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Editorial

Permit-free Regime for Construction in Montenegro

The new Construction Law entered into force in Montenegro and it is meant to unify construction, zoning regulations and deal with illegal objects. However, some provisions of the old Construction Law still remain in force, until the adoption of the General Regulation Plan.

The new Construction Law completely changed the legal regime of construction in Montenegro. It aims to simplify and compile spatial planning, boost the construction industry and deal with historical issues concerning the massive construction of illegal objects. It also aims to further centralise the decision-making processes in this industry.

Authority centralisation

Perhaps the most important novelty under the new Construction Law is that that there will be only two spatial planning documents for the territory of Montenegro (instead of hundreds of so far enacted documents). Both plans will be enacted by the Parliament upon the Government's preparation and proposal. Those are:

  • the Spatial Plan of Montenegro, which is a general planning document, that is to be valid 20 years after the adoption; and,
  • the General Regulation Plan, which is a more detailed zoning plan, that is to be valid 10 years after the adoption.

The Spatial Plan of Montenegro is a higher ranked planning document. It will regulate the strategic guidelines for spatial planning, the basis for the development and spatial organisation and the policy of spatial usage, the concept for maritime spatial planning, the general guidelines for the adoption of the General Regulation Plan, as well as principles for the preservation of cultural heritage and environmental protection.

Strategic principles and guidelines set out in the Spatial Plan will be further developed under the General Regulation Plan – which will provide the conditions and the manner for spatial development and construction. This plan will completely encompass the territory of Montenegro, and it will regulate construction capacities. Specifically, it will provide for spatial designation, the conditions for its development, building capacities and boundaries, parcelling rules etc. The General Regulation Plan is planned for adoption within the next 36 months. Until then, all currently applicable spatial plans and zoning documents remain in force.

A new construction and usage regime

Another major novelty is that the permitting system is replaced with a permit-free regime. This means that one is no longer required to obtain a construction or usage permit. In order to construct, an investor is required to prepare a report for construction, an audited main design and other necessary documents. Upon the finalisation of the construction, instead obtaining the usage permit, the new object should only be registered at the competent Land Registry.

The permitting regime still applies to the most complex construction projects, such as, for example, heavy industry and energy facilities.

Chief state/city architects

The New Law introduces two new instances which will play the main role in the construction process. These are chief state architect and city architects. The chief state architect will be in charge of all projects of national interest and will guide the legalisation of objects. His role is also to ensure the protection of authenticity of the space and the promotion of best practice in areas of urbanism and architecture. The city architects will be in charge of approving concept designs of buildings, squares and other public areas in settlements, verifying the compliance of concept designs with the urban projects, and approving temporary constructions. The chief state architect is elected by the Government, while the chief city architects are elected by local municipalities.

(Un)Developed construction land fees

A new burden for the owners of construction land is that they will be obliged to pay a monthly land development fee, for the undeveloped construction land in their ownership. After the development, the owner is obliged to pay monthly city land rent. The amounts of these fees will be determined by local municipalities - which is expected to occur within 60 days upon the adoption of the General Regulation Plan.

The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.

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