Can Foreigners buy Real Property in Korea? Korean Real Estate Law for Non-Korean Residents and Non-Residents

Unlike some Asian countries that do not allow or strictly limit foreign ownership of real properties, South Korea has a buoyant market that permits foreigners to purchase real estate and even land in Korea.  The major restrictions on ownership of real estate for non-Koreans was lifted during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis based on the advice of the IMF.  The lifting of these restrictions, led, in part, to a commercial and residential real estate boom.  The major benefit to Korea

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Tax Breaks for Korean Landlords: Real Estate Taxation Basics

Proposed by the Chairman of the Strategy and Finance Committee of the Republic of Korea on September 20, 2018, the Amendment to the Korean Restriction of Special Taxation Act came into force on January 1, 2019. The amendment has decreased the taxation burden of some landlords. The Act was amended in favor of Korean landlords who renew long-term rentals with tenants by charging a lower increase of rent by a percentage lower than a percentage set by Presidential Decree. This

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Amendment to Korea’s Occupational Safety and Health Act in 2019

The amended Occupational Safety and Health Act of Korea (hereinafter as “OSHA”) entered into force on January 15, 2019. One major aspect of the revision is that it has raised the risk of liability of representatives of institutions and companies and companies for workplace industries in Korea. The amended Korean OSHA law is expected to increase the risk to company management, increase liability of companies and increase options for employees that are perceived to have been harmed because of the

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Wills, Trusts, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Living Wills, and Power of Attorneys in Korea

We receive numerous calls requesting the notarization of wills, living wills, general and specific power of attorneys, prenuptial agreements and other like agreements and documents in Korea. These documents are, often, just pulled from the internet.  Pulling these documents from the internet is not adequate – in most cases. We, sometimes, notarize these agreements for clients, however, in most cases we refer the client to their local embassy in Seoul, since the embassy stamp has a far less chance of

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English-speaking Korean lawyers and International Lawyers at International Law Firm in Korea discussing issues of Korean Law

IPG Legal is a leading client-focused international law firm with offices in Korea that is, often, selected over the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms when success is essential and success depends on nuanced street-smart advice, proactive  and unconflicted representation. Our attorneys are, intentionally. different from the crowd.  From our retired judge partners to our junior associates, we are all trained with an intense focus on client success, lawyer proactivity, and to understand the nexus between your commercial and legal needs. Our attorneys

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Guardianship Law in Korea: The Lotte Family Conservatorship Saga Continues

With news late in 2016 that the Seoul Family Court Appointed a Law Firm as Legal Guardian for Shin Kyuk Ho, founder of Lotte Group, and the negative effect the ruling had on his elder son’s efforts to regain control of the conglomerates, it is a good time for business owners and their families to understand what guardianship law may mean for businesses and families in Korea. Guardianship Law in Korea The Adult Guardianship Act of 2011 of Korea in

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Korean Trust Act of 1961 Amended

The 1961 Korea Trust Act has been criticized as being an archaic law that does not reflect generally accepted international trust standards and practices.  The revised Korean trust law was passed to alleviate many of the problems of the old Korean Trust Law.  The new law in Korea will came into effect in July of 2012.  This post is a revised version of a post that was first posted in 2012. The most significant changes to Korea’s Trust Act are

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Enforceability of Korean Executed Holographic/Handwritten Wills in Korea

Holographic wills are enforceable in Korea under Article 1066 of the Civil Act of Korea.  Our law firm is, presently, handling a matter concerning the estate of a decadent where the decadent executed a handwritten (holographic) will and the inheritors are Korean and foreign nationals. Holographic Wills This is a common issue for lawyers at our firm to handle – with the exception of the handwritten will issue. We, rarely, see cases, these days, of a testator that has executed

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Non-Acceptance of Government Report Grounds for an Appeal to Korean Court

Over the past decade, Korea has liberalized its government permit system and has required, in many more instances, only a report or notification to be filed with the government for many activities that previously required approval of a relevant Korean government authority. Even with the change, however, the Korean bureaucracy has, often, been unwilling to give up its power and has simply rejected reports, thus, in reality rejecting the anticipated activity. In a Supreme Court case handed down late last

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Attaching Assets in Korea: Security on Movable Property and Receivables in Korea

The Ministry of Justice has recently announced a draft bill concerning the securitization of movables and receivables. The Bill has been pushed for strongly by SMEs. SME’s have complained, since the 1997 Currency Crisis that they are unable to adequately capitalize at market rates. Representatives of the IMF, that I spoke with a few years back, also were very keen on this type of bill. They believed that this Bill will help foster SMEs and new entrant’s potential for innovation

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Proposed Amendment to Real Estate Development Business Act of Korea: Rating of Real Estate Development Projects

In an attempt to avoid additional failures in the Korean real estate market, the Korean government at the end of July 2013, proposed revisions to the  Real Estate Development Business Act of Korea. The revisions would, inter alia,: 1.  Give authority to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (“MLIT”) to select a agency of real estate experts (“Agency of Experts”) to verify private ratings.  The specifics of this Agency of Experts scheme would be designated by a President Decree. 

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Korean Tourism Infrastructure Improving: Special Act for the Expansion of Tourism Accommodation

The Korean Tourism Organization under the leadership of a German-born non-ethnic Korean is the greatest reason for the increase in the number of tourists in Korea.  The KTO has been transformed from a government black hole into a vibrant organization with a bold vision. One of the most significant issues for tourists visiting Korea, because of the drastic increase in tourism over the past few years, has been the lack of adequate accommodation. Seoul is notorious for having, during peak

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Korean Home Prices Too Low? A big NO WAY by Tom Coyner

It will soon be that dreaded time again for me – the renegotiation of my apartment lease. Thankfully, it happens just once every two years, but it is a real pain. The silver lining to this biannual cloud is that it forces me to look more closely at the Korean housing market, an important factor in most economic considerations. At first brush, Korean real estate is as loopy as any foreigner may surmise about anything in the Korean economy. First

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Renewal Rights/Terms for Commercial Leases in Korea Under Amended Commercial Building Lease Protection Act of Korea

The Commercial Building Lease Protection Act (“CBLP”) came into force on August 13, 2013.  The amendments, mentioned below, will solely come into force for leases entered into after August 13, 2013.  The changes will assist those with large deposits from getting the boot by a landlord based on no apparent reasons.  Renewal/Terms for Commercial Tenants with Deposits over KRW 300million  (Major Tenants) Under the former CBLP, tenants with deposits of over KRW 300,000,000 (For Seoul) were not protected with the

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Environmental Impact Statements in Korea: New Korean Environmental Impact Assessment Regime

In the third quarter of 2012, the amended Environmental Impact Assessment Act (“EIAA”) was implemented.  After the enactment, environmental impact assessments are no longer governed by both the Framework Act on Environmental Policy and the EIAA, thus, eliminating a great deal of confusion caused by inconsistencies in the acts. Major revisions include: 1.  Implementation of Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments and Small-Scale Environmental Impact Assessment over Prior Environmental Review under Framework Act on Environmental Policy The EIAA has abandoned the use

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Incheon to Turn an Island into the New Macau: I will believe it when I see it

The Korea Times has reported that Incheon City government has plans to transform two islands into a gambling, leisure and entertainment park larger in size than Macau.  The Korea Times note, in part, that: The large-scale development project, designed to turn two islands inside the Incheon free economic zone into a world-class leisure hub, is expected to cost 317 trillion won ($288 billion) and take about 20 years to complete. Incheon city unveiled a blueprint for the envisioned leisure complex,

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Korail vs.Lotte: Lesson for Investors in Korea

A promising development project may be scrapped because of a peculiar battle for control between a Korean conglomerate and a Korean government-controlled enterprise.  The feud is a lesson for investors who believe that investing in a project with the involvement of the Korean government will assist in guaranteeing success.  Often the involvement of Korean government enterprises overly complicates matters and leads to power struggles between the “experts” and the government.  Because of Korean government realities, however, often the involvement of

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The Koreans are Coming: Hana Financial to Acquire Majority Share in U.S. Broadway National Bank

Hana Financial has announced that it will purchase 71% of Broadway National Bank’s holding company.  Broadway National Bank is a New York-based bank that tailors its services to Korean clients. Hana Financial is one of Korea’s largest retail and investment banks.  The main purpose of the acquisition is to expand Hana’s retail operations to the U.S. market.__________Sean Hayes, IPG’s Co-Chair of the Korea Practice Team, may be contacted at: [email protected]

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Korean Investment in Asia and the West is on the Decline

A few news sources, including Law Times, have announced the financial crisis is curtailing Korean company’s investments abroad. Kumho Tire has announced that it will suspend the building of a tire plant in Georgia. The project was scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2009. Kia motors will likely not go forward with a $1 billion assembly plant in Georgia. Posco Steel planed to continue its plans of building a $12 billion mill in India and a $5million

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Lack of Office Space in Seoul

Lack of Office Space in Seoul By Sean Hayes (Korea Times 11-26-2008) Korea, in this global economic turmoil, must become a more attractive location for foreign investors. The answer to attracting more foreign capital is obviously to improve the overall investment climate. Along with the ubiquitous mention of tax reductions, regulatory revisions, and an improved living environment; Korea also must reduce expenses in doing business in the country including access to affordable office space. The access to affordable office space

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