GeriGündem Elections over, here comes the penalties
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Elections over, here comes the penalties

ANKARA - The government is now taking action on illegal housing, which was tolerated before the March 29 local elections. The Ministry of Public Works and Settlement has rearranged the related construction law that outlined the penalties for illegal buildings and brought forth heavy fines. The existing law was canceled by the Constitutional Court.

If the ministry’s draft law passes as it is, then any kind of illegal building may be charged with fines ranging from 3 to 63 liras per square meter with the minimum amount not less than 500 liras. The mentioned draft also allows the Cabinet to change the fines each year.

Although the Constitutional Court had canceled the law for those penalties on Nov. 5, 2008 and the legal time limit for a change is four months, the government did not act on it because of the local elections. Therefore, no illegal building could be fined in the last month. The Prime Ministry intervened right after the elections by submitting the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Public Works and Settlement some months ago.

The draft law also brings other changes: If the building material does not fit the set standards, 20 percent of the estimated cost of the building will be fined in cash. If this happens with a public building or a building not belonging to the builder, the fine will increase an extra 40 percent. If the building is on a non-housing site, the fine increases 80 percent and in the case of endangering lives or property, the fine will increase 100 percent of the estimated cost. If the building is not licensed, the fine increases 180 percent. If construction continues despite a revoked license, the fine increases 50 percent of the estimated cost and if new construction is started without renewing the license, the fine increases 100 percent.

While the high consequences of the cash fines attract attention, the draft law also can bar people from the profession who construct illegal housing. Constructors or constructors’ supervisors may be barred from the profession for one to five years if convicted.

The Constitutional Court had found the existing law lacking of objective criteria that the penalties could be based upon.
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