Purchase of property by foreigners

Purchase of property by foreigners. Is it possible for  a foreigner  not being a citizen of one of the EU member countries to  purchase a real estate in Poland? Does the acquisition of real estate through inheritance raise any legal responsibilities for a foreigner?

Each aquisition of a real estate in Poland by a foreigner not being a citizen of one of the EU member countries requires, in addition to the formalities which shall be met by every citizen of the Republic of Poland, also fulfillment of  certain specific obligations under the Act of 24th March 1920 concerning  aquisition of  a real estate by foreigners, e.g. obtaining permission for the acquisition of a real estate by a foreigner.

In order to obtain such permission a  foreigner should apply to Ministry of Interior and Administration and simultanously fulfil two conditions: purchase of real estate by a foreigner cannot endanger public safety and order of the country and foreigner must demonstrate his/her ties with Poland (ie.  He/she is  married to a Polish citizen, has   residence permit or conducts business in Poland).

The request should include information about the foreigner and his/her legal status (citizenship, legal  address and country of origin), information about the real estate (location, plot  number, land and mortgage register number, excerpt from the currently valid zoning plan or certificate of absence of a plan), information about the disposer of this property, as well information concerning the legal form of the purchase of real estate and the aim of transation.

Foreigners not being citizens of  the EEA and Swiss Confederation do not need to obtain a permission for purchase of a condominium units. The only exceptions are condominium units located in the border area, or the area close to the border.

One should also bear in mind that the acquisition of a property by a foreigner means the acquisition of ownership or right of perpetual usufruct, on the basis of any legal activity. This means that the scope of the regulation includes not only purchase of a real estate by a foreigner in form of contract of sale, but also  any other legal form that causes the transition of ownership (usufruct)  – donation, exchange, transfer of ownership of collateral, testamentary inheritance, prescription.

As mentioned above, all form of “getting” property rights or perpetual usufruct are understod as acquisition of a property. Therefore, also inheritance is included in this regulation. It is important to distinguish between two types of inheritance: statutory and testamentary. The first of these types does not require permission, while in the case of testamentary succession a relevant request must be submitted  within two years from the date of opening of the inheritance. In case that the heir fails to  apply for permission, property ownership or the right of perpetual usufruct will be transferred to statutory heirs.

The procedure for receiving the compulsory permission for acquisation of real estate has evolved. Initially, it required consent from both the Ministrer of Interior and Administration and of the Minister of National Defence. Currently, the procedure has been simplified. It does not change the fact that the procedure for obtaining a permit to acquire real estate by a foreigner in the Poland is governed by numerous legal and formal obligations. Following the right legal and formal path might be complecated. Hence, it is recommended to receive legal support from a law firm specializing in dealing with cases concerning foreigners in Poland.