Explained: Who Is Entitled to What Under Decree No. 66?

Decree No. 66 of 2012, which provides for the establishment of two new development zones in Damascus, specified who would be able to obtain alternative housing and rental allowance as part of ensuing construction plans.

Alternative housing is housing to which former property owners or people who were evacuated from a property in the area where the decree is implemented are entitled. The beneficiaries do not get it for free but pay for it at construction cost.

Under the decree, people entitled to alternative housing or rental allowance can be divided into four categories:

First category: People who built their homes on state property, in violation of the construction code. They receive a rental allowance for a period of two years only and can receive an alternative home only if there is a surplus after the alternative housing units have been distributed to others.

Second category: People who were renting residential or commercial properties within the two zones established under Decree No. 66 (Marota City and Basilia City). Judicial extension of the lease contract is applied to them under Rental Law No. 111 of 1952. Decree No. 66 also grants these people the right to obtain 30 percent of the shares of the rented property if the property was residential, and 40 percent if commercial. Any property is divided into 2,400 shares, regardless of its size. Decree No. 66 grants this group priority in buying or renting the shops that are to be built by the Damascus governorate, through public auctions. This right of preference is limited to this group.

Tenants who are not covered by judicial extension are not mentioned in Decree No. 66, and so do not receive shares of the rented property. This includes people who rented properties that were leased after Rental Law No. 10 was issued in 2006. Law No. 10 made tenancy subject to the will of contractors, whether or not those properties were residential.

Third category: People who owned agricultural land within the zones delineated by Decree No. 66 and built residential or commercial properties on it. Decree No. 66 grants these people the right to an annual rental allowance until they are given alternative housing. The rental allowance for this group is five percent of the estimated value of the original property.

Fourth category: People who owned agricultural land within the Decree No. 66 zones and did not build on it. People in this group are entitled only to monetary compensation for their land, the amount of which is determined by the governorate.

A special committee formed by the Damascus governorate under Decree No. 66 tallied and categorised real estate properties located within the area covered by the decree. The committee inspected these properties before eviction, including tallying all assets contained within the properties and registering the occupants. People who would otherwise be entitled to compensation but were overlooked by the committee due to having left the country, been displaced, or been listed as wanted for terrorism charges were barred from receiving rental allowance or alternative housing.

Source: marotacity.sy