Under Article 768 of the Syrian Civil Code, property owners are free to dispose of their properties and use and exploit them as they wish, within the limits of the law. However, some laws limit that freedom, as in the so-called “restraint on disposal” (“manaa al-tasarrof” in Arabic). This limit can be defined as a precautionary measure imposed by specific laws to prevent an owner’s property disposal.
Restraint on disposal note placed on the Land Record of the real estate nullifies any sale, gift, mortgage or waiver of the property to others. This restriction is usually put in place to preserve the rights of some public entities. For example, Law No. 39 of 1986, concerned with conditions for buying housing from public entities, prohibits buyers or those allocated social housing from disposing of those properties within the first 15 years of purchasing and paying off the properties. Restraint on disposal notes shall be placed on the Land Record of the real estate during the entire specified prohibition period.
Later, Real Estate Development and Investment Law No. 15 of 2008 prohibited such investors from disposing of the land plots they came to own following the zoning process until they had constructed something on the plots. A restraint on disposal note is imposed on those plots until the construction is complete.
Law No. 61 of 2004, which addresses beneficiaries of state-owned properties, prohibits them from disposing of lands distributed to them within the first five years of registering those properties under their names in the Land Registry. They still need to obtain the approval of the Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform after that period has ended.
And finally, Law No. 10 of 2018, which allows for the establishment of zoned real estate areas, prohibits any individual from disposing of their commonly owned share in such an area following its establishment.
Types of restraints on disposal
The executive instructions of Legislative Decree No. 82 of 2010 define different types of urban communities, building plots, and conditions for licensing construction. It stipulates that the Land Record for such properties must be free of any restraint on disposal measures to obtain construction licenses for building plots.
Legislative Decree No. 82 further clarified restraint on disposal notes that can be added to the Land Record.
First: Precautionary seizure, executive seizure or administrative seizure.
Second: A mortgage note, which can be placed on a real estate property as a form of security for a financial loan, whether that loan is from an individual or a bank
Third: A right of usufruct note, which may be placed on a real estate property to prevent the person with the right of usufruct over the property from disposing of it. Right of usufruct entitles a person to use and exploit a property without disposing of that property.
Fourth: A temporary record note, as stipulated in Article 26 of Land Registry Law No. 188 of 1926. A temporary record note is a precautionary measure placed in the Land Record of the property for a limited time. It has three types:
- Optional temporary record: This is when someone purchases a real estate property through a contract and then requests that a temporary note be placed on that property’s Land Record until the procedures for formally transferring ownership are complete. The period for this type of note is ten days but can last as long as six months if the two sides agree to do so.
- Judicial temporary record: This can be done by sending a request to the Civil Court of First Instance. The court then issues a decision granting or rejecting the request, which, if granted, lasts for one month.
- Mandatory temporary record: This occurs when the Land Registry secretary refuses to transfer property ownership, after which the stakeholder appeals their decision. The secretary then must place a temporary note on that property’s Land Record until the Court of Appeals issues its decision.