Non-registration of Property in the Name of Women still a Concern

The number of women who register properties in their own name in Kosovo remains small – at only 19 percent – which makes life difficult for women who want to create their own businesses.

Owning property in their own name provides women with security and opportunities to start their own businesses. But, in Kosovo, only 19 percent of properties are owned by women, which makes it difficult for them to develop businesses.

When women own property they have the opportunity to get loans more easily to create or expand their businesses – because they can mortgage the property.

Entrepreneur Behije Berisha has managed to strengthen her tailoring business by relying on loans because she owns a flat in Peja. Placing the apartment in a mortgage has created opportunities in obtaining a loan.

Berisha has worked for 24 years as a seamstress and now owns a business she plans to expand  to other areas of the country. Her sister and daughter also benefited from this.

“With property in my name and the business I built has helped me to live and educate my children. I started with a simple tailoring machine at home and now I work in my company together with my daughter. Together we plan to do our business online as well,” said Berisha in an interview for BIRN.

Despite this, Chief Executive of the Agency for Gender Equality, Edi Gusia, on Wednesday’s KallxoPërnime said that the number of women inheriting property is very small.

Gusia said that Kosovo is lagging both in the inheritance of property by women and in the registration of property in the dual names of two spouses.

According to Gusia, one of the factors hindering registration is the inadequate issuing of death certificates of the parents, where sometimes only male children are included in the certificate, and women left out. 

Issuing the correct death certificate would facilitate tracing the entire family line of succession.

“It happens that the female heirs are not involved in the death certificate[of the parent]. Sometimes it happens intentionally, where the family will secretly remove her from the inheritance, but sometimes the girls themselves give up the inheritance,” said Gusia.

According to Gusia, in 2016 the Agency for Gender Equality proposed an affirmative measure for the registration of joint property in the name of two spouses free of charge to the Government.

“In 2016, we had only 105 couples who registered joint property in the whole of Kosovo, and in 2022 there will be 4,375 couples who have done so,” said Gusia.

Ownership helps women start agricultural businesses

Selvije Gashi-Buçaj owns a 2-hectare property in the vicinity of Lipjan where, since 2005, she has developed a flower business.

“All this property is in my name. I have the opportunity to put part of the property in a mortgage or a loan to expand the business,” said the mother of five children.

28 regular workers and some seasonal workers work in her two greenhouses and flower garden.

Plator Gërdovci, Director of Agriculture in the Municipality of Prishtina, said that 19 percent registration is too little and that the mentality of Kosovars also affects this.

“I think that the circumstances we came from as a society, the prejudices and the history we come from, affect this percentage. This small number of women who have property in their name also causes other problems, such as grants in agriculture,” Gërdovci said.

According to Gërdovci other reasons for inequality in access to public funds include: a lack of information and administrative restrictions in applying for public grants and similar restrictions in accessing education because of  lack of proof of property ownership.

Suzana Gashi from the Ombudsperson Office has said that the administrative instruction as an affirmative measure for the registration of joint property is very encouraging, but it is not enough.

“We have an inherited system that discriminates. Regardless of whether the property was acquired during the period she was married, or whether or not she is registered, she is the owner of half of the property and this should not even be discussed. The legal framework is generally good, but now the problem is the implementation in practice,” said Gashi.

According to her, it is discouraging that the institution of the Ombudsperson Office receives very few complaints regarding property issues.

09/03/2023 - 15:07

09 March 2023 - 15:07

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.