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Sri Lanka: Foreigners to Be Banned from Purchasing Property

(Feb. 27, 2013) Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has recently approved moves to change regulations under the State Lands Ordinance, and introduced amendments to the Notaries Ordinance and the Registration of Documents Ordinance, designed to prohibit the sale or transfer of real estate to foreigners. The ban will apply to both state and privately owned properties. (Sri Lanka Not to Sell Land or Properties to Foreigners, COLOMBOPAGE (Feb. 21, 2013); State Lands Ordinance (Sept. 1, 1949), LAWNET [a Sri Lankan government website]; Notaries Ordinance, 1907 (as amended to 2005), LAWNET; Registration of Documents Ordinance (Jan. 1, 1928, as amended to 1951), LAWNET.)

According to a February 21, 2013, news report, the government will permit land to be leased on a long-term basis, rather than sold outright. The prohibition, proposed by the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs and the Minister of Lands and Land Development, will not apply to land for foreign embassies or commissions. (Sri Lanka Not to Sell Land or Properties to Foreigners, supra.)