I need help, desparately. Housing/business.

Hi everybody
I am a Brit, now living in Ethiopia and I had planned to retire in Cambodia next year.  I bought an apartment in Phnom Penh from a company called Brocon, it was rented and they were the managing agents.  Everything went well until this month.  Instead of taking their fee from the rent, they sent me an email asking for money to be transferred to them.  Living in Ethiopia, a country not well trusted internationally and without a secure infrastructure, I was not able to do that.  I explained everything to them and told them how I was working on getting the money to them.  They then told me that because I had not paid on time, they have taken ownership of my apartment and will sell it, they also said I am unlikely to get any compensation.
This is very distressing.  I don't know the law, I don't know if it is legal for them to do that.  They did not give me any warnings or deadlines it was possible to keep.  I feel I have been set up.  Is this legal?  Is there a set procedure in these cases?  Can I appeal? How?
Brocon, I am told, will cease trading and have been fined for corruption.
Is there someone out there who can help me or put me in touch with someone who can?

This really caught my attention.  I just moved here, and contracts are a joke.  If u dealt with a realtor, have them handle.

You were set up, the fee comes from the rent and it should say so in your contract, read it and you will know. I don't see how they can take ownership of your property. They can only put a charge on it. You would know all this if you did the deal through the local commune as is the correct procedure.

Brocon's website's gone dead, so this may be a scam in process.

You must have signed a contract - what does it say in regards to the payments? Get a lawyer.

Well, do you have any papers on your hands? I mean a title of your apartments? I think  the most important thing is how can you proof your ownership. Not a contract.

A purchase agreement - referred to me as "a/the contract", apologies if that wasn't clear enough.

Thats's ok, but any official registration? I guess you should have so called "soft title".

A property management firm cannot seize your property unless you gave them that right through contractual agreement.  How much money are we talking about, if you don't mind my asking?  If it's worth the trouble, it's probably best for you to come to Cambodia to deal with the agents yourself.  Even if they truly have bad intentions, they'll probably be less inclined to rip you off if you're physically in the country.  Talk to them and try to work out the dispute with them in person.  You'll probably have to pay (bribe) them some money, but it's better than losing your property.  If possible, avoid the courts and the police unless you want to deal with even more crooks.

Most of the above is correct but the important point is, do you have a deed to the property? You should be in possession of a soft title at least. If you purchased the property through the commune you should have all the correct papers stating you are the owner. Then the property can't be sold without your permission. If all you have is a paper/contract from the original owners you may have a problem and the only solution is to come to Cambodia and make a complaint to the local commune and see if they can help but it will cost you money.
The commune are probably the only people who can help you, forget lawyers, courts & police.


I live in Ethiopia and have commitments for the next 3 weeks.  Can you recommend a reliable lawyer in Phnom Penh?


Thank you.  How do I contact the local commune?

There is only one I would recommend : Scarioni & Associates. PP, Cambodia
Telephone:  855 23 210 225

Your lawyer (I recommended Scarioni) will know how when you give all the details.

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