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Acquisition of real estate in Poland by foreigners

Legal provisions concerning the subject of acquiring immovable properties by foreigners in Poland are stipulated in the act titled Immovable Properties Acquisition by Foreigners Act, hereafter “the bill”. Over the last couple of years the matter of acquisition of real estate by foreigners was significantly altered and became more liberal due to the changes in international law and increasing number of foreigners interested in acquiring real estate that originated from the European Union Member States as well as eastern countries such as Ukraine or Russia.

First of all, it is necessary to stress that the bill regulates acquisition of a right of ownership of immovable property on the grounds of any legal event. That means that the provisions of the bill cover such legal actions as:

  1. the most common purchase of a real estate, as well as
  2. inheritance,
  3. deed of gift,
  4. exchange, or
  5. prescription.

The bill also regulates acquiring of a perpetual usufruct right by a person who retains the status of a foreigner.

Furthermore, the bill states that the definition of acquiring immovable properties by foreigner will also contain acquisition or take-up of shares by a foreigner in a commercial company or partnership with its seat in the territory of the Republic of Poland and any other legal act concerning shares if as a result of such acts: (a) a company or a partnership which is an owner or a perpetual usufruct of immovable property in the territory of the Republic of Poland becomes a controlled company (partnership); as well as (b) acquisition or take-up of shares by a foreigner in a commercial company or partnership with its seat in the territory of the Republic of Poland, such company or partnership being an owner or a perpetual usufruct of immovable properties in the territory of the Republic of Poland, if the company or partnership is a controlled one and the shares are to be acquired by a foreigner who is not a shareholder of the company or partnership.

The bill provides for a general rule that the abovementioned legal acts, resulting in the acquisition of a right of ownership of immovable property, shall require a permit of the minister competent for internal affairs. There is no premade form for the application for the permit which means that in order for the application to be valid it has to be compliant with the bill and the decree of minister competent for the internal affairs dated June 20, 2012.

For the proper permit to be issued by the relevant minister it is required to fulfil all legal conditions stipulated in the bill. Firstly, acquisition of immovable property by a foreigner cannot pose a threat either to the defence and the security of the state or to the public order, likewise the social policy and health of society factors do not speak against that. Secondly, the applicant proves that there are circumstances which confirm his/her ties with the Republic of Poland. Article 1a Section 2 includes non-exhaustive list of circumstances which confirms such ties. These are for instance: having Polish nationality or being of Polish descent (with some exclusions); being married with a citizen of the Republic of Poland; holding a permit for a temporary stay or a permanent stay, or a long-term residency within the European Union.

Further provisions of the bill contain requirements that the application for the permit should fulfil, alongside with the documents that should be attached to the motion depending on the kind of property that is being acquired and the status of the purchaser. The detailed criteria of the motions content and the form of attached document are included in the decree of minister competent for the internal affairs dated June 20, 2012.

Furthermore, in order for the permit to be issued, the administrative fee of PLN 1,570 must be paid.

There are certain exceptions from the general rule which stipulates the requirements for obtaining the permit in order to acquire immovable properties by foreigners. In this matter the bill stipulates a distinction between foreigners who are citizens or entrepreneurs of a state being a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or of the Swiss Confederation and the foreigners regardless of their citizenship or registered seat.

Regarding the first group of foreigners, according to Art. 8 Section 2 of the bill, foreigners who are citizens or entrepreneurs of a state being a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or of the Swiss Confederation shall not be required to obtain a permit.

On the contrary, the requirements towards the foreigners who are not the citizens or entrepreneurs of those states, are more burdensome. In general such foreigners are required to obtain the abovementioned permit, unless they fall within certain exceptions.

According to Art. 8 Section 1 of the bill there are cases in which the acquisition of immovable properties by foreigners does not require proper permit regardless of the foreigners citizenship or registered seat. Most important exceptions stipulated by the bill include:

  1. acquisition of an individual living accommodation as defined in the Act of June 24, 1994 on ownership of accommodations;
  2. acquisition of immovable property by a foreigner who has resided in the Republic of Poland for at least 5 years since obtaining a permanent stay permit or a long-term resident of the European Union’s stay permit;
  3. acquisition of immovable properties by a foreigner who is a spouse of a Polish citizen and who has resided in the Republic of Poland for at least 2 years since obtaining a permanent stay permit or a long-term resident of the European Union’s stay permit, the immovable properties constituting statutory marital property co-ownership as a result of such acquisition;
  4. acquisition of immovable property by a foreigner, if on the day of acquisition he/she is entitled to statutory succession from the transferor of the immovable property and said transferor has been the owner or the perpetual usufructuary of the immovable property for at least 5 years.

Regarding the above mentioned exceptions it is vital to stress that they do not apply neither to immovable properties located in the frontier zone nor to agricultural land exceeding 1 ha area. In these cases it is necessary to require the proper permit.

Moreover Art. 8 Section 1(4) states another exception which is applied to foreigners regardless of their citizenship. A proper permit shall not be required for acquisition of immovable property by a foreigner, if on the day of acquisition he/she is entitled to statutory succession from the transferor of the immovable property and said transferor has been the owner or the perpetual usufructuary of the immovable property for at least 5 years.

  1. modernity left a comment on 21 January 2018 at 10:32

    Ƭhiѕ text is invaluable. When can I find out
    more?

    • Admin left a comment on 2 February 2018 at 15:18

      Thank You for your kind words. If You are interested in the topic please see our recent article published on the Law Firm’s website. Should You have any questions You can contact us directly.

  2. خرید ملک در استانبول left a comment on 16 January 2019 at 09:09

    It’s great post. Thanks alot

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