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In Croatia, some of the property, that was seized during former Yugoslavia (SFRY), is returned to original owners. The rights of private owners of rented flats have been seized in SFRY, but they are not returned, in accordance with Resolution 1096 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.  However, some families living in such flats are discriminated against and their acquired occupancy rights ("stanarsko pravo" = SP)  are unjustly violated (abolished).  (See a letter to newspapers - click here!).

              
 
MY  PROPERTY  MUST  NOT  BE  SEIZED !

February, 2010

Dear Sirs / Madams,

         

      1.  My case

      My mother, like all other people in former Yugoslavia (SFRY) who lived in private flats in 1945, was a holder of the "stanarsko pravo" (abbreviated: SP ; usually translated as "occupancy right", "housing right", "tenant's right" etc.). After my mother's death in 1982, the original private owner of the flat gave me (in 1982) the SP of her own free will, by a contract, in accordance with the then laws, and it is also in accordance with the Croatian Constitution of 1990.  The content of my SP is equal to the content of an inheritable long-term lease. The difference is this: The SP lasts forever, while the inheritable long-term lease could last "only" for thousands of years. (Such leases do exist indeed in some countries).  However, in 1996 the SPs "have ceased" by the Law on Renting Flats!  If I had concluded the same contract with the owner, but if it were called a "lease for a thousand years", I would have no problems today, because leases have not been abolished in Croatia. Obviously, my SP must not be abolished or diminished, though its name may be changed. My wife Maria, my son Neven, the future members of the family, and myself, must be allowed to keep our permanent exclusive rights to possess and use our flat forever, to pay the contracted very small monthly "stanarina" (instead of a rent), etc.

      The only alleged reason for abolishing some SPs is the fact, that in some cases the owners' rights have been seized against the original-owners' will and without a market-value compensation. So, obviously, my SP must not be abolished, because the original owner gave it to me of her own free will.  Moreover, abolishing any rights acquired before 1990, or any contracts concluded before 1990, is contrary to the Annex G of the international Agreement on Succession Issues (which is, by Croatian Constitution, stronger than Croatian Laws), and it is also contrary to the Resolution 1096 (paragraph 10) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

                       

      2.  The case of other holders of SP in formerly private flats in Croatia

      There is a difference, because in many cases the property rights had been seized from original private owners against their will and without a market-value compensation, which is contrary to the Croatian Constitution of 1990, but this difference would matter only if the SP were acquired after 1990.  Namely, the Constitution applies only to legal relationships (i.e. contracts, rights, obligations, etc.) that came into being after 1990 (by the Constitutional Court's decision of 1999*). So, the SP in these cases must also remain undiminished forever, although its name may be changed.  (The original owners should be compensated by the state).

      Note: Tens of thousands of so-called "nationalized flats" had also been seized in SFRY against the original owners' will and without a market-value compensation, but the SP-holders have been allowed (in 1996) to buy these flats for about ten percent of the price (or less)!

             

      3.  An additional remark

      Not only holders of SP in nationalized flats, but also some lessees in  PRIVATELY- OWNED  flats  (who did not have SP and could be given notice at any time) have been given the right to cheaply buy these private flats (against the owners' will, for about ten percent of the price, or less) in 1996 by the Law on Renting Flats (Article 48), for the sake of social justice.  Hence, obviously, the same social justice must also apply to us (-the holders of SP in the above cases 1. and 2.) and we must get the same right to buy our flats for about ten percent of the price (payable by installments during 32 years). Of course, the original owners must be compensated by the state.

      The SP also existed in "social" (or "public") flats. These flats have been bought by SP-holders for less than ten percent of the price, on the ground of the Law on Selling Flats (from 1991): "Zakon o prodaji stanova na kojima postoji stanarsko pravo", (in "Narodne novine", No. 27 / 1991).  Many holders of SP (among them many Serbs), who fled from such flats during the last war, have lost their SP, on the pretext that they had been absent from their flats for more than six months.  (Namely, in former Yugoslavia (SFRY) the Law on Housing Relations stipulated that SP could be lost if the SP-holder was absent for more than six months without a justified reason).  However, the Croatian courts and the European Court of Human Rights wrongly deprived of the SP even those SP-holders who did have a justified reason for being absent!  The best known such case is the case of Kristina Blečić (Click here!)  http://soric-b.tripod.com/kb/id8.html

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      I beg you to require from me any explanations and proofs that you may be interested in. (See also: Page 2)

      I beg you to help in any possible way.  Thank you very much!

              

      With best regards,

      Branko Soric

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*    From Odluka Ustavnog suda RH No. U-I-673/1996 i dr. of April 21, 1999 (Narodne Novine No. 39 /1999):  

      "Ustav Republike Hrvatske donijet je 22. prosinca 1990. i on se primjenjuje samo na pravne odnose koji su nastali nakon njegovog donošenja i stupanja na snagu". (......)  "Nema sumnje da su pravni akti bivše SFR Jugoslavije i SR Hrvatske o oduzimanju imovine suprotni temeljnim načelima i pravilima o zaštiti ljudskih prava navedenih u Ustavu, ali se on na njih niti ne odnosi (......)"

                 

*    From the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Croatia  No. U-I-673/1996 i dr. of April 21, 1999 (Narodne Novine No.  39 / 1999): 

      "The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia came into force on December 22, 1990, and it is applied  only  to legal relationships that came into being after its coming into force." (......)  "There is no doubt that legal acts of former SFR Yugoslavia and former SR Croatia, by which property was seized, are contrary to the fundamental principles and rules for protection of human rights given in the Constitution, but this Constitution does not apply to them (......)".

 

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Dr. med. Branko Soric
Vlaska 84
10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Fax: +385 1 4623 436
E-mail:  branko.soric@zg.t-com.hr

Web:  http://soric-b.tripod.com/dokumenti/
http://soric-b.tripod.com/sp/    ......etc.

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Page 2 (click here!)

Page 4 (A letter to newspapers)