Our law office advises and assists its clients in legal, financial, tax and other issues related to real estate business in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including proceedings before the competent state authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Good knowledge of the real estate market in Bosnia and Herzegovina has further contributed to successful business with clients in all aspects of real estate investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of the services that lawyers of our law office provide in the field of real estate are:
- Representing clients in the process of notarial processing of documents (drafting contracts that require notarial processing), clarifying the disputed provisions of the contract and participating in their improvement, in order to protect the interests and legal safety before the notary.
- Advising and providing assistance in conducting negotiations and concluding pre-contracts and contracts for the sale and lease of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Representation in legal affairs, whose subject is the transfer or acquisition of ownership or other substantial rights to real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Representation of the seller or buyer of real estate before a notary without the presence of the client in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Proceedings before the competent services for real estate cadastre regarding the registration of the right of ownership, establishment, registration, realization and deletion of a mortgage on real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Compilation of legal opinions and reports related to the real estate in question.
- Representation before the Land Registry in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tax Administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Preparation of contracts on transaction of funds, lease, finances, construction, security and other necessary agreements and documents before a notary in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Representation in notarial processing of documents on legal affairs in commercial law (Contracts of commercial law may have the force of an executive document, which means that the parties can obtain an enforcement copy of the original and initiate direct enforcement without prior court proceedings, these are actions that amount to monetary sums or exchangeable items or securities.)
Representation in real estate disputes before the courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Related article: The right of foreigners to real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Subject of real estate ownership in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The subject of the right of ownership is individually determined real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina or a movable item, except for those that are not suitable for it or otherwise determined by law. Real estate is plots of land, together with everything that is permanently connected to the land on or below the land, unless otherwise provided by law. Items that are movable in nature are considered immovable items in the legal sense if they belong to real estate or the law equates them with real estate. In doubt as to whether something is movable or immovable, it is considered to be movable.
Acquisition of real estate ownership in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The right of ownership over real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is acquired on the basis of a legal transaction, law, decision of a court or other competent body and by inheritance, with the fulfilment of preconditions prescribed by law. With a legal transaction, the acquirer of the right of ownership cannot acquire that right to a greater extent than that of the person from whom the right was acquired. The right of ownership on the basis of law is acquired by fulfilling the preconditions provided by law. Unless otherwise provided by law, the acquisition of ownership of real estate on the basis of the law terminates all substantial rights that existed until then on the property in question, except those that the acquirer knew existed or had to know. By decision of a court or another body, ownership over real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is acquired in cases determined by law, and in a manner and under assumptions determined by law. Acquisition of property rights over real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina by a decision of a court or another body does not terminate substantial rights that belonged to other persons on the respective item, except for those for which it is determined by that decision or law, and those which by nature cannot continue to exist. An heir acquires ownership of the inherited real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the testator’s death, unless otherwise provided by law. Acquisition of the right of ownership by inheritance does not terminate the substantial rights that belonged to other persons on the item in question, except for those for which it is determined by law or which by the nature of the item cannot continue to exist.
Acquisition of real estate ownership rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Legal basis for acquiring ownership of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
The acquirer of the right of ownership of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of law, inheritance, final court decision or final decision of another competent authority, is authorized to request registration of the acquired right of ownership in the land register. The right of ownership acquired on the basis of inheritance, law, decision of a court or another competent body may not contradict the right of a third conscientious person who, acting with confidence in the land register, applied for registration of their right before the person who acquired the right of ownership on the basis of inheritance, law, decision of a court or another competent body requested the registration of their right.
Acquisition based on legal transaction in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Acquisition of real estate by registration in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The right of ownership of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of a legal transaction is acquired by registration in the land register. The legal transaction is concluded in the form of a notarized document and these are: real estate gift contract, real estate purchase and sale contract, lifetime support contract. Ownership of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is transferred on the basis of a validly expressed will of the land registry owner aimed at transferring their ownership to the acquirer (clausula intabulandi). This declaration of will can be given in a legal transaction that is directed to the transfer of ownership, but it can also be given in a special document, in which case that document must be notarized. The registration is valid from the moment when the request for registration of the real estate in question was submitted to the court.
Protection of trust in land registers in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
It is considered that the land register truly and completely maintains the factual and legal condition of the real estate, so whoever acted in good faith with confidence in the land books, not knowing that what is entered in them is complete or different from the off-register situation, enjoys protection by law with regard to that acquisition. With regard to the factual condition of the real estate, the land register is considered to be true and complete if the land register is established on the basis of new survey data. The acquirer of the real estate in question was in good faith if at the time of concluding the legal transaction or at the time when he requested registration he did not know, or given the circumstances, had sufficient reason to suspect that the item belonged to the alienator. Lack of good faith cannot be blamed on anyone just because they have not researched the off-register situation.
The concept of condominium ownership in real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ownership of a separate part of the real estate (condominium ownership) arises and remains inseparably connected with the corresponding co-ownership part (ideal part) of the real estate on which it is established, and can only be transferred or encumbered together with it. The ownership of a certain special part of the real estate authorizes the condominium owner to exclusively use and dispose of that special part of the real estate, and he has the right of co-ownership over the common parts of the real estate. Condominium ownership can be established on the appropriate co-ownership part of the property consisting of land with a building or the right to build with a building. For the registration of condominium rights, it is necessary to submit to the court a statement of division or a division agreement, as well as a plan of special parts or the building that are to be registered.
The right of first refusal to purchase real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Co-owners of an apartment, business premises or independent premises have the right of first refusal to purchase real estate. A co-owner who sells his condominium is obliged to make an offer to other co-owners of that special part, and a co-owner of a building that cannot be divided into separate parts to other co-owners. The offer for the purchase of the real estate in question must be made in writing and contain the land registry or cadastral designations of the real estate and a special part of the real estate being sold. The provisions of the Law on Substantial Rights on the Right of Pre-emptive Purchase of Co-owners shall apply to the exercise of the right of pre-emption of the co-owner of an apartment, business premises or independent premises in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If the condominium owner who sells his part does not make an offer or if he sells his part under more favourable conditions to a third party, the other co-owner or co-owners have the right to ask the court to declare the contract invalid and they buy that part under the same conditions. Unless otherwise agreed, the co-owners exercise the right of pre-emption to purchase the property in proportion to the participation of their co-ownership parts in the entire property in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Frequently asked questions about the acquisition of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina by foreigners:
I want to buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am a citizen of Germany, is it possible?
Yes, in Bosnia and Herzegovina you can acquire ownership or real estate as a German citizen without any restrictions.
I would buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an Austrian citizen, can I?
It is possible to buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an Austrian citizen, the principle of reciprocity applies, which states: ‘it is possible to acquire the right of ownership over real estate to natural and legal entities on the territory of the Republic of Austria with certain consents of competent bodies, providing that each union province stipulates precise conditions for such ownership.’
Can I acquire real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a Croatian citizen?
Yes, you can acquire ownership over real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina without any restrictions.
Can I buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a Belgian citizen?
Yes, you can buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a citizen of Belgium, because the principle of reciprocity applies. For foreigners in Belgium, it is prescribed that all foreign citizens who live and work on the territory of the Kingdom of Belgium can acquire the right of ownership over real estate.
Could I buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina as Dutch citizen?
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can buy real estate as a citizen of the Netherlands because the principle of reciprocity applies and BiH citizens can acquire real estate in the Netherlands.