500,000 yuan for levelling homes without consent Property companies that demolish buildings in Beijing without the consent of householders will be liable to fines of up to 500,000 yuan, according to a draft bill. Fines are now capped at 30,000 yuan and can be as low as 10,000. But under the draft bill, the level is raised to at least 100,000 yuan and up to half a million. The bill is open for public consultation until the end of the month, according to the city government's website. If a company and homeowners fail to reach an agreement on relocation compensation, 'one party or both parties can apply for arbitration, which will be judged by the government department in charge of issuing the demolition permission licence', the bill reads. The draft bill covers both land in urban and rural areas. Both groups can appeal against that decision before the district or municipal government, or take the case to court. Despite the changes, a Beijing lawyer said homeowners were still likely to come off second best. 'Most arbitration is in favour of the companies. How can you expect fairness by asking the same body to arbitrate its own decision?' asked Sun Maohang , who has attempted to present complaints about demolition companies before the courts. He said there was an unofficial policy within the city's courts to 'not accept lawsuits relating to the demolition of property'. The bill also gave the local government approval 'to implement demolition and eviction forcefully', once the time limit stipulated by arbitration or a judge expired. 'The government has realised that disputes over the demolition of property have become one of the main factors causing social instability. It's balancing carefully between suppressing all illegal demolition and justifying forceful demolition where it's needed,' Mr Sun said. State media report the bill comes on the heels of a plan to level 2.7 million sq km of land in the city by the end of the year.