Will the legalization of informal facilities in Montenegro finally succeed?

Several factors led to an increase in informal settlements in Montenegro.

Before its independence in 2006, about 30,000 refugees migrated to Montenegro from other regions of the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo). Self-made housing, built on state land, was the only alternative to inadequate social or affordable housing.

The natural and cultural beauty of Montenegro attracts tourism and international real estate investors. Montenegro experienced a real estate boom in 2006 and 2007, with wealthy people from various countries buying property on the Montenegrin coast. In 2008, Montenegro received more foreign investment per capita than any other country in Europe.

The absence of planning documentation with wars, transition, migrations, the resulting social problems, the economic boom  and the unwillingness of the state to respond to these challenges, conditioned the chaotic development of settlements-life could not wait for plans.

Aware that a problem that has been generated and accumulated for decades cannot disappear overnight, that no country in the world has so many resources that would allow the removal of all illegally constructed facilities, and that in some way the state bears responsibility for the situation that arose because it was not ready for the events that took place,  that by choosing to took the easy way out in this area, it avoided major social protests and did not react in a timely manner by producing planning documentation, in 2008 the Government initiated the LAMP-Land Administration Management Project in cooperation with the World Bank.

The main objective of that project was to help the preparation of planning documentation in those local governments that are unable to carry out such a task on their own and  in addition to build up accurate and up-to-date records of structures ,  all  supported by the World Bank loan. The result at the end of the LAMP project in 2016 were plans covering 58% of Montenegro’s territory.

Since the adoption of the current Law on Space Planning and Construction in 2017, which  regulates  legalization procedures, only 5% of the structures out of the total submitted applications have been legalized. The same law stipulated only two kinds of planning documentation: the Spatial Plan of Montenegro and the General Regulation Plan.

Compliance with the General Regulation Plan  is a precondition to the legalization of informal structure.

Citizens are waiting for new legal solutions that were announced last year, but there is nothing from it yet. More than half of the applications submitted are waiting for the General Regulation Plan, which has been terminated for unexplained reasons.

It is expected, that the recently elected Government will continue the   preparation of the General Regulation Plan with sustainable solutions which would be a solid foundation for country development  on a balanced and  investment attractive way at the same time.