Ifraz, or subdivision, of real estate in Syria means dividing a real estate property into smaller parcels. The Directorate of Cadastral Affairs carries out the technical process following plans that the relevant local administrative unit has approved.
The subdivision process divides the original property into new properties, each with a unique number. It also considers the building code for the area if the original property was located within a zoning plan or the minimum surface area for agriculture if the property was originally agricultural land outside of a zoning plan.
One reason an owner may decide to subdivide their property is to divide it into parts to sell. In other cases, common property owners may wish to allocate a piece to each of them.
It is important to distinguish between the subdivision process and a similar process called real estate partitioning. The latter is a procedure where owners partition a piece of land into subplots to build buildings and public facilities on those subplots. The Planning and Urban Development Law No. 23 of 2015 delineates the methods and conditions for real estate division.
How is ifraz carried out?
Ifraz occurs through one of two methods. First, it can be done by mutual consent of the owners or through the order and permission of the property owner. Secondly, subdivision can also be carried out via court ruling after one or all common owners file a case for possession to divide the property amongst themselves.
For the subdivision to be implemented, the survey department of the relevant Land Registry, a part of the General Directorate of Cadastral Affairs, must complete a technical subdivision draft for the property. This draft contains technical plans that determine what the property will look like after subdivision, the property description, and boundary lines.
Additionally, this draft must comply with the building code in its real estate zone and the master and detailed zoning plans, according to the Ministry of Local Administration Circular No. 1/63/2/D of 2000.
Next, the relevant administrative unit must approve the technical subdivision draft for properties within the local zoning plan, according to a Ministry of Local Administration circular from 2011, based on the Local Administration Law in Legislative Decree No. 107 of 2011. Meanwhile, the local technical services directorate approves drafts for properties outside the zoning plan.
After that comes a series of different steps within the relevant land registry department: compiling a subdivision contract between the property owners that includes their approval of the technical subdivision draft; registration of that contract in the real estate documentation office; confirmation of the contract in the survey department; then entering into the registration division which creates new land records for the properties resulting from the subdivision process.
Conditions for subdivision
The subdivision process may only be carried out for properties that have final ownership, meaning that for subdivision to occur, full ownership must already be in place, and there may not be any lawsuits in the land record for that property.
Agricultural lands outside of zoning plans may not undergo subdivision if less than 4,000 square metres, per the Ministry of Agriculture Circular No. 1308/B of 1984.
The older Municipalities Law No. 172 of 1956 stated that lands could not be subdivided, partitioned, or zoned into multiple building plots within the borders of a municipality without a draft first approved by the local mayor. This is mainly because, in some cases of termination of common property, the property’s subdivision can result in shares whose surface area is below the permissible limit for constructing any buildings. Such shares then remain unusable. This is why the Minister of Justice issued Communique No. 43 of 1962 to the courts, which affirmed that in cases of common property termination, subdivision drafts must be presented to mayors for approval to comply with building codes before a court rules on the subdivision.
Meanwhile, in State Council jurisprudence No. 149 of 1963, Cadastral Affairs was obligated to register subdivisions issued by final court rulings, even if they violated building codes. If Cadastral Affairs files a claim objecting to the subdivision ruling, the case may be exempted from this judicial process per the Procedural Code.