Buildings at risk to be demolished without awaiting residents’ approval: Minister

Buildings at risk to be demolished without awaiting residents’ approval: Minister

Gülistan Alagöz - ANKARA
Buildings at risk to be demolished without awaiting residents’ approval: Minister

The government will take firm steps toward the demolition of buildings at risk without having to wait for the approval of the buildings’ residents, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum has said.

“Our priority is the lives of our citizens. In situations that require an urgent action, the approval of citizens [apartment residents] will no longer be waited for. The buildings will be demolished to be renewed with new ones,” Kurum said in an interview with daily Hürriyet.

The ministry has been working for a while now on a legislative proposal governing urban planning activities in Turkey, with the aforementioned issue being one of the priorities of the new proposal, Kurum said.

The proposal was submitted to parliament on June 27 and accepted by the Committee on Public Works, Reconstruction, Transpiration and Tourism to be discussed.

“We are bringing a substantial solution to areas concerning structures that have collapsed on their own or have been damaged heavily due to incidents such as landslide, fire or explosion. Our ministry will undertake the transformation projects here sua sponte, without a requirement of tenants’ approval. And the contracts that have been previously signed on these areas will be cancelled,” he said.

Residents of the buildings that have been instructed by authorities to evacuate will be given moving and rent allowances, the minister said. “We do not have an option to wait in places where there is a risk of life,” he said.

The new proposal also tackles urbanization projects that are left unfinished, Kurum said. The agreements of firms that leave such construction projects unfinished will be cancelled unilaterally, he said.

“There are cases in which the construction of the new structure had not been started one year after the tenants have come to an agreement. Or the construction has been stopped at a certain level and at least for six months, no construction has been undertaken. In such cases, [the new regulation will make it possible for] a decision to cancel the [relevant] agreement to be undertaken with at least two thirds of the tenants,” he said.

“Firstly, the ministry will warn the contractor firm and will give it a time of 30 days to resume the [construction] works. If it does not start [the construction] despite the warning, the agreements will be cancelled sua sponte,” he said.

Asked what kind of a step tenants will be able to undertake following the cancellation of the relevant agreement, Kurum said that they can find another contract firm or choose government institutions affiliated with the ministry to complete the urbanization project.

Kurum reiterated the ministry’s aim to renew 300,000 dwellings each year as part of urban transformation projects, adding that of this figure, about 40,000-50,000 will be undertaken by the ministry itself or Turkey’s government-backed housing agency TOKİ.

“In every district [requiring an urbanization transformation project], an exemplary project with a horizontal architecture will be undertaken and the countenance of the cities will change,” he said.