(Official Gazette of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 11/98, 29/98, 27/99, 43/99)
Unofficial Translation: Status November 1999 (consolidated version-for internal use only)
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
From the day of the entry into force of this law, the Law on Temporary Abandoned Real Property Owned by Citizens (Official Gazette RBiH 11/93, 13/94 – hereinafter: the Law) and regulations regulating the issue of temporary abandoned property owned by citizens in the period between 30 April 1991 and the entry into force of this law, shall cease to applied on the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Federation).
From the day of the entry into force of this Law, the bodies and authorities of the Federation and other bodies in the Federation ( hereinafter: the competent authorities) shall refrain from undertaking any new actions by which real property owned by citizens is declared abandoned or placed under municipal administration.
Real property declared abandoned and placed under municipal administration on the basis of the Law on Temporary Abandoned Real Property Owned by Citizens shall remain under municipal administration until the return of the real property to the owner pursuant to the provisions of this Law.
Owner of the real property declared abandoned shall have the right to file a claim for the return of the real property at any time.
Exceptionally, claims for repossession of real property may also be made by persons who were in unconditional possession of the real property at the time it was declared abandoned.
For the purpose of this Law, the owner shall be understood to mean a person which, according to the legislation in force, was the owner of the real property at the moment when that property was declared abandoned.
The owner of the real property may authorise another person to submit the claim for the return of the real property.
The user to whom the real property has been allocated for temporary use on the basis of the Law on Temporary Abandoned Real Property (hereinafter: the temporary user), shall continue to use the real property under the conditions and in the manner which were prescribed by the Law on Temporary Abandoned Real Property, until the issuance of a decision under Article 12 of this Law.
If a temporary user who has been ordered to vacate the property pursuant to the provisions of this Law has no possibility to return to the apartment or real property in which he was living until 30 April 1991 and his/her housing needs are not otherwise met, the competent service of the municipality on the territory of which s/he enjoyed the latest domicile or residence shall, within the deadline set by the decision for his/her vacation of the property, provide him/her with an emergency accommodation or an appropriate accommodation if, pursuant to Article 8(4) of the Law on Housing Relations, this person cannot be lodged in an emergency accommodation.
The authorities responsible to provide emergency or appropriate accommodation (hereinafter “alternative accommodation”) shall not be obliged to provide either an emergency or appropriate accommodation to persons occupying the property without a valid legal title.
In no event shall the failure of the municipality to meet its obligations under Paragraph 1. of this Article operate to delay the ability of the owner to reclaim his property.
For the purposes of this Law, an emergency accommodation shall be understood to mean the emergency accommodation pursuant to Article 8 of the Law on Housing Relations (Official Gazette of SR BiH 4/84, 12/86, 36/89).
Parties in proceedings instituted at the owner’s request for repossession of the real property shall be the owner of the real property and the temporary occupant at the time the request was submitted.
II. RETURN OF REAL PROPERTY TO THE OWNER
The owner of private property has the right to claim at any time from the competent authorities the repossession of his/her property which has been declared abandoned or allocated for temporary use.
A claim for repossession of a property under Article 10 of this Law shall be filed by the owner to the competent municipal, city or cantonal administrative body competent for property – law affairs.
The claim shall be submitted in writing, signed by the owner or orally, in person by the owner or an authorised representative.
A claim should include:
1. all necessary information on the property;
2. any evidence in possession of the claimant that the claimant is the owner;
3. the date when the owner intends to reoccupy the property.
The claim for repossession of property referred to in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall not be subject to the statute of limitations.
Upon the receipt of the owner’s claim for the return of the property, the competent body shall issue a decision on the return of the property to the owner within a period of 30 days from the date of the receipt of the claim.
The decision referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article by which the owner’s claim is accepted shall contain:
1. a decision terminating the municipal administration of the property as of the date of the intended return;
2. a decision on repossession of the property by the owner;
3. a decision terminating the right of the temporary user
4. a time limit for vacating the property by the temporary user or the person using the property without a valid legal title, or the time limit for returning the land;
5. a decision whether the temporary user is entitled to emergency accommodation.
The deadline for vacating the property, referred to in Paragraph 2(4) of this Article may not be shorter than 90 days from the date of the issuance of the decision, nor longer than the day of intended return of the owner and the day of intended return may not be earlier than 90 days from the date of submitting the claim for return of the property, unless a shorter deadline applies.
Exceptionally from the provision of paragraph 3 of this Article, the deadline for vacating the property for an illegal user, or a temporary user of the property who is not entitled to alternative accommodation, shall be 15 days from the date of delivery of the decision referred to in paragraph 1.
In exceptional circumstances, the deadline referred to in Paragraph 3 of this Article may be extended to up to one year if the municipality responsible for providing alternative accommodation in accordance with Article 7(1) of this Law provides detailed documentation regarding its efforts to secure alternative accommodation to the Federation Ministry of Urban Planning and Environment, and upon a finding by the Ministry, which shall be agreed upon by the Office of the High Representative, that there exists a documented absence of available housing in the municipality, which shall be agreed upon by the Office of the High Representative.
In case of the return of arable land, the time limit referred to in Paragraph 2 (4) of this Article may be extended until the harvest is completed.
The competent authority must notify the owner of the property and the temporary user of the property.
Any appeal against the decision must be submitted to the cantonal administrative body competent for the property law affairs within 15 days from the date of receipt of the decision.
An appeal shall not suspend the execution of the decision.
A party affected by a decision made under Article 12 may at any time file a claim to the Commission for Real Property Claims of Displaced Persons and Refugees (GFAP, Annex 7, hereinafter the Property Commission).
In the event that a proceeding from Paragraph 1 of this Article is initiated, all other proceedings before the competent authorities, including the enforcement of decision referred to in Article 12 of this Law, shall be stayed pending the final decision of the Property Commission, but only in cases where the responsible body has rejected the request of the claimant on formal or material grounds, and where suspension has been requested by the Property Commission.
A decision of the Property Commission is final and binding.
Regarding the rights and obligations of a party referred to in Paragraph 1. of this Article, the decision of the Property Commission shall have the same legal force as a decision of any other competent authority made in accordance with this Law.
The return of the property to the owner shall be witnessed by an official of the competent office of the municipality referred to in Article 11, paragraph 1 of this Law.
The return of the property and the entering into possession by the owner shall be recorded in the minutes including, among other things, a detailed description of the current state of the premises and the movable property therein.
If the person occupying the property fails to voluntarily comply with the decision ordering him/her to vacate the property the competent authority shall employ compulsory enforcement, in accordance with the law.
The enforcement shall be carried out at the request of the owner.
Exceptionally, the competent administrative body shall, ex officio, or upon the request of a person who has a legal interest in the procedure, pass a decision to vacate the real property immediately in cases where the current user is a multiple occupant. The affected person has the right to file an appeal (zalba) against the decision, but the appeal does not suspend the eviction.
A multiple occupant includes, among others, a current user who uses a real property and who:
1. is in possession of a house or is using an apartment in cases where the house or apartment is sufficiently intact to provide for basic living conditions (protection against weather; water installations and sanitary fittings to an appropriate level; electricity; heating; privacy; and security of belongings); or
2. is in possession of the house or apartment in which s/he lived on 30 April 1991 (hereinafter “1991 home”); or where a member of his/her family household is in possession of his/her 1991 home; in cases where his/her 1991 home is sufficiently intact to provide for basic living conditions; or
3. has already been provided with alternative accommodation by a responsible body; or
4. has a member of his/her family household of 30 April 1991 who has accommodation in the same city, municipality or place; or
5. has a legal right to return into possession of his/her 1991 home; and his/her 1991 home is sufficiently intact to provide for basic living conditions, as explained in this paragraph; and it is possible for him/her to return into possession of his/her 1991 home in safety and dignity.
In cases where a claim has been filed under this Law for a real property which is vacated by a multiple occupant, and no decision has been issued at the date of vacation, the competent body shall immediately issue a decision on the claim.
The proceedings for the repossession of real property by the owner as determined in this law and proceedings of the compulsory enforcement referred to in Article 16 of this law shall be carried out in accordance with the Law on General Administrative Procedure (Official Gazette 2/92 and 13/94) which is applicable in the territory of the Federation until the competent authorities decide otherwise, based on Article IX.5 (1) of the Federation Constitution.
The provisions of this Law shall also apply to real property owned by citizens which was not declared abandoned in accordance with the regulations referred to in Article 1 of this Law, if the owner abandoned the real property before 4 April 1998.
All binding court decisions which order the return of real property to the possession of the owner shall be enforced by the court.
Pending proceedings on the return of real property to the possession of the owner will continue, while new claims for the return of property shall be submitted to the responsible organ under Article 11 of this Law.
The provisions of this Law shall also apply to the abandoned real property, the ownership of which has been acquired after 30 April 1991 based on any legal transfer of real property rights (contracts on exchange, sale, gift etc.)
In case of a dispute as to the lawfulness of the transferred real property right, the competent body shall refer the matter to the competent court according to the provisions of the Law on Administrative Procedures regulating preliminary issues, in order to rule on the allegation.
The competent administrative body shall be fined 1000 to 5000 KM for the following minor offences:
1. if it does not order the vacation of the real property within 15 days in accordance with Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Law;
2. if it fails to process an eviction request because one of the parties filed an appeal against the prior decision, as set out in Article 13, paragraph 3 of the Law;
3. if it fails to hand over the real property in accordance with Article 15 of the Law;
4. if it is required to take action against a multiple occupant, as set out in Article 16, paragraph 3, or if it fails to issue a decision according to Article 16, paragraph 5 of the Law;
The responsible person in the competent administrative body shall also be fined 200 to 1000 KM for violation of paragraph 1 of this Article.
In addition to the above, a person who is a multiple occupant as defined:
1. in Article 16, paragraph 4, Items 1 and 2 of the Law and who fails to comply with the eviction order shall be fined 100 to 500 KM;
2. in Article 16, paragraph 4, Items 3 to 5 of the Law and who fails to comply with the eviction order shall be fined 50 to 200 KM.
This law shall enter into force on the day following its publication in the “Official Gazette” of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.