16 September 2004, Volume 6, Number 31
BOSNIA: HOW SHOULD SUSTAINABLE RETURN BE SUSTAINED?
A program of Radio Most (Bridge) by RFE/RL's Gordana Sandic Hadzihasanovic, with Eduard Katana.
Are foreigners allowed to own real estate in the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina? How should the problem of properties exchanged between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia be resolved? Why are refugees and displaced persons in the Republika Srpska dissatisfied?
Minister of Justice of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina Dzemaludin Mutapcic says foreigners are indeed allowed to own real estate there. Mutapcic: The1998 law on property rights is clear on this, regarding both business properties and permanent residences.
According to the Article 88 of the law on property rights, foreign individuals and organizations conducting business in the federation are allowed to possess real estate in terms of business offices, residential buildings, and apartments, together with the lots on which those buildings are built or will be built.
It goes without saying that one must meet all the legal requirements by, for instance, presenting all the necessary documents showing that one is legally entitled to conduct business.
In the second case, the real-estate owner is a foreign citizen with a permanent residence permit from our Interior Ministry. In either of these cases, the foreigner can then be legally registered as a real-estate owner....
There is, however, sometimes a problem involving reciprocity. This is not an issue with Germany, but there are some difficulties with some other countries....
RFE/RL: One listener from Sjenica in Serbia and Montenegro says that she was not allowed to register a house she had bought in Sarajevo, so she was forced to have a member of her family do it for her.
Mutapcic: This is a case of permanent residence as a requirement for the legal ownership of real estate. Once she presents proof that she is entitled to permanent residence, she has met the criterion for legal ownership of a property.
If she does not have permanent residence, then she cannot legally own property. But that can [also] be taken care of by obtaining citizenship and an identity card.