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Albania (2021)

Constitution (Kushtetuta e Republikes se Shqiperise)

The Constitution of the Republic of Albania is the highest law, and contains personal, political, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms, organization of the state and independence of the state bodies. The Albanian Constitution is generally in line with Human Rights protection principles as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 41 guarantees private property, and provides for the expropriation of properties only in the benefit of public interest and provided there is fair compensation. 


Relevant Laws / Acts

1. Kodi Civil i Republikës së Shqipërisë (Civil Code of the Republic of Albania)

Legal rights related to immovable properties (such as ownership, easement-servitudes and usufruct rights, lease, etc.), including the modalities of acquisition of rights. Rights in property, whatever their nature (ownership, usufruct) are to be registered in the Public Registry


Land Law No. 7501, dated 19.07.1991 “On the Land”

Agricultural land is given in ownership or for use to local legal or natural persons without remuneration. All lands were state lands in the communist regime and were re-distributed in 1991 through this law.  The law regulates the re-distribution of former state lands to private individuals. In the AMPT the parcel was assigned to the head of the agricultural family, but every family member alive in 1991 has equal share to the land. The land was re-distributed on a per-capita basis: the area of land a household would acquire depended on the number of household members. Usually, a household would acquire 4000 m2 of land per person, but this depended on the population density in each district or village. A government land commission within the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as land commissions in the executive committees, and people’s council of districts and of villages, are set up for the distribution of land as ownership. Article 19 contains certain rules regarding to expropriation.


2. Për Kadastrin (Law No. 111/2018 on the Cadaster)

The new State Agency of Cadastre will take over the responsibilities of three current state authorities: 1) Immovable Properties Registration Office, 2) Agency of Legalization, Urbanization and Integration of Informal Constructions and 3)

Agency of Inventory and Administration of Public Properties. The new law provides a new digital Cadastre which facilitates the procedure of obtaining updated information related to immovable properties in due time.


3. Për kthimin dhe kompensimin e pronës dhe ndryshimet (Law No. 9235/2004 on the restitution and compensation of property & amendments)

Regulates issues of property rights arisen from expropriation, nationalization, or confiscation; and the procedures for accomplishing restitution and compensation of property and the administrative bodies charged with its completion

4. Ligji nr. 8561, datë 22.12.1999, “Për shpronësimet dhe marrjen në përdorim të përkohshëm të pasurisë, pronë private, për interes publik”, i ndryshuar (ligji nr. 20/2016, ligji nr. 11/2020)

(Law No. 8561, dated 22.12.1999, “On expropriation and temporary use of private property for public interest”, amended to some articles in accordance with Law No. 20/2016 and Law No. 11/2020)

Regulates the right of the state to expropriate or take in temporary use, for public interest the properties of legal entities or individuals and the protection of the rights and interests of the expropriated owners 

·       Expropriation is subject to public interest “in accordance with general principles of international law”

·       Expropriation is subject to “fair compensation”

·       Temporary occupation of land (e.g., for construction works) may be for up to 2 years, and subject to compensation.

Law No. 11/2020 amends article 11, point 1 of Law No. 8561 with the following changes: “The request for expropriation is submitted to the State Agency for Expropriation (SAE), while the proposal to the Council of Ministers for the approval of the request for expropriation is made by the minister responsible for urban development.” SAE established by DCM No. 395, dated 13.05.2020


5. Për planifikimin dhe zhvillimin e territorit (Law No. 107/2014 on territory planning and development, amended to some articles in accordance with

·       Law No. 73/2015

·       Law No. 28/2017

·       Law No. 42/2019

·       Law No. 119/2020)

Ensures sustainable development of the territory through the rational use of land and natural resources, assessing the actual and future potential of the territory development on a local and national level by balancing natural resources with economic demand and public and private interests. It also aims to integrate the urban planning legislative framework into a single law and includes the concept of protection of natural and cultural heritage for territory planning. The law and its by-laws require declaration prior to any construction.


6. Për Mbrojtjen e Tokës Bujqësore që modifikon Ligjin Nr. 9244/2014 (Law No. 131/2014 On Agricultural Land Protection” that modifies Law No 9244/2014.)

Determines the protection status of given agricultural fields. The project is obliged to inform the local authority of any damage to agricultural land from the operations. The authority will assess the damages and will require the land user to restore any damage in agricultural land.


7. Për krijimin dhe funksionimin e strukturave për administrimin dhe mbrojtjen e tokës dhe ndryshimet. (Law No. 

8752/2001 On the establishment and functioning of the structures for the administration and protection of land & amendments.)

Regulates land uses issues, and their compatibility with Regional Planning. 

The land administration department of each municipality is responsible for land management and leasing of state-owned land. This authority will be responsible for the coordination of the implementation procedures and execution of the compensation during the project implementation.

8. Mbi shqyrtimin e vlefshmërisë ligjore të titujve të pronësisë për tokat bujqësore dhe ndryshimet

(Law No. 9948/2008 On examination of the legal validity of ownership titles for agricultural lands & amendments) 

Lays down the rules and procedures for examining the validity of agricultural land ownership titles and defines the responsible State authorities as well as their tasks and responsibilities. This Law provides local government structures with more time to finalize the documentation.


9. Ligjit Nr. 20/2020 datë 5.3.2020 “Për përfundimin e proceseve kalimtare të pronësisë në Republikën e Shqipërisë”. (Law No. 20/2020 dated 5.3.2020 “On the completion of the transitional ownership processes in the Republic of Albania”.)

Defines the procedures and the state body responsible for the completion of the 

administrative-legal processes, registration of property titles for real estate and private ownership in the Republic of Albania, as well as inventory, transfer, treatment, and final registration.


Expropriation Process

Albanian law provides for expropriation or limitations in the exercise of a property right in the public interest, provided fair compensation is provided (as stated in article 41 of the Constitution). Expropriation for public interest in favour of a private entity occurs where investments are in the public interest, such as the energy sector.

The key steps in the expropriation process are shown below.  It should be noted that the expropriation process does not preclude voluntary agreements with the owners of the land subject to the expropriation notice in advance or at any time during the process. The approach proposed in this project has been to secure voluntary agreements as a priority wherever possible.

Step 1: Request for Expropriation submitted to the State Agency Expropriation (SEA) under the supervision of the MIE (Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy)

The request/application should provide the details of the Project: 

·       Public interest requiring expropriation

·       Technical design

·       Verified copies of the cadastral office

·       Proof of expropriation funds 

·       Permits and authorizations issued by the public authorities 

·       Identification of the land owners that are subject to expropriation

Voluntary agreement with landowner where possible


Step 2: SEA receives the file from the “Applicant”

SEA reviews the Request for Expropriation (10 days) 

Step 3: The SAE establishes a Special Commission of Expropriation

The Special Expropriation Commission is composed of legal/engineers/financial team and verifies the footprint of the Project, undertakes an analysis of the Request and determines the compensation value of each owner.

Step 4: If meets the criteria, the SEA approves the Expropriation Plan and notifies the applicant and landowners. At the same time, SEA publishes the decision of expropriation in the Official Gazette and on the website

Within 10 days as from the notification to applicants/landowners, and publication in the Official Gazette, two options are given to the landowner:


·       Option 1: Voluntary agreement. The landowner and SEA have 10 days to sign an agreement on the expropriation terms and in any case not later than 30 days (value, rights and obligations) 

·       Option 2 No voluntary agreement (the landowner and SEA do not have an agreement on the expropriation terms). Interested third parties can present a claim within 15 days from the publishing in the Official Gazette (such legal action does not suspend the expropriation process)

Step 5: SEA submits the draft of the Expropriation Decision for approval to the MIE, which in turn forwards the draft to the Council of Ministers (CoM)

Not later than 30 days from the notification of the Expropriation Plan to OST/landowners and publication of the decision in the Official Gazette.

Step 6: Following approval, Council of Ministers transfers and registers ownership with the State Cadastre Agency

The compensation agreements signed with the landowner should be put in place after the publication of the decision by the CoM. The compensation payment will be secured on an escrow accountuntil the effective transfer of properties (following the agreement between OST and the landowner)

Regarding the temporary use of private land, according to Albanian law, temporary use of private lands can be granted only in cases where there is a public interest and is effectuated through an expropriation process. The taking into temporary use of private lands is rendered in the same Council of Ministers Decision which approves the expropriation of the property. Article 31, paragraph 2 of the law on expropriation states that this mechanism is used for the needs of the central state institutions or projects that are implemented on account of the state in a national scale. 

Key aspects of the process: an application is filed to the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy requesting to the minister to allow the taking into temporary use of private land. The Ministry of infrastructure and energy sends expropriation proposal for approval to the Council of Ministers the along the proposal for taking into temporary use of private land. The private property can only be granted for temporary use for a maximum of two years. 

In addition, Article 31, paragraph 1 states that the taking of land into temporary use can also be submitted to the Mayor or Administrator of the Administrative Unit who provides his opinion and sends it for approval to the Prefect.   The easement right can only be established for a maximum period of 2 years.


Valuation Process 

As noted above, the value of land affected by a project is established by approval of the Council of Ministers (CoM) of the valuations provided by the MIE. In cases where no price is determined, the value is estimated based on the average value of sale prices within the last 3 months, as indicated in the State Cadastre Agency Register. If the Agency of the region affected by the expropriation lacks any data on land value, the evaluation is made based on a comparison with sale and purchase values in other areas, according to the characteristics of the area (e.g., touristic, urban, suburban, rural), and the engineering ability of the land to support constructions.

The value of crops, plants, orchards, forests, and permanent nurseries is defined based on the average value of their sale price in the relevant area as indicated in the Register. Where the State Cadastre Agency cannot provide reference values, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development may be requested to undertake a specific technical valuation and to calculate the value of the assets subject to the expropriation. For annual crops the evaluation is made based on the expected production and the market value. With regard to orchard trees, the evaluation is based on costs (investment and growth expenses including amortization) based on guidelines of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. evaluation is made per each tree for orchard trees (e.g., olives, oranges etc.), and per measured surface in case of wines, nurseries and strawberries. 

The criteria for forest and pasture lands are based on the quality of the lands and their sustaining capacity, environmental and ecologic values, geographical location (mountainous, seaside area etc.), value of wooden and non-wooden material, medicinal plants, wild fauna etc., and level of investment and infrastructure.


Grievance Mechanisms (GMs)

According to Albanian law, parties affected by expropriation can bring actions before courts against the expropriation process. However, this may only be regarding ownership disputes or compensation values, and not the process of expropriation itself. Neither does such legal action suspend the expropriation process. The Grievance Mechanism (GM) for this Project will handle all types of grievances and claims, in alignment with International Standards (see Section 3.5). 

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