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Acquisition of property by prescription

The right of ownership can be acquired in various ways – by purchase and sale of property, by donation, etc. Bulgarian law recognizes the right to acquire property by prescription. This rules is based on the principle that if someone has been in possession of immovable property for a long time, without challenge by another interested person, then he is recognized as the legal owner. Legal Frame Law Firm is experienced in drafting documents to acquire property by prescription.

There are various reasons why a person may acquire property by prescription – for example:

– the property is hereditary and there are no documents for it;
– you acquired the property from a person who did not own the property;
– you have taken possession of a certain property by a preliminary contract, but a final contract has never been concluded.

The hypotheses can be supplemented, but in any case of bona fide possession of the property, you can invoke the legislative protection to acquire the property by prescription.

When can I acquire a property by prescription?

The most important thing is to exercise possession over a property for a certain period of time. This means exercising actual authority over it and disposing of it as your own property – living in it, paying taxes, utility bills, making improvements, and so on. Intentions are difficult to prove, but the law establishes a presumption that if you exercise actual possession of a property, then you are in possession of it.

In the case of acquisition by prescription of jointly owned property, this presumption is not sufficient. It is necessary to exclude the possibility that the other co-owner is also in possession of the property.

Possession of immovable property must be exercised openly and without interference. That is, other persons must know that the property is treated as yours and no one can claim rights to it.

Furthermore, possession must have been exercised continuously for a certain period of time. Here the legislator has provided for two limitation periods: 5 and 10 years.

The short 5-year limitation period applies where there is bona fide possession of the property. For example, if you entered into a contract of sale with a person who did not own the property (or only owned part of it).

The longer limitation period of 10 years applies in the case of adverse possession. Here are all other hypotheses.

How do I get a deed of title?

When the above-mentioned prerequisites – possession and expiry of the statute of limitations – are present, you can obtain a title deed for the property. For this purpose, notarial proceedings are initiated, for which a certain set of documents is procured – a sketch, tax assessment, declaration application and others depending on the situation. Three witnesses are indicated in the application and questioned by the notary.

The title deed establishes the ownership and should be entered in the Property Register at the Registry Agency. When acquiring a property by prescription, you are liable to pay local property acquisition tax, which is determined as a percentage of the tax assessment.

Notwithstanding the recording of the deed, an interested party may bring an action in the district court to contest the ownership and cancel the deed.

The acquisition of a property by prescription is an important legal instrument that allows long-time users of a property to be recognised as owners. This type of property acquisition requires the fulfilment of certain conditions and compliance with certain time limits. It is important for anyone who owns or wishes to acquire property by prescription to consult a good lawyer to understand their rights and obligations and avoid possible future disputes. Our attorneys have a practice that will benefit anyone wishing to acquire property by prescription.

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