Owning property on personal name in Bulgaria

Bulstat RegistrationAfter Jan 2012, EU citizens are allowed to own regulated land property on their personal names. I have covered this topic few times in the past months, so I'm not going to enter another useless dispute with yet another notary, scared to apply the law.

The purpose of this post is to inform the property buyers what they are obliged to do after they actually purchase the regulated land and/or house.

Bulstat registration of property owners

The first thing the first-time buyer need to do is to register themselves in the Bulstat Register. Pursuant Art. 3 para 1, point 10 of the Bulstat Register Act:

Every foreigner who doesn't have Bulgarian ( incl. foreign) personal number AND own real estate property on their personal name has to register himself in the Bulstat register.

The above is just an excerpt from the Act. There are other cases in which the Bulstat registration is mandatory, but these are out of the scope of the current blog post.

The obligatory term for Bulstat registration is 7 days as of the moment the title deed is handed by the notary to the property owner or to a proxy. If the registration is not done within the aforesaid therm, the property owner will be sanctioned with a fine by the Bulstat Register.

The Bulstat Register is part of the Registry Agency. The Bulstat registration is done in the local office of the Agency, where the property is located.

Bulstat registration is done only for first time buyers! Once you have bought a property on your name and have registered with Bulstat Register, you don't need to register again. It's a one time procedure.

Bulstat register is a statistics authority which tracks different types of information. In the case I describe here, the main goal is to count and collect information of the EU citizens who have bought real estate property in Bulgaria.

City Council Tax Declaration of property

The second legal actions that a property buyer needs declare in the local municipality that he owns the property. If this is not done, the outstanding taxes would still be assigned to the old property owner.

The declaration has to be done within 2 months after the title deed for the purchase is signed. If this deadline is missed, the municipality will impose sanctions (fines and interest) on the new owner.

The declaration of the property has three main goals:

  1. The municipality is now aware that the property has new owner
  2. The owner declares the type of the property, it's area, construction type etc.
  3. The municipality calculates the tax value of the property based on the declared facts and defines the annual property tax and garbage fee

Having the above information, the local council sends annually (usually in the beginning of the year) letters with the outstanding amounts for local property tax and garbage fee. Some municipalities provide online check ( e.g. Samokov) where the person just have to sign up with his Bulstat number and can see the information without waiting for postal notices or calling the local tax office.

If the  declaration hasn't been done, or the outstanding money hasn't been paid, the municipality charges interest on the unpaid amounts.  A recent trend is that the municipalities use law enforcement agents to collect all these debts. Hiring an enforcement agents increases the amount with legal costs and is a threat to foreigners who don't live in Bulgaria, because the property can be put on public tender and sold in order the council debt to be covered.

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