Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, has issued Decree-Law No. (2) of 2020 on the expropriation of real estate for public benefit in the emirate of Sharjah.
The decree stipulates that property must not be expropriated except in the public interest and in exchange for fair compensation.
The law, which is in line with the public interest law of the emirate, includes urban planning, rehabilitation, and replacement projects; the development of public projects, infrastructure, public and service facilities and government buildings.
It also applies to the establishment of natural reserves and pastoral areas; the positioning and protecting the physical cultural heritage sites; as well as projects aimed at achieving and enhancing security, serenity, health, and public morals.
According to the decree, expropriations can be applied to surrounding or adjacent properties that negatively affect public projects, infrastructure, public and service facilities, government buildings.
It also applies to expropriated properties, in terms of achieving the public benefit by improving urban form, appearance, area, improvement, or required development.
According to Article (4) of the Decree-Law, the Compensation Commission and the Appeals Commission are to be established and follow the Department of Town Planning and Survey. The commissions will enjoy certain competences and jurisdiction.
The Compensation Commission will comprise of a chairman, vice-chairman and a sufficient number of members to be named by a decision of the Sharjah Executive Council (SEC). The Appeals Commission shall be formed by a decision of the Sharjah Executive Council.
Article No. (7) of the Decree-Law has further stipulated that it is not permissible to combine the membership of any of the committees referred to in Article No. (4) of this law. The Decree-Law specifies the procedures for expropriating the real estate.
The expropriation of real estate for the public benefit shall be implemented by a decision of the Sharjah Executive Council or its delegates upon the proposal of the Chairman of the Department of Town Planning and Survey (DTPS).
The government agencies must submit their requests for expropriation of real estate for the public benefit to the DTPS’s chairman to study it and submit the appropriate recommendations in this regard to the Executive Council.
If approved, the Sharjah Executive Council may charge the government agency, which submitted the expropriation request, all or part of the compensation amount due to the property holder.
The Department of Town Planning and Survey shall notify the property holder and the concerned authorities of the expropriation decision for the public benefit within 60 days of its issuance, in accordance with the procedures determined by the executive regulations.
The Decree-Law has also stated that the ownership of the expropriated real estate for the public benefit shall be transferred to the government as of the effective date of the expropriation decision.
It also stipulates that compensation is estimated according to the market value of the property at the time of the expropriation decision issued by the Compensation Commission, and the executive regulations specify the rules and principles for assessing compensation.
The compensation for the expropriated real estate for the public benefit is to be in cash or in kind, with an alternative property or both, according to the Compensation Commission’s decision.
Department of Town Planning and Survey shall present the compensation to the property holder within a period not exceeding 90 days from the entry into force of the expropriation decision for the public benefit.
The Decree-Law has further stated that the Planning and Surveying Department takes all procedures for evicting the expropriated real estate for the public benefit, according to what is determined by the executive regulations, and it has the right to seek the help of forced execution of the decisions.
A decision of the Executive Council shall be issued based on the Chairman’s presentation of the following: the executive regulations; administrative violations and penalties; and the topics for which no regulation is stipulated in this decree in a manner that does not contradict its provisions.
According to Article No. (23) of the Decree-Law, the Executive Council Resolution No. (31) of 2012 regarding the organisation of the permanent compensation committee in the Emirate of Sharjah has been cancelled, and any provision that contradicts the provisions of this decree is repealed by law.
All regulations and executive decisions that do not contradict with the provisions of this decree shall continue its practices, until it is amended or cancelled according to the executive regulations of this Decree-Law or the decisions issued according to it.
The Sharjah Consultative Council shall be informed of this Decree-Law as soon as it convenes. The Decree-Law is effective by law after 6 months from the date of its issuance, according to the state-run news agency, Wam.