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Foreigners Buying Property in Romania

Updated on Friday 01st August 2014

Question: What is the law regulation for foreigners buying real estate in Romania?

Answer: The Romanian Legal System establishes precise regulations concerning the matter of ownership right over real estate in Romania. There are several distinct instances that must be explained in order to fully understand the overall legal approach.

Foreign citizens can acquire real property in Romania, but only on certain conditions. These limitations generally concern immediate economic criteria that Romania had to fulfill as an active member of the European Union.

Before going into details, we shall draw attention to some specific aspects regarding the legal status of foreign nationals. We will further distinguish between three major classes: foreign citizens, stateless persons and legal entities. These are the most significant groups, representing individuals or juridical personalities who can fall under the ownership rights regulations. Legal information about buying real estate in Romania reveals several different circumstances.

Question: Are there any restrictions for foreigners interested in buying aparments or commercial buildings in Romania?

Answer: We would like to point out right from the beginning the fact that Romanian Legislation has no interdictions with reference to the ownership right over Romanian real estate such as apartments, commercial or industrial buildings for foreign citizens, stateless persons or for legal entities, regardless of their country of origin. So they can acquire ownership right over the above mentioned real estate properties under the same conditions with those applicable to Romanian citizens.

Nevertheless, the land these buildings are standing on cannot be acquired and therefore, a right of “superficies” must be established in favor of these properties. So, in brief, a foreign citizen interested to make a Romanian Real Estate investment can simply acquire the right to use the land, but not the land itself.

Question: I am a EU citizen interested in buying Romanian real estate. What laws apply in my case?

Answer: We would like to inform you about the ownership right over Romanian Real Estate for EU citizens, EU domiciling stateless persons and legal entities formed in an EU member state or belonging to the Economic European Area.

The land acquisition process is regulated strictly through a normative act in The Romanian Constitution. The Law no. 312/2005, Article 44 paragraph (2) final thesis establishes that “Aliens (foreign citizens) and stateless persons may acquire private ownership of lands only under the terms as may arise from Romania's accession to the European Union and from other international treaties to which Romania is a party, on a reciprocal basis, in accordance with an organic law, as well as by way of statutory inheritance.”

At his moment, there are two different circumstances under which foreign individuals are able to acquire real estate (only land), in Romania:

- individuals not domiciled in Romania, but being EU citizens or citizens of a member state in the Economic European Area, stateless persons not domiciled in Romania, but domiciled in an EU member state and as well legal entities not domiciled in Romania (established in accordance with the legal provisions of an E.U. member state) – they all can acquire ownership right over lands, only if these lands are used to build secondary residences or secondary headquarters. So legal information to buy property Romania should point out the fact that this particular category of entities is permitted to buy land only under these conditions.

- farmers who are either citizens of an E.U. member state or stateless persons domiciled in an E.U. member state, who establish their residence in Romania, can acquire ownership right over agricultural land, forests and forestry land under the same conditions as those applicable to Romanian citizens and to Romanian legal persons, only if they can officially prove that they work as farmers and they will not change the nature of their activity during their transit period.
Question: What law applies if I want to buy agricultural land in Romania?
Answer: The ownership right over agricultural land, forests and forestry land can be acquired by citizens of an E.U.  member state, stateless persons domiciled in Romania or in an E.U. state member, as well as legal entities established according with legislation of an E.U. member state only upon the expiry of a 7 years term after Romania joined the E.U. This means that starting on Jan. 1, 2014, all the above mentioned categories can acquire the ownership right over agricultural land (outside and inside the built-up areas), forests and forestry land.
Question: I am a non-E.U citiezen interested in buying real estate in Romania. Am I able to do this?
Answer: We will now describe the ownership right over Real Estate for Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons, as well as foreign legal entities – non-members of the European Union or the European Economic Area.

The foreigners buying property in Romania, the stateless person, as well as the legal entity belonging to foreign states can acquire ownership right over Romanian real estate (land), only under the conditions stipulated by international treaties, on a reciprocity basis.

Question: We are a business organization interested in buying real estate in Romania. What kind of land are we able to aquire?

Answer: There is a law for ownership right over Real Estate for Romanian Legal Persons. As opposed to all previous restrictions, a business organization (which is a Romanian legal entity) may acquire the ownership right over Romanian real estate (lands and buildings). This regulation entitles companies which are also legal entities to the ownership right over any type of land, including agricultural land, forests and forestry land. Consequently, the shareholders or the partners of a company, no matter what their nationality, indirectly have the right to acquire lands and buildings.

As this article clearly demonstrates, any type of real estate transaction calls for professional legal help. Certain specific features within the legal apparatus may seem of little importance but, from a deeper perspective, these aspects might function as essential details. The presence of one of our real estate lawyers can undoubtedly deliver a wider view of this specific topic. Quality legal assistance can evolve into long-term financial gains and it will always ensure a safe investment. We are here to help, so call us now for a free consultation.

by Cristian Darie

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