This law is supposed to answer to the challenge posed by the large number of land and real estate property documents that were lost or damaged during the conflict.
Law No. 33 of 2017
Restoration of Lost or Damaged Property Documents
The President of the Republic
In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,
And the decision of the parliament in its meeting on 3/2/1439 Hijri, 23/10/2017 Gregorian,
Promulgates the following:
The following terms, in the context of the implementation of the rulings of this law, hold the following meanings:
- General Directorate: The General Directorate for Real Estate Interests.
- General Director: The General Director for Real Estate Interests.
- Director: The Director of Real Estate Interests in the province.
- Real Estate Judge: The Real Estate Judge subject to the rulings of Law 16/2014 authorised to execute the actions related to it per the rulings of this law.
- Real Estate Documents: These are the documents that are noted in Article 1 of Decision 188/1926, and that which is contained by Article 13 of Decision 189/1926.
- Damaged Real Estate Documents: Totally or partly ruined Real Estate Documents, or those that were lost as a result of emergency conditions.
- Reconstitution: A set of administrative and judicial procedures that lead to the issue of a documented replacement for the damaged Real Estate Document, or the use of one of its elements.
- Real estate documents described in Article 13 of Decision No. 189 of 1926 enjoy the same evidentiary power as the documents noted in Article 1 of Decision No. 188 of 1926 in the implementation of the rulings of this law.
- Electronically preserved images and microfilm enjoy the same evidentiary power as the original document in the implementation of the rulings of this law.
The Reconstitution of damaged Real Estate Documents takes place according to circumstance, administratively or judicially, as follows:
- Administrative Reconstitution: This takes place if the Directorate of Real Estate Interests has documents and evidence that enable it to re-establish the damaged Real Estate Documents.
- Judicial Reconstitution: This takes place if it is impossible for the Directorate of Real Estate Interests to get hold of documents that enable it to re-establish the damaged Real Estate Documents via administrative Reconstitution.
- The relevant minister is to issue a decision to announce the start of the procedures of reconstituting damaged Real Estate Documents upon the recommendation of the General Director of Real Estate Interests in which the loss or destruction [of the documents] is explained, enclosed with supporting evidence.
- The decision is to be announced and declared according to the procedures and means followed in the declaration and announcement of the opening of procedures of specifying and editing stipulated in Article 7 of Decision No. 186 of 1926, and is also to be announced via official media.
The General Director is to issue a decision to form a committee, or more than one committee, headed by the Director of Real Estate Interests in the province, or his representative, the goal of which is:
- To specify the damaged Real Estate Documents to be reconstituted.
- To locate Real Estate Documents that will aid in the Reconstitution of damaged documents, and to gather them wherever they are found, whether that is with the General Directorate or another party, if that happens to be the case.
- To categorise these documents that are located and gathered into two categories:
- The first category: Documents that can be legally relied upon to reconstitute the damaged Real Estate Documents administratively.
- The second category: The rest of the documents that aid in the Reconstitution of damaged Real Estate Documents judicially.
- To prepare projects of the necessary decisions to reconstitute the damaged Real Estate Documents, as per Clause a of Paragraph 3 above, and likewise lists of the documents that will aid in the Reconstitution of damaged documents judicially, as per Clause b of Paragraph 3 above.
- The committee is to send projects of decisions and lists of documents that have been prepared according to the rulings of Paragraph 4 above to the Directorate of Real Estate Interests.
- The Director General of Real Estate Interests is to certify the procedures of the aforementioned committee.
Taking into consideration the rulings of Article 15 of Decision No. 188 of 1926:
- The Director of Real Estate Interests is to issue decisions for administrative Reconstitution of damaged Real Estate Documents, which are to be published in the official gazette and announced in the hall of the General Directorate and the relevant facility. Publication in the official gazette is to be considered equivalent to a personal notification. These decisions are subject to being reviewed before a basic court in the locale of the real estate within 15 days of the date of its publication, according to Article 80 of Decision 188/1926 and its amendments.
- The Director of Real Estate Interests is to incorporate a judicial real estate office with lists of documents that will aid in the judicial Reconstitution of Real Estate Documents.
The Minister of Justice is to issue a decision to authorise one, or more than one, Real Estate Judge for each province, based on the suggestion of the General Director, to look into the Reconstitution of Real Estate Documents according to the rulings of this law, and to issue the necessary decisions.
Judicial Reconstitution is to proceed according to the following procedures:
- The Real Estate Judge is to undertake, with documents, the subject of Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of this law.
- The list of documents, and the properties where reconstruction has been requested, is to be announced according to the principles specific to starting procedures of specification and editing.
- The Real Estate Judge is to issue preparatory decisions in which the substance of the damaged Real Estate Document, the number and region of the property, and the parts and elements that are requested to be constituted are to be explained. This opens the way for concerned parties to submit supporting evidence of private rights recorded in the damaged Real Estate Document within six months of the date of the publication of the preparatory decision in the official gazette and two local newspapers.
- The Real Estate Judge is to issue primary decisions of the certification of unchallenged Real Estate Documents as soon as the challenge period ends. These decisions are final.
- Upon the joining of the request to challenge with supporting documents, the challenger or his legal representative must be present throughout the investigation into the challenge, under penalty of the cancellation of the challenge. And if the request to challenge, supported by documents, suggests investigation into the challenge by a judge and the issuance of the relevant decision in this regard, [then this should take place] in the note-taking office within a period that is at most two months after the end of the period of the challenge. And the Real Estate Judge enjoys the right to look into any challenge not specific to the source of the document whose Reconstitution is requested, which remains within the purview of the ordinary judiciary.
- Taking into consideration the rulings of the paragraph, and from this article, decisions of certification of Real Estate Documents whose Reconstitution has been requested – after challenges have been resolved – are to be announced in the headquarters of the Real Estate Judge for 15 days and published in the official gazette and one of the official newspapers. They are to be considered equivalent to a personal notification, and subject to being reviewed before a civilian review court within this period from the date of its publication.
- Decisions of certification are to be deposited as soon as the review period ends. The authorised Directorate of Real Estate Interests is to open real estate records for this. Review does not halt recording in the real estate record, although a notice of the review is recorded based on a book directed by the Real Estate Judge as soon as he is informed of the review of the decision, and although notice is to be recorded subject to the period of five years stipulated in the rulings of the following article, the effectiveness of which is to start from the date of the ratification of the decision, and ordered by a ruling of the Director of Real Estate Interests in the termination of the specified period.
- Everyone who files a claim of a recorded right in the real estate register has the right to present the lawsuit before ordinary courts within five years after the date on which the Real Estate Judge acquires the decision of the decisive degree of requesting the origin of the right, and monetary compensation [is to be awarded] within fifteen years of the request.
- The real estate journal which is ordinarily constituted judicially as per this law has the final say over evidentiary matters after ordering it with the decision of the Real Estate Judge and the acquisition of the decisive degree, in addition to the lapsing of a period of five years stipulated in the previous paragraph.
- If the map of the area or records of specifying and editing before its demonstration in the real estate records have been lost, then these are to be reconstituted by the Real Estate Judge according to the wording of Decision 186/1926, its amendments, and the notices issued by the General Directorate of Real Estate Interests in this matter.
- If the records of improvement, privatization, or its maps before the conclusion of procedures of improvement or privatization have been lost, they are to be reconstituted by an Improvement and Privatization Committee in the real estate region, according to the procedures stipulated in Legislative Decree 166/1967 and its amendments and the instructions issued by the General Directorate for Real Estate Interests in this matter.
The president of the Council of Ministers is to issue a decision that includes the system of mobilising the personnel participating in the completion of procedures of reconstituting damaged Real Estate Documents with a suggestion from the Minister of Local Administration and Environment.
Whoever is proven to have caused the loss or ruination of Real Estate Documents is to be punished with imprisonment for one to three years and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Syrian pounds.
The Minister of Local Administration and the Environment is to issue executive instruction for this law in coordination with the Minister of Justice.
This law is to be published in the official gazette.
Damascus, 6/2/1439 Hijri, 26/10/2017 Gregorian
President of the Republic