For the three years following May 23, 2012, the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Partition of Jointly Owned Lands (the “Act”) takes effect, simplifying the process for partitioning jointly owned lands. Although the Act had been temporarily in effect three times, the latest being 2006, it has been pointed out that the inconvenience of joint ownership of land persisted. In response, the Act was newly enacted in May 2012, with the aim of reducing inconvenience and optimizing the land management system for local governments.

Under the Act, if jointly owned land is specifically occupied for not less than one year by at least one-third of the joint owners by way of owning a structure built on the land, the joint owners of such land may, upon obtaining consent of at least one-fifth of the joint owners or twenty joint owners, file to the relevant local government for a partition. Upon receipt of such request, the Jointly-Owned Land Partition Committee will, through its deliberation and resolution process, make a determination with respect to the proposed partition.

Partitioning of jointly owned lands pursuant to the Act are not subject to the provisions restricting partition of lands such as building-to-land ratio, partitioning of restricted areas and other limitations imposed under the National Land Planning and Utilization Act, the Building Act and the Act on Ownership and Management of Aggregate Buildings. Also, if any joint owner cannot be located, the relevant land could not be partitioned prior to the Act. However, it is now possible to partition such land under the Act that has now come into effect.

The reimplementation of the Act simplifies the complicated procedures that used to require consent of all of the joint owners for new constructions of, extensions of or establishment of any mortgage on jointly owned lands. As a result, it has become more convenient to exercise joint owners’ property rights. The Act is expected to promote public convenience by reducing the burdens associated with costs incurred in connection with the issuance of public documents such as land cadastre, real estate registry, etc.