Belgrade’s city authorities have announced a new and much needed Housing Act. The new law is expected to regulate much the same areas as the one it will replace – i.e. housing in residential buildings.
The impetus for the new law has come after a series of incidents involving building façade material collapsing into the street, however, calls for the law to be revamped have been around a lot longer.
The announcement was made by City Manager, Goran Vesić, in front of number 68D Despot Stefan Boulevard, a residential building that has earned a reputation for exceptional neatness. Here the occupants of the apartments organised and renovated the entrance, lifts, hallways, common rooms and even installed a small library. The organised residents have even won an award for the best decorated building entrance in Belgrade.
“This is a message to everyone, showing what can be achieved when there is good will and organization. This is how all buildings in Belgrade could look after the adoption of the Housing Act.” Vesić told reporters in front of the award winning building.
“Belgrade has serious problems with façades, elevators, leaking roofs, ageing buildings, etc. This new law introduces better organisation and mandatory residential building maintenance,” he added
The new act has, however, already been labelled controversial as it introduces the possibility that poorly run tenants associations could be taken over by a building manager appointed by local authorities. Something that sounds good on paper but has some Belgraders worried about the opportunities for corruption.
Provisions to prevent this include the temporary nature of building managers, who can only be appointed to run a building for a set period of time. Also, the managers will have to be licensed by the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, which has a Register of Professional Managers, in order to certify them as qualified to do the job.