Legalization of unpermitted constructions brings many benefits to the citizens of Kosovo

Prishtina, March 16, 2021 – The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo in cooperation with USAID Economic Governance Program organized a virtual discussion regarding the legalization of unpermitted construction. Part of the panel for this virtual discussion were representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Environment, the Municipality of Prishtina, and the Kosovo Cadastral Agency. During this discussion, the progress of this process so far was emphasized.

The Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, Arian Zeka, noted that the legalization process brings multidimensional benefits to citizens and the private sector, starting from the unimpeded use of property rights, as well as the putting of these properties in function of economic development. Zeka stated that there is a great loss of economic potential deriving from the impossibility of using unpermitted constructions as a mortgage for access to finance, or for business and investment activities.

The Director of the Department of Spatial Planning, Construction and Housing in the Ministry of Economy and Environment, Servet Spahiu, said that in general there’s been an increase in the interest of citizens for legalization. He said that in the Municipality of Prishtina and Gracanica, about 500 registrations in the cadastre of legalized constructions have been finalized, which together reach a market value of up to 96 million euros. Furthermore, Spahiu spoke about the software application of the Government of Kosovo for the registration of cases in the process of legalization, noting that it is a very important tool that makes it possible for municipalities to administer and follow all the steps of treatment of a subject. He emphasized the close cooperation with the Cadastral Agency in this process and invited all municipalities to implement the legalization program by informing their citizens about the procedures, cross-sectoral cooperation within the municipality, implementation of instructions issued by the Kosovo Cadastral Agency for the registration in the cadastre of legalized constructions, and the regular and complete use of the application for registration of cases in the process of legalization.

Ardian Olluri, Head of the Legalization Task Force and Director of the Directorate of Urbanism in the Municipality of Prishtina, speaking of the legalization process in this municipality, as well as the lessons learned so far, said that the Municipality of Prishtina has created a special sector for legalization, which through expanded professional capacities handles the requests for the legalization of constructions. He added that the municipality continuously calls on citizens to use the opportunity for legalization, while also announcing that this institution has a serviced office that advises citizens throughout the application process. According to Olluri, the software application for the registration of legalization cases has greatly helped the Municipality of Prishtina in managing legalization cases.

Avni Ahmeti, Chief Executive Officer of the Kosovo Cadastral Agency, spoke about the importance of registering constructions in the Cadastre, and the benefits of citizens from this process, starting from property clarity, legal protection, secure transfer of property rights through sale and inheritance, and finally the possibility for a mortgage. Ahmeti said that the agency he leads has been a promoter of legalization from the beginning, as it considering this process as one of the main pillars for creating better welfare for the citizens of Kosovo. According to him, the agency has advanced the internal system and property certificates which now are issued to citizens in better detail has simplified the mortgage registration procedures, and has drafted a number of instructions that help the municipal cadastral offices to register as many constructions as possible. He invited all cadastral offices, in all municipalities, to cooperate closely with the directorates of urbanism because this cooperation is not only desirable but is a prerequisite for the success of the legalization process.