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Acquiring ownership of Romanian land by foreigners

Acquiring ownership of Romanian land by foreigners

by Vlad Cuc

The applicable law on the acquisition on land in Romania is the Law 312/2005, regarding acquisition of private ownership of land by foreign citizens and stateless persons and foreign legal persons.

Provisions of the Act regulate the acquisition of ownership of Romanian land by nationals of any member state of the EU or European Economic Area.

However, the law regarding the acquisition of land by non-Romanian entities has recently been modified, restricting the rights which granted numerous entities to purchase land (law applicable to agricultural land).

Our team of Romanian lawyers can present the applicable rules and can help you buy land in Romania, in accordance with the new legal framework.

What are the main terms and conditions for buying land in Romania?

The citizen of a member state resident in Romania, a stateless person resident in Romania residing in a member state and a non-resident legal person, constituted under the law of a member state can acquire ownership over land.

This can be done for secondary residences, respectively secondary offices, by the end of a period of 5 years from the date of Romania’s accession to the European Union.

The citizen of a member state, a stateless person domiciled in a member state or in Romania, as well as a legal person constituted under the laws of a member state were allowed to acquire ownership of Romanian agricultural land under the Law 312/2005.

It was allowed to purchase forests and forestry land at the end of a period of 7 years after Romania’s accession to the EU (Romania has been a member of the EU since 2007).

Notwithstanding the provisions relating to the acquisition of ownership of Romanian agricultural land, forests and forestry land, farmers who were self-employed could acquire land.

Member states citizens or stateless persons residing in a member state who resided in Romania and stateless persons residing in Romania could acquire ownership of Romanian land under the same conditions as Romanian citizens after the country’s accession to the EU.

However, amendments have been made throughout the years, the latest modifications being introduced in 2020.

Proof of being a farmer was made by citizens of member states or stateless persons residing in a E.U. member state with documents issued by the competent authorities of the member state or origin state.

Stateless persons residing in Romania could bring proof of being a farmer via the certificate issued, in this regard, by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in order to purchase agricultural land.

What is the current law that allows to buy land in Romania in 2022?

As of 2020, the rules on the procedure to buy land in Romania have drastically changed, limiting the possibility to acquire agricultural land. Please mind that there is an important difference between buying land and purchasing a real estate property.

Foreigners can still purchase properties in Romania without any particular restrictions, especially in the case of the foreigners who are EU citizens, but owning agricultural land falls under different regulations.

The law of 2020 refers to land that is located outside the build-up areas in Romania, such as cities.

Our law firm in Romania can present the new regulations, and in the list below you can find some of the highlights of the new legal framework:

  • the new law on acquiring land in Romania became applicable starting with 13 October 2020;
  • the new legal framework amended the previous law, Law no. 17/2014;
  • the current law is known as the Law 175/2020 and it was published in the Official Gazette no. 741;
  • it also amended the Law no. 268/2001 (the law on the privatization of companies using the state’s public and private agricultural land);
  • the law has created a priority ranking on the process to buy land in Romania for agricultural use and it first refers to beneficiaries of 1st kin of the sellers (relatives), going up to the 7th rank, which is represented by the Romanian state.

Given the complexity of the new law, we advise foreigners to address to our team of Romanian lawyers to verify the conditions in which they can still purchase land.

Currently, the law states that one must sell land in Romania following the ranking system that is regulated by the law. Thus, the first entities that have now priority in buying land available for sale are the relatives of the sellers.

They are the 1st category of possible buyers and they are represented by spouses, co-owners, relatives up to the 3rd degree. If any of these parties are not interested or able to purchase the land, then the 2nd type of possible buyers will be allowed to purchase it and so on.

Our team of Romanian lawyers can present the entire list of entities that can buy land in Romania.

How can foreigners buy land in Romania?

In the case of foreign entities, buying land for agricultural purpose is still possible. The only way this can be achieved is if the foreigners will buy a company through a share deal.

Through the new law, individuals who are not residents of Romania and who want to purchase agricultural land has been abolished. Foreigners can still purchase agricultural land in Romania as individuals as long as they have been legally residing in this country for minimum 5 years at the moment when the sale offer appeared.

They must also comply with additional requirements, in the sense that they must prove their involvement in agricultural related activities in order to be able to purchase the respective land.

The person has to prove the fact that he or she has been developing such activities for minimum 5 years.

For more details on how to buy land in Romania, please contact our Romanian law firm, where you can receive the necessary guidance.