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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving Land Tenure Security and Registration of Property Rights System

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Improving Land Tenure Security and Registration of Property Rights System
Land Registration moll
Improving Land Tenure Security and Registration
of Property Rights


The International Development Association (IDA)-financed Land Registration Project has contributed to a significant reduction of backlogs in property registration and more efficient customer service in many courts. For example, in the Sarajevo court with 30 % of property data in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federation BH), property registration now takes between two and five days whereas at the time of project launch, this process took several months and was severely constrained by poor service and lack of transparency.


Systems for the registration of property rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) have been in disarray since World War II and made worse following the 1992-1995 war. Records were lost and people were displaced, and the legal records often no longer reflected the actual situation. Over the last twenty years, informal development of large areas occurred because of the difficulty in getting permission to build or occupy property. It is very difficult to complete basic real estate transactions, develop property or to borrow money based on property as collateral.


The project helped to establish land registration units within the Ministries of Justice in the country’s two constituent entities, the Federation BH and Republika Srpska (RS). Working conditions improved through building renovations in 37 locations, together with the supply of equipment and software, and streamlining of work processes. Data entry into automated systems and the provision of expert consultants to help reduce backlogs and enter data is under way and over 460 temporary staff were hired for this purpose. Systematic survey and situation analyses are being conducted in eight sites to assess the scope and complexity of problems associated with informal developments and weak planning systems, and to investigate the possibility of providing a greater level of financial support to local government through property taxes.


  • New service standards have been developed and adopted to help improve services, transparency, speed and accuracy of registrations. Registration took many months prior to project launch in 2007, but now 80 percent of all transactions are resolved in five days or less and mortgages are registered within a day in 16 of the 47 courts, including Sarajevo.
  • Ninety-two percent of property folios in the RS and 89% in the Federation BH were digitized, as well as 1.9 million hectares of cadastre maps, exceeding the project target of 1.4 million hectares.
  • Over 18,000 backlogged cases have been resolved since 2007, at a time when new registration requests have increased by almost 100%. Service delivery has improved through automation and improvements to the physical infrastructure, and corruption opportunities have been largely eliminated. Requests for documentationcan be processed in a matter of minutes.
  • New legislation covering land registration, spatial planning, cadastre, property taxation and regularization of informal developments were drafted.

The project, funded by an IDA Credit of $15 million equivalent, is making good progress towards meeting its long-term objective to “facilitate the orderly development of transparent land markets through registration of real estate rights and complimentary policies that enable transactions to be made with security and efficiency.”>


In my opinion, the Land Registration Project is fully justified. I think that it is a success as it is evident from the efficiency of services provided by this office. It cannot be compared to the past period. We, the citizens of Kotor Varos are very satisfied with the extremely efficient service we receive. I think that there should be funding for more such projects in the future.

—Sejdo Tatar, resident of Kotor Varos

The efficient customer service cannot be compared to the services we received before. We hope that these results can lead to greater success in the future in our community. The staff efficiently and effectively resolves the problems of the customers. I am very pleased with the work of this office.

—Sveto Skrbic, resident of Kotor Varos

Toward the Future

The project documentation includes a long-term vision for the land administration sector, up to 2016, and the project provides funds for the government to implement the first stage up until 2011. The analysis and policy work conducted within this project forms the basis for completing the longer-term vision in subsequent years. This work addresses the national requirements for improved spatial planning, building permitting, property taxation, spatial information related to e-government initiatives, and regularization of existing developments.


For more information, please visit the Projects website.

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