In December 2021, the Damascus governorate called on rights holders in the Basilia City area south of Damascus to submit applications for title deeds for their so-called “organisational shares” to the Directorate of Implementation of Decree No. 66. Basilia City is located south of the southern ring highway and covers 954 hectares of land, containing more than 100,000 title deeds according to official statements.
But before submitting their applications, rights holders must visit the Directorate for Implementation of Decree No. 66 in order to complete their personal data – including providing a copy of their ID and ownership contract – in order to print their organisational share deeds. It is unclear whether this completion of personal data is part of the application for the deed or if a separate application must be submitted to undergo this process.
Riyad Diab, head of the Directorate for Implementation of Decree No. 66, told local media that rightsholders may receive their organisational share title deeds five days after submitting their applications. He added that the directorate would distribute the deeds gradually and by real estate zone, from Kafr Sousseh to Darayya, then Mazzeh, Qanawat Basatin, and Midan Sultani. Distribution would take four months and be completed by early April 2022.
During the second session of the regular meeting of the Damascus governorate council on January 10, Diab told attendees that his directorate had distributed 4,000 of the total 14,000 deeds printed for the Kafr Sousseh real estate zone. However, the Kafr Sousseh real estate zone is split between Basilia City and the neighbouring Marota City project, making it unclear whether all of the 14,000 deeds were indeed for Basilia City. Diab added that half of the property owners in Kafr Sousseh had not yet completed their personal data to obtain the title deeds.
In accordance with Decree No. 66, the organisational shares for each rightsholder are calculated by several special committees in a complex process. Essentially, the first committee estimates the value of rights holders’ properties in Syrian pounds according to the “current value” on the date of evaluation. Then the development zone is converted to the common ownership of the rights holders, theoretically with each person retaining their equity. Afterwards, another committee estimates the values of organisational plots of land that are meant for construction and allocated only to the rights holders in accordance with the zoning plan. Meanwhile, the Damascus governorate is entitled to deduct large swathes of the development zone free of charge in order to create plots for investment or public services. Anyway, the values of organisational plots are also calculated in Syrian pounds, but there are no clear criteria for the appraisal process because the plots are not yet built upon. In any case, the value of the organisational plots is then divided among the rights holders according to their individual equities – this is how each rightsholder comes to obtain what is called an “organisational share”. Finally, the Directorate for Implementation of Decree No. 66 issues the nominal values for the organisational shares in each development zone.
Currently being printed are the title deeds for organisational shares in a development zone that is not yet built upon. Next, the trading process is expected to begin for those shares. According to official statements, people may only trade shares after the title deed distribution process is completed and may carry out the trading process for a period of one year. Afterwards people may apply for the allocation and selection of plots.
Several groups have formed in recent weeks on Facebook and WhatsApp, each of which includes dozens of big shareholders who had agreed amongst themselves on a unified price for the shares, an informed source told The Syria Report. Some of the group members were lawyers and notables from the area now covered by Basilia City. They offered advice and suggestions to other group members to agree on a standard share price. Still, share prices remain very low and are lower than those in the nearby Marota City project. Meanwhile, some other social media groups also emerged whose members are small shareholders. These shareholders might sell at low prices, with no public sales officially recorded so far.
Certain parties are likely to buy large numbers of shares with the aim of owning an entire organisational plot – this makes it easier to build on those plots or sell later on. Some large shareholders may also partner in some organisational plots. Usually, those with small shares resort simply to selling them, but if a part of the share remains unbought or unsold, it will later hinder the allocation and construction of many organisational plots. This is why the governorate is stressing the need to distribute all of the shares at this stage in order to ease the trading process.