A new service will be provided at the Citizen Service Center of the General Housing Facility – Syria Report

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At the end of August, the Citizen Service Center of the General Housing Establishment in Damascus added a new service for applicants for alternative housing.

The General Housing Establishment (GHE) opened the center at the end of 2019 in the Mazzeh district of Damascus to simplify possible administrative complications and facilitate certain transactions. The center provides 25 different services, including some related to the GHE, such as “requests for architectural plans”. It is not known what this service entails, but it is known to be linked to housing units in social and cooperative housing projects implemented by the GHE.

The center also offers services related to Directorate of Cadastral Affairssuch as property documentsreal estate records, surveys and other services related to the Real estate bank, including loans and the payment of certain fees and taxes. Finally, the center offers personal status services for the Ministry of Local Government, such as personal status records, family records and other documents.

This particular center focuses on services related to GHE. There are 13 other Citizen Service Centers in Damascus, all of which are affiliated with the Governorate of Damascus and provide administrative services on behalf of certain public institutions, including issuance of building permitestablishment of lease contracts, issuance of criminal records and other personal status items.

Alternative housing services

An announcement published in the official journal SANA On August 30, the news agency said that the GHE-linked Citizen Service Center would now also provide waiver documents for subscribing to alternative accommodation.

The GHE is currently overseeing the construction of alternative housing projects in Marota City and Basilia City – two zoned real estate areas whose creation was stipulated by Decree No. 66 of 2012. Under this decree, alternative accommodation It accommodates those who owned or occupied a home in either of these two zoned real estate areas and have been evicted from that property due to developments. The beneficiaries of these dwellings must pay the costs, the costs of which are calculated on the basis of construction costs and paid in interest-bearing installments.

Decree No. 66 clarified that those eligible for alternative housing are those who have built their homes on state-owned land and those who have built properties on agricultural land in zoned areas. Decision No. 112 of 2015 of the Minister of Housing also stipulated that these properties must have existed and been occupied before the promulgation of Decree No. 66. The occupants must be the owner or the tenant, and the breadwinner must also reside there.

Decree No. 66 also grants persons entitled to alternative housing the right to sell it after paying back the value of the housing and accrued interest. Beneficiaries can also waive their right to request alternative accommodation or give it to others via a request that they must submit to the GHE or the Directorate for the Implementation of Decree No. 66 in Damascus. An applicant is a person who has the right to obtain alternative accommodation and who has received subscription register which details the data on the subdivision, the owner, the cases of sale and purchase and the payment deadlines.

Where are there alternative housing projects?

In October 2020, the governorate of Damascus offered 5,516 apartments for subscription under the alternative housing project in the cities of Marota and Basilia. However, the construction of these dwellings is not yet complete. The chief executive of GHE told the state-owned company Al-Baath newspaper in December 2020 that the organization had committed to completing two alternative residential towers by 2023. However, this has yet to be done.

Under Decree No. 66, alternative housing must be built within four years of the publication of a decree. Subsequent amendments pursuant to Law No. 10 of 2018, which allow for the establishment of one or more zoned real estate zones in the zoning plans of an administrative unit, stipulate that the alternative dwellings must be handed over to the beneficiaries within four years of their eviction from their original home. In the cases of Marota and Basilia, these deadlines expired years ago.

A delegation of residents of Kafr Sousseh and Mazzeh, which includes landlords, occupiers and investors from the city of Marota, met with the governor of Damascus in late August and suggested the possibility of exchanging alternative housing for shares in the project context. The governor undertook to study their proposal.

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