Land lease - not so common in Bulgaria

When foreigners buy apartments or studios in Bulgaria they are explained that they can buy that property without forming a limited company. This is true, because they are buying only the individual premises in the building and not the land beneath the building. Usually the builders keep the land for themselves by "extracting" the right for building from the land ownership. This enables them ti build (or even sell the right for building to third party) on the land while keeping the land ownership for themselves. Consequently they can sell the building (or individual premises in it) without affecting the land ownership.

Now what happens when new apartment owners come and use their apartments? Owners from UK often compare the property relations with the UK law. The common mistake is that the land beneath the building is regulated by the so called "land lease" rules. According to Wikipedia:

A land lease or ground lease is a lease in which the tenant rents and uses the land, but owns the temporary or permanent buildings and other objects placed upon it.
Unfortunately the legal regulation is completely different. The land is owned by the owner and it is not leased. All rights and obligation for land management are for the owner and not for apartment owners. The only right they have upon the land is the "right for passage" i.e. they are allowed to pass through the land in order to get to their apartments/building.  The owner is obliged to maintain all facilities that are not permanently attached to the land and not owned by third parties. The individual apartment owners are not obliged to maintain the land because it's neither leased to them nor owned by them.

Because of this difference a lot of problems arise. Builders often try to gain profit over the apartment owners by obliging them to pay land maintenance fees. Unless there is such contract and apartment owners has explicitly agree to pay such fees, everything that builders asks for land maintenance is illegal.

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