The Protector of Citizens Mr. Zoran Pašalić submitted an initiative to amend the provisions of the Law on Housing and Building Maintenance that would enable adequate redress to the tenant of the apartment owned by citizens, endowments and foundations (protected tenants) or the owner of the rented apartment, which would significantly speed up the solution of this decades-old problem.
“The legal deadline for addressing this issue is the end of 2026, but it is already certain that this issue cannot be resolved until then, and any further extension of the deadlines is neither in the interest of the owners who wait for decades to enter into possession of their apartments nor the tenants who are waiting for the problem to be solved. The Protector of Citizens’ Institution primarily abides by the Law, but in this case the moral aspect of the whole problem was very important to us, that is, the fact that the apartments owners and tenants have been waiting too long for its final solution, Mr. Pašalić stated.
Having in mind the current dynamics of the implementation of the removal and resettlement procedure, as well as availability of publicly owned housing stock, it becomes clear that the tenants’ problem cannot be solved in a legally prescribed deadline. There is no need to wait until 2026 to commence solving this problem, Mr. Pašalić clarified.
The Protector of Citizens states that he brought up the amendments to the Law on Housing and Building Maintenance in order to achieve a full balance between the interests of apartment owners and "protected tenants", particularly in the Articles 145 and 151, which govern the notion of a suitable apartment and the procedure for redress for a suitable apartment.
Amendments to Article 145 would regulate norming the term adequate apartment which entails an apartment that by its size, comfort and cadastral municipality matches the flat from which the tenant is being moved away. In this way, it would be impossible for the tenants to get a significantly smaller apartment for use during the removal, which was one of the negative consequences of the earlier normative solution, the Protector of Citizens states.
The necessity to amend Article 151, which specifies the obligation of the local self-government to pay redress worth the appropriate apartment referred to in Article 145, arises from the need for the amount of that fee to be equal to the market value of the apartment from which the tenant moves out instead of the amount corresponding to the value of a potential apartment, Mr. Pašalić specified.
The Protector of Citizens clarifies that the payment of the total, real values of the apartment means meeting the needs and satisfaction for the citizens who have to give up their continuous bond with the apartment they call home.
Mr. Pašalić submitted the initiative to amend the Law on Housing and Maintenance of Buildings to the Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure, as an instance which, according to the Law on Ministries, is tasked with state administration activities related to the regulation of housing relations and housing business.