Although great funds have been invested, programs implemented and grants secured into reconstruction of destroyed housing units, the measures failed to produce optimal results. In Croatia 150.000 destroyed housing units of different level of damage were reconstructed. However, since the reconstruction assistance to Serbs only began in 2001, just 30.000 housing units, owned by Serbs were reconstructed. The bulk of investment funds went almost solely into reconstruction of housing units leaving war affected areas, i.e. the Areas of Special State Concern (ASSC), which were mostly populated by Serbs, now deserted and void of economic activities, without basic infrastructure (electricity and water supply system), public institutions and social life.

In the last couple of years, less and less attention is paid to the current issues. The cause of impediment to reconstruction lies in economic crisis coupled with the widespread liberalist approach to economic growth but also in the lack of interest of both domestic and international politics. Furthermore, the aftermath momentum of Croatia's EU accession has led to development standstill in war affected areas.

According to the estimates of international organizations, during the war and immediately afterwards more than 30.000 apartments were seized from mostly Serbian citizens of Croatia. They lost their tenancy rights via forced evictions or in court proceedings, often in absence of displaced former tenancy right holders or without their knowledge.

In comparison to other former Yugoslav republics, the Croatian law does not recognize tenancy right as the right to ownership. In 2008, the Croatian Government, under international pressure, provided Housing Care Programme to several categories of beneficiaries, including displaced Serbs who wanted to return to Croatia. Housing Care is provided in Areas of Special State Concern. Also, former tenancy right holders who lived in apartments owned by the state outside Areas of Special State Concern can apply for Housing Care.

Housing Care Programme has several drawbacks. The application process is far too complex and slow. The apartments provided are significantly smaller in size than the formerly owned ones. The possibility of purchase is virtually impossible. Also, some of applying terms and requirements for Housing Care Programme were discriminatory towards Serbs when it came to the actual timing of the application process (Serbs were allowed to apply from 2003 onwards) and other categories of citizens had advantage in getting or purchasing apartments. Despite the fact that the procedure of Housing Care requested the submission of a number of documents to determine which categories (refugees, Croatian Army soldiers, returnees, etc.) were provided with housing units, no such analysis was conducted and no reliable evaluation of the Programme and its influence on return of refugees is possible. Only around 3000 Serb returnees obtained their tenant rights within this Programme which proves that it was only partially directed towards solving the refugee issue.

Faced with the consequences of the war, many returning Serb refugees could not gain their occupancy and tenancy rights. They failed to register their properties and land with the cadaster and the land registry public offices. Their properties are still left exposed to devastation and usurpation. They, themselves, have got entangled into long court proceedings against their will.

The Serb National Council’s Legal Department is engaged in providing free legal aid to those who were not granted the right to reconstruction and it also aims at resolving administrative and other obstacles, as well as finding the financial resources for those whose houses were not rebuilt. The SNC, together with other NGOs and institutions, is working on the process of amending existing laws and law practices. This in particular refers to the Law on Reconstruction and Repair of Property, the Law on Responsibility for Damage Caused as the Result of Terrorist Acts and Public Demonstrations and the Law on Responsibility of the Republic of Croatia for Damages Caused by Members of Croatian Armed and Military Forces during the Homeland War. In this way those left homeless as a result of above mentioned actions would gain legal right to reconstruction or restitution. In co-operation with the Commissariat for Refugees of the Republic of Serbia projects have been launched regarding the land registry issues.

  • Reconstruction

The Law on Reconstruction and Repair of Property (Official Gazette, 24/96, 54/96, 87/96, 57/00, 38/09, 45/11, 51A/13)

The Law on Status of Refugees and Exiles (Official Gazette, 96/93, 39/95, 29/99, 128/99, 51A/13)

  • Housing Care in the Areas of Special State Concern

Law on the Areas of Special State Concern (Official Gazette, 86/08, 57/11, 51A/13, 148/13, 76/14)

Regulation on conditions for purchasing a family house or an apartment owned by the state in the areas of special state concern (Official Gazette, 19/11, 56/11, 3/13)

Decision on selling apartments owned by the state in the Danube region of Croatia (Official Gazette, 1/14)

Decree on conditions and criteria for housing care of former tenant right holders and members of their family (Official Gazette 133/13)

  • Housing Care outside the Areas of Special State Concern

Conclusion on the Housing Care For the Returnees Who Are Not Owners of a House or Apartment, Who Lived in a Socially-Owned Apartments (former tenant right holders) in The Areas of the Republic of Croatia outside the Areas of Special State Concern (Official Gazette, 100/03, 179/04, 79/05)

Conclusion on the way of providing housing care for returnees - former tenant right holders to apartments outside areas of special state (Official Gazette, 63/08)

Conclusion on the implementation of programmes of housing care of returnees – former tenancy right holders to apartments outside ASSC (Official Gazette, 29/11, 139/11)

Decision on selling apartments owned by the state (Official Gazette, 144/13)

Conclusion on the way of providing housing care for returnees - former tenant right holders outside ASSC (Official Gazette, 42/13)

Decree on conditions and criteria for housing care of former tenant right holders and members of their family (Official Gazette, 133/13)

  • Social security system

Act on Pension Insurance (Official Gazette, 157/13)

Act on Pension Beneficiaries Who Earned Their Pensions in the Former Yugoslavia (Official Gazette, 96/93)

Act on Supplement to Pension According to Pension Insurance Act (Official Gazette, 79/07, 114/11)

Convalidation Law, (Official Gazette, 104/97)

Ordinance on the convalidation procedure for decisions and single acts in the field of pension insurance (Official Gazette, 53/08)