New law to require demolition of illegal buildings; Interior Ministry seeks exemption for Roma

The Transport Ministry has prepared new, stricter rules to make demolition of illegal buildings easier. The new Construction Act will allow authorities to stop all work on buildings lacking the necessary permits, and punish those who refuse to halt such work with imprisonment for up to five years. The Interior Ministry will require an exemption for Roma, the Sme daily reported on July 20.

The Transport Ministry has prepared new, stricter rules to make demolition of illegal buildings easier. The new Construction Act will allow authorities to stop all work on buildings lacking the necessary permits, and punish those who refuse to halt such work with imprisonment for up to five years. The Interior Ministry will require an exemption for Roma, the Sme daily reported on July 20.

If an owner of an illegal structure refuses to halt construction work on his or her building, the new Construction Act will require the building in question to be put up for auction. The auction’s winner will then be allowed to demolish the building and construct something new. Moreover, people without the necessary building permits will be threatened with prison if they do not tear the illegal structure down, Sme wrote.

The Transport Ministry proposes offering one year since the law becomes effective for people to legalise their buildings.

The new rules could affect hundreds of Roma families who built their houses on land they do not own. In some such houses, some Roma regularly pay for utilities despite living on land that is not theirs. The Interior Ministry has already said that it will ask for an exception for Roma.

Municipalities, Roma and the opposition all agree that the new Construction Act will not be functional in practice, and that illegal buildings will not disappear from Slovakia.

Roma mayor Ľudovít Gunár from Krásnohorské Podhradie said the law will not be as easy to implement as its authors imagine. He proposed prolonging the length of time required for legalising illegal buildings or allowing Roma to buy the land on which they live in illegal dwellings and paying in instalments, as reported by Sme.

Also, Laco Oravec of the Milan Šimečka Foundation says that whoever thinks that the houses will disappear with the wave of a magic wand is mistaken.

On the other hand, some municipalities welcome the stricter rules.

State Secretary of the Transport Ministry František Palko said that lawmakers will put the finishing touches on the law. He has stated before that the amendment’s purpose is to combat illegal structures and people who are above the law, Sme wrote.

If it passes in parliament, the law could come into force as of July 2014, Sme wrote.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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