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Amman municipality refutes claims of ‘delays’ in licensing housing projects

By Merza Noghai - Mar 25,2015 - Last updated at Mar 25,2015

AMMAN — The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) on Wednesday refuted the Jordan Housing Developers Association’s (JHDA) claims that its lengthy procedures in issuing licences are causing losses in the real estate sector.

Administrative procedures in issuing licences do not take more than 12 days, including project assessment and referral to local or district committees to ensure the transaction’s conformity with the Cities and Villages Law and the building codes by-law, according to Imad Hiyari, deputy city director for planning affairs.

JHDA President Kamal Awamleh told the Jordan Times on Monday that GAM’s procedures in issuing licences for housing companies take five to six months, and issuing construction permits needs another six months.

But Hiyari said any delays are due to disputes or failure to meet standards.

“Project owners sometimes violate licence terms and neighbours file complaints against them, which results in disputes where owners have to rectify their status,” Hiyari told The Jordan Times.

He added that committee decisions to grant licences take set-up infrastructure into consideration such as sewage networks, electricity grids and street widths at project locations.

Awamleh said companies usually make a 15 per cent profit in selling their apartments, but with these “slow procedures” it takes them two years, instead of one, to sell their products.

Hiyari stressed that a building licence transaction that meets terms and conditions receives the approval of local committees within 12 days, noting that 80 to 85 per cent of transactions are approved.

 “The remaining transactions are referred to district committees, since local panels are not authorised to look into them, or due to an objection by project owners on local committees’ decisions,” Hiyari said, adding that such matters take time to be settled.

Therefore, he noted, it is better for project owners to ensure their transactions do not have violations, as having correct transactions reduces the time needed to complete them. 

“Some investors are talking about a slowdown in demand on apartments, so the municipality is not responsible for the decline in purchase of property,” the GAM official pointed out. 

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