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What Does the Bill of Law Change for Urban Transformation?


Ece Ergün

In our earthquake-prone country, Law No. 6306. on Transformation of Areas Under Disaster Risk (“Law”) also known as the Urban Transformation Law, is enforced to renew buildings that lack earthquake resistant. The issues that have arisen during the period when the Law was in effect, the delays experienced, the processes that did not progress as desired, and, finally, the devastating earthquake that occurred on February 6, 2023, resulting in the loss tens of thousands of our citizens’ lives, have expedited the need for revisions to the existing Law.


At the end of these efforts, on October 20, 2023, the Bill of Law on Amendments to the Law on the Transformation of Areas Under Disaster Risk and Some Laws and Law No. 375 Decree Law (“Bill of Law”) was presented to the parliament. The Bill of Law encompasses numerous changes, primarily aimed at expediting urban transformation processes. The significant changes within the Bill of Law are as follows:


Detection of Risky Buildings Ex Officio

The first regulation introduced within the scope of the Bill of Law is related to the detection of risky buildings. If the Bill of Law is enacted, the Urban Transformation Directorate (“Directorate”) or Municipalities (metropolitan or district) / Provincial Special Administrations (each, “Administration”) will have the authority to detect risky buildings ex officio (without any request). Under the existing Law, building owners are initially granted a period to detect risky buildings themselves, and the Directorate or Administration can only proceed with the detection process if no action is taken within the given period.


The Law Enforcement Support

When the detection of risky buildings is obstructed, the evacuation and demolition of buildings identified as risky buildings are prevented, or when the relevant individuals cannot be reached during these processes the Bill of Law establishes provisions to allow the opening of closed doors or areas with the support of law enforcement. With this regulation, entry to the relevant areas with law enforcement support will now be possible in situations such as detection of risky buildings, not opening doors for demolition teams, or attempting to obstruct the process by leaving the premises.


Decision-Making by Absolute Majority

Another significant amendment planned to be introduced within the scope of the Bill of Law is the majority required for decision-making. Under the current Law, decisions can be made with a majority of at least 2/3 of the shareholders based on their share ratios. Within the scope of the Bill of Law, this ratio is redefined as an absolute majority (%50+1).

Consequently, it is anticipated that this change will expedite the process, preventing it from bringing to a half for months or even years. The decision made by the building owners will be notified to those who do not participate in the decision through a notary or by being publicly announced for a 15-day period at the relevant neighborhood office.


Expediting The Notification Process to Building Owners

Another significant amendment pertains to the notification process. Under the current Law, all notifications are conducted in accordance with the provisions of Notification Law. However, the presence of building owners with unknown addresses or those residing abroad often leads to significant delays and disrupts the progress of the process. With the Bill of Law, in order to expedite this process notifications within the scope of the process will be affixed to the relevant building, posted on individuals’ E-Devlet accounts, and announced at the headman’s office in the vicinity of the risky building for a 15-day period If the Bill of Law is enacted, individual notifications will no longer be sent to each building owner. Instead, once the announcement period at the neighborhood office expires, it will be considered that notifications have been sent to every building owner, allowing the process to move forward quickly. The accelerated notification process aims to replace the existing minimum 60-day initial period and maximum 30-day additional period envisaged for the demolition of risky buildings with a single minimum 90-day period, preventing unnecessary extensions of deadlines.


Financial Aid Opportunity for Construction

Another proposed amendment in the Bill of Law pertains to a regulation aimed at expediting the urban transformation process. This regulation allows for financial assistance for construction, in addition to rental assistance, housing, or workplace allocation. The procedures and principles for the construction assistance will be established by the Presidency. In other words, if the proposal becomes law, the details of how this new assistance will operate, its amount, whether it will be provided for a specified period or as a one-time benefit, will be regulated in the subsequent processes.


Amendments Were Introduced in The Areas Designated as Disaster Zones Following the Earthquake on February 6, 2023

Lastly, significant changes have occurred regarding the administrative proceedings related to cancellation lawsuits filed solely concerning damages caused by the earthquake’s impact within the areas designated as disaster zones following the earthquake on February 6, 2023. The initiation of objection processes and the deadlines for submitting petitions within these initiated processes have been shortened, diverging from the general rules. Additionally, avenues for objections have been closed regarding the requested measures in annulment lawsuits initiated in these areas.


Conclusion

When examined as a whole, it can be observed that the primary objective of the Bill of Law is to address practical issues, expedite processes, and provide increased support to building owners in the urban transformation process. This significance is amplified, especially after the major earthquake disaster that occurred earlier this year, emphasizing the urgent need for the swift transformation of risky buildings If the Bill of Law becomes law, the implementation, and consequences of these changes in practice will become evident over time.


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