sale of property to non-residents with a view to retaining some of the capital gains resulting from increases in land value.

Another fiscal method would establish a system of 'minimum maintenance' such that land would be assessed a 'maintenance fee' if not used for its designated purpose. This system introduces the concept of a public interest in land which may transcend the interest of the private owner.

Finally, there are a variety of registration, landuse planning and zoning conditions which could be employed to discouraged non-resident foreign ownership of land.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions