HAVANA— Cuba has announced the first details a highly anticipated new law meant to loosen rules on the buying and selling of homes and cars, which have been tightly controlled since soon after the 1959 revolution.
The law is still being crafted and will take effect by the end of the year, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported Friday.
The rules are meant to help ease a severe housing shortage and legalize unofficial title transfers that are commonly used to skirt the state's rigid rules. Under the current system, many people augment legal home swaps with thousands of dollars in cash under the table, or enter into sham marriages to simplify transactions.
Individuals will still not be allowed to own more than one home, and the sales will be taxed, Granma said. Bureaucratic hurdles will be eliminated, meaning transactions can be notarized and completed without having to seek prior authorization. Family members will be able to inherit property even if they are not living at the address.
"A policy has been designed that aims to simplify the bureaucracy for carrying out any kind of act of property transfer," Grandma said, "and decrease the prohibitions on the matter, which over the years contributed to the occurrence of innumerable violations."
The law is part of a sweeping package of free-market changes that the government is counting on to stimulate a moribund economy. Guidelines for the changes were approved at a Communist Party Congress in April, but details have been slow to emerge.
The government will also let individuals own more than one auto, regardless of the model year, ending a system under which only pre-1959 vehicles could be freely bought and sold, the newspaper added.
Granma said the law was debated during a meeting last week of President Raul Castro's Council of Ministers. Details had not been announced previously.
The Cuban government has acknowledged that a lack of housing is one of the country's biggest challenges. The shortage reached some 500,000 homes by the middle of the past decade, according to official estimates.
Many Cubans have no choice but to live with parents and other relatives because of the lack of housing even as they start families of their own.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.