For cultural and historic reasons property rights in Kosovo have been transacted outside the cadastral system creating widespread informality. This paper discusses reasons for informal land holdings in Kosovo, how they have been exacerbated by displacement caused by the 1998-1999 conflict, and recognition by the country’s National Strategy on Property Rights of the need for an adjudicatory body applying streamlined administrative procedures to provide legal recognition of informal rights to update Kosovo’s cadastral records and resolve informality at scale. Through legal analysis, the paper explains how the legal doctrine of “constructive notice” coupled with a statutory deadline within which rights must be asserted can be applied to administrative procedures to make the process of rights recognition more efficient. Constructive notice must, however, be delivered through robust public information and outreach campaigns to ensure any parties with an interest in the claimed property, particularly displaced persons and women, are provided with knowledge of the formalization proceedings and information required to assert their rights. Through more effective notification of formalization proceedings, the Government of Kosovo can efficiently resolve informality at scale while providing due process safeguards to protect the property rights of all its citizens.
Published: March 21, 2017
Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference