NEWS

Settlement close for illegal construction

Just a few months before the next election campaign gets under way, the government is about to make a number of amendments to the law on dealing with illegally constructed buildings and to resolve a number of problems in the housing sector. Most of the amendments are influenced by a desire to provide favorable terms for the owners of some 1 million illegally built structures around the country, but it will not be able to resolve all aspects of the situation as it is today. The Public Works Ministry (YPEHODE) has drafted measures that allow favorable terms for the payment of fines, which are imposed from the time the building is «discovered» until such time as it is demolished or else included in the town plan. The changed provisions also reduce the fines imposed on illegally built homes and provide for immediate power supplies as well as the legalization of buildings that come within town plans. The provisions are expected to become law within the month, clearing the way for an estimated 200,000 homes around the country. In practice, however, the ministry wants to speed up the drafting of town plans without the usual bureaucracy that sometimes takes up to 12 years. The main change the ministry is making involves a faster process for implementing new town plans; the solution being put forward is the decentralization of authority to the regions. It remains to be seen if this ever comes into being.