A draft bill that would allow relatives of refugees to inherit homes on refugee estates built by the government following the 1974 invasion was discussed at the House refugees committee on Tuesday.

The bill is meant to create the right to inherit properties of individuals living on refugee estates who died before 2006.

According to Akel MP and committee head Nicos Kettiros, the original law about inheritance was passed in April 2006 leaving a gap for the next of kin of refugees who died before 2006.

Regarding the current proposed law, he said: “We received some advice and drafted the proposed law, which states that since this legislation does not affect either the public interest or the interests of any citizen, then there is no question of unconstitutionality, and the proposal can proceed.”

Kettiros added that there were some doubts on the part of the interior ministry, regarding the refugee estates, “because these residences had been reclaimed since 2006 and had been given to other refugees. Therefore, a reflection was introduced to see if all the refugee estates will be exempted and only homes will remain in the legislation, or if a relevant provision will be included regarding the residences, which had not been recovered.”

Regarding the bill, Kettiros said the interior ministry requested discussion be delayed, as there was already another similar bill being examined by the attorney-general’s office.

However, he stated the bill at the legal service has been there for over a year. He added that he requested the ministry provide a deadline for when they would submit the revisions, but no answer was received, so the committee went ahead with the bill they drafted.

The committee also discussed a draft bill to have the state, the Turkish Cypriot Property Management Authority, and the interior ministry inspect all Turkish Cypriot homes and shops and ensure they are earthquake proof.

“It is a security issue. They are buildings over 47-48 years old and constructed with building materials of the time. Since there is an obligation for the new houses, which are being erected today, to comply with the conditions and safety certificates, it is not possible to grant houses to refugees without meeting the necessary specifications,” Kettiros said.