Explained: Expropriating Properties That Haven’t Undergone Delimitation and Census
Article 10 of Expropriation Law No. 20 of 1983 allows for the expropriation of lands that have not undergone delimitation and census – that is, real estate with no Land Record. For this to occur, from the outset, only the lands included in the expropriation must undergo delimitation and census. However, the expropriating party may also take possession of a property before this process.
The government delineated the delimitation and census process in Decree No. 186 of 1926, which concerns lands that still need to be included in the Land Registry. The process results in establishing a Land Record for real estate in a given area, assigning them property numbers, and submitting the owners’ names to Cadastral Affairs.
Council of Ministers Communique, issued in 1982, defines the procedures for expropriating real estate in areas that have yet to undergo delimitation and census. The expropriating public entity must announce its expropriation decree via its main headquarters and in the public square of the village where the targeted land is located. This entity then must provide the relevant real estate department with a copy of the expropriation decree, alongside a request to launch delimitation and census work on the expropriated property.
A real estate judge must sign the delimitation and census work decision to proceed with the job at hand, after which the General Directorate of Cadastral Affairs and the expropriating entity are informed.
The Land Registry directorate tasks a survey team of specialised engineers, legal advisers, and other employees to carry out delimitation and census. The Land Registry’s delimitation and census office opens a dedicated register for the targeted properties to record the entire process and submit the final plans and survey records to the Land Registry’s secretariat.
The Directorate of State Properties, which is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, must also be represented as the survey team does its work so that it can provide any information or documents related to its rights and register any of its own objections. This right does not extend to the owner of the expropriated property. The Directorate of State Properties is in charge of inventorying, managing, and investing state-owned properties and opening and regulating registrations on that governorate’s real estate and public properties. The directorate also regulates the disposal, transfer of ownership, and registration of state-owned properties.
Once the work of delimitation and census is complete, the dossiers for the expropriated properties are submitted to the delimitation and census office for technical and legal review. The office then notifies the real estate judge of any deficiencies that must be resolved. The dossiers include survey and location plans for the property and notes on delimitation and census, such as a description of the property, its location, legal type, boundaries, owners’ names, any objections to those boundaries, and any other documents and papers provided by various parties.
The real estate judge announces when delimitation and census work has been completed, informs the relevant authorities, and sets a 10-day deadline for any objections. Only public entities may submit complaints, with owners and other rights holders excluded. In the eyes of the law, the property has become expropriated and is no longer privately owned. For objections to delimitation and census of properties that have not been expropriated, the deadline is 30 days.
Following the deadline for expropriated properties, the real estate judge announces their final decision and begins to read through the objections.
Relevant authorities must be notified of the final decision, and a copy of the decision must be posted to the door of the Real Estate Court. It does not need to be published in the Official Gazette. Afterwards, the decision is approved and sent directly to the secretariat of Cadastral Affairs to undergo any necessary procedures.
The owner of the expropriated property is excluded from these procedures. They also are not represented during this process even though the property has not yet been registered in the name of the expropriating entity. Though the owner should be allowed to intervene and present objections during delimitation and census, jurisprudence No. 325/326 of 1982 of the Supreme Administrative Court affirms that such owners are barred from this right. The court argues that this is because owners of exropriated properties have no relation to the delimitation and census process, which does not deprive them of their right to collect compensation on a set date.
Furthermore, expropriation allowances are not handed over to the expropriated property owners until after the delimitation and census procedure is complete, according to State Council Opinion No. 14 of 1973. This process can take years, negatively impacting the owner by barring them from their right to object and delaying their compensation.