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» PROPERTY FOCUS: Bulgaria's Ownership Act changes
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PROPERTY FOCUS: Bulgaria's Ownership Act changes
Sofia echo, 19th March 2007, Yana Moyseeva
On March 9, Parliament gave its final approval to amendments to the Ownership Act, opening the way for foreigners and foreign legal persons to acquire ownership rights over land, forests and forest stock land tracks and agricultural land. They can also acquire ownership over land by inheritance by law.

Reporting from Parliament, Bulgarian news agency BTA said that Parliament had agreed that foreigners and foreign legal persons not permanently resident in Bulgaria will be able to acquire land for a second home after the expiry of the term set in Bulgarias EU accession treaty. Moreover, a foreign state or intergovernmental organisation will be able to acquire ownership of land and buildings and limited real rights over immovable property in the country on the basis of an international treaty, a law or an act of the Cabinet, Parliament decided.

Foreigners who acquire ownership rights over forests or forest stock land tracks through inheritance under a law but do not meet the conditions of Bulgarias EU accession treaty will have three years to transfer their ownership rights to persons eligible to acquire them unless otherwise provided for by another law. After this period the state will have the right to buy the forests or forest stock land tracks at prices set by a Cabinet ordinance.
Foreigners and foreign legal persons will have the right to ownership of forests and land in protected areas, provided these are not exclusive state property, under international treaties ratified by Parliament by a two-thirds majority, observing the requirements of the Protected Areas Act, the Agricultural Land Ownership and Tenure Act and the Forests Act in line with the terms and conditions laid down in Bulgarias EU Accession Act. Foreigners will also be able to acquire ownership of forests and land in protected areas, which are not exclusive state property by inheritance. Foreign states cannot acquire ownership of forests, land and water basins in protected areas, Parliament decided.

Citizens of the EU who are agricultural producers wanting to establish themselves permanently in Bulgaria and have been registered under BULSTAT will be able to acquire ownership of land and forest property for farming. Foreigners who acquire ownership rights over agricultural land through inheritance under a law but do not meet the relevant conditions stipulated in Bulgarias EU accession treaty will have three years to transfer their ownership rights to persons eligible to acquire them.