Given the political sensitivities surrounding housing ownership issues in Kosovo, and the barriers inhibiting the courts from dealing efficiently and fairly with such claims, UN-HABITAT were tasked by UNMIK to develop an impartial and effective mechanism to protect and restore lost residential property rights. The Housing and Property Directorate and Housing and Property Claims Commission (HPD and HPCC) were established by United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) regulations as an interim measure to restore property rights, resolve long standing claims and uphold the rule of law. With the Rules and Procedures Regulation passed by UNMIK on 13 October 2000, the Housing and Property Claims Commission was mandated to adjudicate cases which are presented to it.
Activities of the programme include devising legal frameworks, institutional structure, equipping, recruiting and training of 250 staff and testing operational methodologies; claims intake throughout Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, evaluation, conclusion and processing through the claims commission; and implementation of decisions made by the commission.
The project has also undertaken research and policy advice to the international community and local structures regarding property rights and training of local authorities. Such an institution is an important example of the development of intermediate term institutions to address immediate issues in post conflict situations. This combination of advocacy for human rights, institution building and capacity development helps to address emergency needs in a post conflict setting while focusing on the long term needs of the society.