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In trying to reverse the destructive effect of the conflict and the legacy of discrimination, it was seen as critical that a process be put in place to regularize housing and property rights in kosovo.  This called for a process based on a comprehensive legal framework which would comply with international human rights standards and principles.

On 15 November 1999, UNMIK passed Regulation 1999/23 establishing the Housing and Property Directorate (HPD) and the Housing and Property Claims Commission (HPCC) in order to regularize housing and property rights in Kosovo and to resolve disputes over residential property.  The HPD and HPCC were specifically set up to create an impartial and independent mechanism for resolving claims using local and international legal expertise.
The HPD forms a distinct component within the UNMIK Civil Administration(pillar-II).Its Executive Director reports directly to the Deputy SRSG for Civil Administration.

As an exception to the local courts, the HPD has exclusive jurisdiction over three categories of residential property claims; claims by individuals who lost property rights as a result of discrimination after 23 March 1989, claims by individuals who entered into informal property transactions which could not be registered due to discriminatory laws, between 24 March 1989 and 13 October 1999 and claims by individuals who involuntarily lost possession of their properties after 24 March 1999.  The rules of procedure and evidence of the HPD and HPCC is governed by UNMIK Regulation 2000/60, which came into force on 31 October 2000.

The HPD conducts legal research, prepares claims, mediate and forward claims to the HPCC for adjudication.  In addition, it administers abandoned residential properties throughout Kosovo for the purpose of providing for the housing needs of displaced persons.  The HPD also serves in part as the secretariat for the HPCC. In order to carry out and manage its workload the HPD has 220 staff, nationals as well as internationals, deployed in 7 offices, additional sub-offices and mobile teams in Kosovo, Serbia proper, Montenegro and in Former Yugoslav Republic of Marcedonia(FYROM). Approximately 90% of the HPD's staffing is national and the international component is present to provide program management; substantive quality control; advices; and form a shield against external pressure.

The HPCC is the independent judicial organ of HPD, and is staffed by one national and two international Commissioners.  Decisions made by the HPCC are final and not subject to review by any other judicial authority in Kosovo.  They are implemented by the Directorate in line with UNMIK Regulation 2000/60.

HPD-organogram.

What the Housing and Property Directorate is not?


The HPD is not a returns agency.

The HPDs mandate is to settle legal disputes on residential property and to provide overall direction on property rights in Kosovo in accordance with its mandate. by resolving property disputes, the HPD also contributes to the rule of law and encourage financial investment, both of which are recognized as an integral part of the overall effort to develop a sustainable economy for the benefit of both Kosovo and the region in which it is located.
HPD is not responsible for actively promoting returns. By settling disputes on residential property the HPD allows those who, for different reasons, lost their property right to have their right recognized. Whether this actually leads to a return or not depends largely on the will of the successful claimant, and on the political environment.

The HPD is not a humanitarian/social welfare organization

HPD cannot allocate the properties under its administration to the general public on an humanitarian basis. The HPD does not have the obligation to find alternative accomodation for evictees.
The HPDs basic mandate is not an humanitarian, but a legal one: to settle disputes on residential property and to execute the rule of law.
As regrettable as the circumstances of some people are whom the HPD has to evict, it should be noted that the HPD is not mandated to address challenges in the field of social housing and /or humanitarian cases. The obligation to address and regulate social housing lies firmly with the PISG, in particular the municipalities. This obligation was transferred from UNMIK to the PISG in 2000(see Regulation no. 2000/45, Section 3.1 K).

With this in mind, and knowing that the number of repossession requests is likely to increase steadily, the HPD has alerted the Municipalities to the fact that an increasing number of people will be looking for alternative accommodation.
The HPD is prepared to support the Municipalities to find solutions for those who are unquestionably living in very difficult conditions, for instance, through a rental scheme (social housing financially supported by the PISG). The agreement recently established between the HPD and the Municipality of Pej/Pec is a good example of this.

The HPD is not UN-HABITAT

The HPD and UN-HABITAT (the United Nations human settlements programme) are two completely different bodies. UN-HABITAT was, up to November 2002, HPDs implementing agency.It facilitated the establishment of the HPD and oversaw the implementation and management of its operations during this time.While UN-HABITAT is a specialized UN agency on its own, HPD is a distinct institution within the executive branch of UNMIK, which was created to settle specific disputes relating to residential properties in Kosovo.

The HPD is not a compensatory mechanism

The HPD is not mandated to award compensation for loss or damage to property.The HPD is not responsible for paying compensations for loss or damage to properties and/or goods. Further it is not mandated to consider compensation for Destroyed properties. Compensation claims for damage to property should be instituted in the municipal Courts or the local Government level.

The HPD is not a real estate agency

The HPD does not promote or facilitate the sale or purchase of claimed properties, and it does not make a profit out of its activity.

HPD does not resolve all sorts of property disputes

The HPD does not settle disputes related to commercial or agricultural property; nor does it deals with contractual problems or to boundary disputes.
The HPD will not evict the current occupant from a claimed property purchased after 24 March 1999. The Directorate has no jurisdiction over these cases, which fall under the jurisdiction of Municipal Courts. The Directorate only deals with very specific categories of disputes arising in relation to private residential property. Its jurisdiction is limited to:
1) Property lost due to discriminatory laws and practices during the period comprised between 1989 and 1999;
2) Informal transactions of residential property Voluntarily entered into between 23 March 1989 and 13 October 1999which could not be registered due to discriminatory laws (transactions not registered because of these laws); and
3) Illegal Occupations after the NATOs intervention in 1999

In addition the HPD is mandated to administer abandoned residential properties.

 

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