Buying a Property in Bulgaria
According to the Bulgarian law, embodied in the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Property Act and the Foreign Investments Act foreign physical and also juridical persons such as companies cannot acquire the ownership of land in the country. However, they are permitted to acquire the ownership of houses or flats and limited ownership rights with regard to every kind of immovable property situated in Bulgaria. Under the heading limited ownership rights the Bulgarian law understands the rights of use (usus), the right to build a house on a piece of land (superficie) and the servitudes (e.g., the right of access to the street through another person's piece of land).
> Until recently there was a further limitation on the purchases of immovables by foreign persons - the obligation on the part of the respective foreign person to obtain the permission of the Council of Ministers (the Government) of the Republic of Bulgaria or other administration organs authorised to decide on such requests, if the property is situated within border areas or other territories under special regime for reasons of national security. Following the latest amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, as of May 2004 this limitation is no longer in place.
> With the view to establish an enhanced protection of foreign investments in Bulgaria there is a special regime with respect of the expropriation of foreign persons. Expropriation of the immovable property of foreign persons is only legal, whenever it is done by an Act of Parliament, passed because of extraordinary needs of the government, which cannot be satisfied otherwise. In addition to that the foreign person has to be provided with a replacement of his immovable property before the expropriation takes place. The replacement has to be equal in market value to the replaced property and has to be located close to it. The owner may give his consent that the replacement would be located elsewhere or that he would be awarded money instead of a replacement property.