Liechtenstein makes an effort to digitize its administration. Now it has made important public-law restrictions for landlords available online. A small step, but many small steps make for a giant leap.

The so-called “ÖREB-Kataster” is a public register that lists the most important public-law restrictions for landlords in Liechtenstein. Such rules govern, for example, if there are limitations of what can or cannot be built in certain building zones (“Bauzonen”). As such, the ÖREB register is an addition to the land register (Grundbuch), which contains restrictions under private law. The main idea is to make public-law restrictions on property centrally, reliably, and easily accessible.

As part of the effort to digitize Liechtenstein’s administration, the ÖREB-Kataster is now being digitized. Since the beginning of July 2021, eleven data sets in the subject areas of planning, water, noise, forest, and nature and landscape are available in the digital database. Additional data sets on polluted sites will be made available as soon as it is legally binding. The same applies to the data on noise sensitivity levels of individual municipalities, which are to be defined by the municipalities within the framework of local and zoning planning.

How uses the register?

Previously, folks had to obtain information from the relevant authorities. Especially for current and future landowners, property owners, planners, architects, private engineering companies, and the real estate and mortgage market regularly request such information. The digital register will make it much easier as information can be downloaded centrally, free of charge, and with just a few clicks on the website

Government representative Graziella Marok-Wachter said in a press release she is pleased that the information system on public-law restrictions on landownership is now online and makes a wide variety of data such as plans, property information, and legal bases from a wide range of areas available to everyone as a map or PDF document. Responsible for the development was the Office for Construction and Infrastructure, in close cooperation with the cantons, the Federal Office of Topography, the Office for the Environment, and the municipalities.

Why does it matter?

Digitizing public information on land restrictions may not be a giant leap forward, but it’s one of many necessary small steps forward. Making this information available online makes it easier for everyone to access them, but it also marks the first step for further developments. With the government making information available digitally, businesses can start using that information. It’s possible to automatically extract data from PDFs and convert it into machine-readable formats. Then other applications may use them for different purposes.

For example, if there were a digital land register, it would be much easier to tokenize real estate and sell it entirely digital. Today, that’s impossible because selling real estate or land still involves entries in a physical land register. To move to a token economy, all of these processes would have to become digital.

That’s not to say that the ÖREB-register is providing that opportunity. However, the trend of digitizing any public information goes in that direction. So we should cheer the government for these efforts.

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