Investors, having real estate projects in Bulgaria, put on hold due to the real estate crisis and not re-launched yet, will be most probably affected from the expiration of a specific term under the Bulgarian Act on the Protection of Agricultural Land Plots (the “Act”).
In the end of May 2017, the transition period regarding the change of the designation of former agricultural land plots into urban territories within the respective regulation proceeding, required for preparation for construction works, expired. As far as a construction permit has been issued but construction works have not been commenced in these territories until expiration of the said term, such land plots will be automatically considered agricultural again.
An exemption from this situation would be the case where during the same regulation proceeding (by means of the same regulation order) more than two land plots were converted into regulated land plots and construction has commenced in at least one of them. Consequently, all land plots will reserve their urban status.
The land plots within the construction urban borders will continue to be considered regulated land plots; however, comprising areas with agricultural designation. Therefore, in order a construction permit to be obtained for such land plots, the proceeding for change of the agricultural into urban designation should be initiated again. In a best case scenario (for land plots within the borders of residential areas), the proceeding will be completed only with the payment of a respective fee (according to a special tariff). However, for land plots which are outside the construction urban borders, the administrative procedure for change of designation has to be carried out again.
The Bulgarian agricultural authorities are currently in charge to undertake all necessary actions to register back the land as agricultural again and to make the respective updates and amendments in the cadastre maps and in the municipal administration.