The text of the law regulating the removal and destruction of informal housing areas.
Legislative Decree No. 40 of 2012
The President of the Republic
In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,
Promulgates the following:
For the purpose of this Legislative Decree, the following terms and expressions shall have their meanings set out beside them:
- The Administrative Authority: The administrative unit for the city, town or township.
- Building Violation: A building which was constructed without a licence, or building works in violation of the granted licence.
- The Council: The administrative unit council.
- The Minister: The Minister of Local Administration
- The Office: The executive office of the administrative unit.
The following conditions shall apply without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 5, 6 and 7 of this Legislative Decree:
1. Buildings which are in violation after the date of the issuance of this Legislative Decree, whatever their type, location, investment status, or use, shall be removed through demolition and the rubble removed at the expense of the party whose interests were served by the violation.
2. A fine of no less than 2,000 and no more than 10,000 Syrian pounds for every square metre shall be applied to all parties proven responsible for the violation, whether it be the owner, possessor, contractor, supervisor, or surveyor for the building or an implementing agent. Employees of the Administrative Authority who are proven negligent in the performance of their duties in terms of oversight or suppressing the violation shall be punished with the same penalty.
3. The following shall apply in addition to the removal of the violation and the financial fees stipulated in the previous two paragraphs:
a. A punishment of three months to one-year imprisonment shall apply to anyone proven responsible for a violation, whether the owner, possessor, operator, contractor, implementer, supervisor or surveyor of the building. Workers in the Administrative Authority who are negligent in the performance of their duties to suppress the violation shall be punished with the same penalty. This shall occur whenever the violating building:
· encroaches upon private services buildings;
· encroaches upon the roads, squares, parks and public constructions defined by Law 9/1974 and its amendments;
· violates the mandatory requirements or height specified in the building control regulations in effect by a rate of more than 1 percent thereof;
· falls or encroaches on public property, state property, state private property, or property of the Administrative Authority inside or outside the administrative boundaries;
· falls within areas for which an expropriation certificate was issued, or within real estate planning areas where work has not been completed to distribute plots to rights holders or register them with property departments, or within areas where building is prohibited in accordance with the regulations and laws pertaining to this Legislative Decree;
· falls outside the organisational plans and is inconsistent with the building regulations pertaining to this Legislative Decree and stipulated in the laws and regulations in effect.
b. A punishment of one year to three years’ imprisonment shall apply to anyone proven responsible for a violation, whether the owner, possessor, operator, contractor, implementer, supervisor or surveyor of the building. Workers in the Administrative Authority who are negligent in the performance of their duties to suppress the violation shall be punished with the same penalty when the violating building has not obtained adequate durability, based on a report from the public safety committee in the Governorate and is inconsistent with the building regulations, which could expose the structure to collapse. This shall include the following:
1. Constructing one or more additional floors in excess of the number of floors permitted by the building regulations in effect over all or part of the floor area.
2. Emptying the land in whole or in part beneath the building under the level of the existing foundations.
3. Altering the structural body. In such cases, the situation will be returned to what it was according to the granted licence, except for buildings constructed only upon the structure. The construction plans and studies may be amended in accordance with the situation, provided that it does not violate the building regulations in force and meets the technical and construction requirements.
c. In the event a collapse occurs in whole or in part of the building, impacting the civil rights of those affected, the punishment shall be a term of hard labour, and the fine specified in Item 2 of the previous Paragraph B shall be doubled.
d. A penalty of no less than 10 years’ hard labour and three times the fine provided in Item 2 of Paragraph B shall apply if the collapse leads to the death of one or more persons.
e. The equipment, devices, machinery and building materials used in the construction of the violation shall be confiscated for the benefit of the Administrative Authority.
The sentence and fine stipulated in Article 2 shall be doubled in the event the violation is repeated.
A punishment of a year to three years and a fine of 500,000 Syrian pounds to 1 million Syrian pounds shall be applied to the owner or legal or illegal occupant who segments land in a manner not legally stipulated, inside or outside the administrative boundaries, and whoever disposes of these parts in whole or in part with the aim of constructing a violating building thereon.
Building violations stipulated in Article 2 of Law 44/1960, Article 2 of Law 1/2003, and Article 3 of Legislative Decree 59/2008, which took place before the issuance of this Legislative Decree, shall be removed and the legislation that was in effect at the date the infringement took place shall be applied.
In violations not covered by the provisions of Article 5, Administrative Authorities may settle violations committed before the issuance of this Legislative Decree as follows:
1. Establish the presence of a violation and that its date fell before the issuance of this Legislative Decree. The relevant documents shall be specified in the executive instructions.
2. Submit a technical report certified by the Engineers Syndicate establishing the building’s durability and structural integrity.
3. If an existing building violates the mandatory requirements, the Office may issue a building licence to complete construction of the floors permitted in the building control regulations, on the condition that:
a. the violation for the existing floors and the floors whose licencing is required or desired to be completed does not exceed 30 percent of the mandatory reference requirements imposed in the building control regulations;
b. other conditions of the building control regulations in effect are adhered to, and the area of the property is not less than 75 percent of the minimum property area stipulated by the building control regulations;
c. the building block does not deface the public view;
d. the building block is sound and structurally interconnected in accordance with a report certified by the Engineers Syndicate;
e. submission of a technical report certified by the Engineers Syndicate establishes that the building can bear the floors required to be licenced in accordance with the building control regulations; and
f. double utility fees are imposed and specified in the executive instructions pertaining to the areas violating the mandatory requirements for the existing floors and the floors whose licencing is required or desired to be completed.
4. The local council may amend the building control regulations in accordance with the provisions of Legislative Decree 5/1982 and its amendments.
a. To settle the violation, financial fees shall be imposed on the offender by a decision issued by the Office equal to double the utility earned by the offender, or which the offender is expected to earn from the increase in the value of the property, land and building.
b. The offender shall be exempted from the fees stipulated in Paragraph A above in the event that he removes the violation within a period not exceeding three months of the date he was informed of the notice containing the imposition of the fees.
c. The fees for the violations subject to settlement shall be calculated in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 of this Legislative Decree.
d. The offender has the right to appeal the fees within 15 days of the date he is informed of the notice containing their imposition, after paying the guarantee to study the appeal at a rate of thirty percent of the fees. The Administrative Authority must study the appeal and decide upon it within 15 days of the date it is registered with them. The guarantee amount shall be calculated out of the imposed fees.
e. The offender who requests the settlement of a building violation on his property not regulated by the Administrative Authority shall pay a lump sum of 10,000 Syrian pounds. This amount shall be considered an advance calculated out of the settlement fees.
f. In addition to the financial fees stipulated in Paragraph A, a fine of no less than 25,000 Syrian pounds and no more than 50,000 Syrian pounds shall be imposed on the following:
1. A property owner, holder or operator who carries out constructions or changes to it without obtaining an official building licence, or who violates the granted licence.
2. The contractor, implementing agent, surveyor, or overseer who carries out constructions without obtaining an official building licence or who violates the granted licence.
3. Employees in the Administrative Authority who are proven to have been negligent or derelict in performing their duties in terms of oversight or suppressing the violation.
After meeting the fees set out in the laws and regulations in effect, existing violations in informal settlement areas shall be resolved after they are rehabilitated and the status of existing properties is regularised and entered into the organisational plan.
The bases for calculating the utility factor shall be determined in the executive instructions of this Legislative Decree by a ruling from the Minister.
Taking into account the provisions of Paragraph A of Articles 5 and 6 of this Legislative Decree*, the local councils in the Administrative Authorities shall decide on the mechanism to address violations subject to settlement within their administrative borders, in accordance with the provisions of this Legislative Decree. These decisions shall be certified by the Executive Office of the Governorate Council.
The High Council for Local Administration may, based upon a proposal from the Minister, specify the types of building violations which are subject to settlement after the implementation of this Legislative Decree, in accordance with specific regulations and fines imposed against all those whose interests the violation served.
a. The settlement of the violation shall not prejudice the rights of others. Those affected by the violation shall have the right to demand from the offender compensation for the damages, or the removal of the violation.
b. In the event of a ruling to remove a violation which has been settled in accordance with the previous paragraph, fees paid by the offender shall be restored to them in conjunction with the implementation order.
The financial fines stipulated in this Legislative Decree shall be verified and collected, whether determined by judicial authorities or the Administrative Authorities, as revenues for the concerned Administrative Authority and shall be a type of civil obligation.
The executive instructions for this Legislative Decree shall be issued by a decision from the Minister.
Legislative Decree 59/2008 shall be repealed.
This Legislative Decree shall be published in the Official Gazette.
Damascus, 28/06/1433 Hijri, 20/05/2012 Gregorian.
President of the Republic
*Note: There is no Paragraph A in Articles 5 and 6