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Changing the status of agricultural land in Bulgaria

The borders and the use of the agricultural land in Bulgaria which are included in the borders of the towns and villages are defined by a general or comprehensive structural plan.

The inclusion of agricultural property in these plans can happen after a procedure of changing the status of the urban plan. Changing the purpose of use of the land is within the power of commission of the district directorate of agriculture and forests, where the property is located, in cases when the plot is with area up to 50 000 square meters, when the area is bigger the case is resolved by the commission for agricultural lands in the Ministry of agriculture and forests.

1. The procedure is started with an application to the mayor of the municipality where the property is situated. Along with it there should be a document for ownership for the land or a document for established property rights for building in favor of the investor. When according to the ownership documents the agricultural land is owned by a single person who is not alive, his ancestors should present a certificate for ancestors not older than 6 months. In case of co-ownership the application should be from all owners. With the application you as for permission for elaborating by licensed person of comprehensive construction plan which is consistent with the investor's requirements for building on the plot - what building with what purpose will be built on the plot.

2. In explanatory letter along with the application are indicated: the name of the object, information for the provided activity, location of the object (area, its functional type, municipality, district), distance from the republic road network and from other closest existing objects, the size and the borders of the objects which are going to be built.

It is obligatory that the plan is coordinated with the appropriate operating companies, which guarantees the possibilities for establishing an infrastructure in the property - electricity, water and sewage. On objects next to a main road in the comprehensive planning it should be indicated what will be the communication-transport connections.

3. Besides the comprehensive planning for changing the status of the agricultural land are necessary and :

- Plan of the land and situation plan on which the location of the property should be indicated on the map of recovered ownership.

- opinion from (RIOSV) regional inspection of the environment and water. In certain cases it might be required to present a report for impact on the environment of the desired change of the status of the land.

- A document for categorization of the agricultural land - it is issued bu the district directorate for Agriculture and forests, in the procedures of changing the status of the land they are categorized in 10 categories, according to the production capabilities of the soil and climate conditions, relief and the technological qualities of the land, its aptitude for production of different kinds of vegetation and the applied limitations for using the land under the conditions and according to an order defined by the law.

- certificate for irrigation issued by "Irrigation systems"

4. This package of documents is given with the order of the mayor in expert committee which in case of a positive answer accepts a decision for affirmation of building site. The mayor based on the decision of the expert committee issued an order and the whole documentation is sent to the district directorate "Agriculture and forests". In two months there should be a decision for changing the status of the land. It should be reflected in the register of the municipal agriculture service - Agriculture and forests. Important question is the one for the expenses for changing the status of the land, as usual when we have a massive you do not need to change the status of the whole lot, only for the allowed for building according to the urban plan.

Besides paying for making the comprehensive construction plan and its coordination, it is necessary to pay the special taxes calculated by a special tariff. Their amount depends on :

- The bonitet category of the agricultural land indicated in the act for categorization of the land

- The size of the land included in the borders of the defined building site or trace of the object

- The location of the land according to the functional type of the village or town, defined by the Single classifier of administrative-territorial and territorial units (EKATTE) in Bulgaria

- type of the object

- irrigation possibilities

Importance for the size of the taxes have the purpose and the type of the constriction - whether it is a trade object or industrial object, storage object, administrative object, holiday property, sport and touristic objects or residential buildings or complexes. For example the government tax for changing the status agricultural land which is 4th category is about 3200 levs for 1000 square meters. The specialized consulting companies which undertake the task for completing and processing all paperwork for you define their fees in large range according to the volume of the work and it varies between 1.5 and 3 euro per square meter.

The whole procedure is accompanied by multiple individual and group administrative acts, along with this the permission of the neighbors should be taken into consideration as well. It will be useful to know that not every agricultural land could be regulated and in case of denial or appeal in the court the process might take up to a few years.

The low price of the agricultural land hides at least 3 risk moments: there is no guarantee that the status will be changed, there is no defined time frame for completing the procedure, you can not always predict the actual expenses for changing the status of the land. Along with the above stated the agricultural land hides huge potential as a profitable investment after changing its status for building land, the difference in the price before and after changing its status is between 2 and 15 times.