Property purchase in Bulgaria
Legal documents nessesery for property purchase in Bulgaria are :
- the Land Registry extract,which provides all the information on the land’s use, regulation (building restrictions) and structure.
- for the properties which are not included into the Cadastre Register a Municipality Sketch (регулационна скица) is issued.
- planning permission you must ensure that when buying off-plan from a developer, the development has been approved from the local municipality (town hall). It is also worth having a look at the Urban Plan which will state whether or not the plot you wish to buy has any building restrictions, is in a green zone or includes a public pathway or similar
- the paid-up receipt for the previous owner’s annual property tax. It is also wise to make sure that there are no unpaid fees and taxes from previous years
- the Cadastral certificate giving the exact boundaries and square metres of your land
- the Use Permit (Act 16) which is issued by the town hall for new buildings or restructured ones and certifies that the property is habitable. You will need this document to connect to electricity and water companies.
- It is wise to require from the seller of the property to provide evidence for absence of any liabilities concerning the property (taxes and other statutory costs and fees) or its use (consumable expenses) Ask the property agent for information regarding any costs the owner has not paid. You should be aware that if you later find that there are any outstanding debts, as the new owner, you assume the debts for the current and previous year (two years in total). For this reason it is strongly advisable to ensure that you have a copy of an affirmation stating that the previous owner has no debts
- a property survey: this is not obligatory but it is wise to get a chartered surveyor (независим оценител) to check the property before you complete
- if you are buying an off-plan property, confirm that there is an architectural plan for the property approved by local municipality. Ensure that the developer/constructor has the necessary insurance to cover build defects.
- the preliminary contract – this contract is not obligatory but is usually signed between the buyer and the seller before the public deed is granted. You should make sure that you fully understand the contract before you sign it – if you are not fluent in Bulgarian you should get it translated
- the title deed – it is important to check that there is an accurate description of the property in the deeds
- Off-plan developments
- Off-plan development in Bulgaria means property for which no Use permit (Act 16) is issued.
There are statutory stages of construction of an off-plan development which are certified by certain documents specified in the law. The most important documents are:
- planning permission/Visa for design (виза за проектиране) – it entitles the developer to prepare architectural design and construction plans for the development in accordance with certain statutory parameters for height of the building, density of the construction, layout of the building, etc.
- construction permit (разрешение за строеж) – it entitles the developer to start construction process as per the approved architectural, construction and other technical plans for the property
- opening of construction site and determining of construction line and level (Protocol for commencing of construction)
- certificate for completion and approval of rough construction (Act 14)
- certificate acknowledging the compliance of the construction with the statutory rules (Act 15)
- use permit (Act 16)
It is not advisable to buy off-plan development for which no construction permit is granted.
In practice, a usual transaction for buying off plan development has two stages: the signing of preliminary contract; and the signing of public deed before a Bulgarian Notary (Notary deed). The transfer of the property is made under the notary deed.
It is advisable the payment for the purchase of off plan property to be made in instalments each of which is made after the completion of the relevant construction stage and obtaining of statutory certification document.
While we hope that this information is useful, please be aware that it is not intended to be the only guidance for prospective buyers to follow when considering making a purchase. In addition, we make no representation as to the quality or accuracy of the information which is available at the web addresses listed in this guide, nor can we accept any responsibility for the content that is hosted on them. We strongly recommend that prospective buyers of property in Bulgaria seek independent legal and financial advice at all stages of their purchase.