Every now and again, governments introduce policies with the intention of addressing one issue, but inadvertently end up creating another.
A case in point is the government for China’s southwest Guizhou Province. Here, a policy has been introduced in an attempt to curb the ongoing problem of illegal housing construction. In particular, the government is intent on preventing ‘oversized’ homes from being constructed. To do this, the government put a size limit on the total floor area of new house builds – 240 square metres. Seemingly, a simple solution to the problem.
However, local married couples who wished to build properties larger than the stated limit, realised that if they were classed as two separate individuals rather than a married couple, they could effectively double their property size allowance.
A wave of happily married couples… getting divorced.
Reportedly, the divorcees include a range of people, from those who were only recently married through to those in their 80s and 90s. It might appear extreme, but many have said that they feel it’s the only way to build the property of their choice.
Recent news reports state that the monthly divorce rate for the region has increased by five-to-six times. Additional government resources have had to be made available to process them all.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time this type of situation has occurred in China. Several years ago, Shanghai residents were limited to one apartment purchase per family. This also lead to married couples choosing to get divorced in order to buy another property. Some were reported to forgo the process of gaining a legal divorce and instead were buying fake divorce paperwork in order to fool the authorities.
Perhaps it won’t be long before the government acts to close these policy loopholes.