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The deputies adopted at first reading the amendments to the law on the ownership and use of agricultural land in Bulgaria

The amendments to the Law on the Ownership and Use of Agricultural Land (LFPA) were adopted at a first reading of the Parliament. During the vote, the deputies stood behind the abolition of the possibility to relinquish farmland without the owners' knowledge.

Three draft laws were proposed in the National Assembly - one by GERB, one by the United Patriots and one by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) for Bulgaria. The MPs categorically rejected the bill proposed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) for Bulgaria.

The bill includes changes regarding the conclusion of lease agreements for agricultural land and more specifically the conditions for the transfer of the land to third parties without the explicit consent of the owners.

GERB proposes that lease agreements can be concluded by owner, co-owner or co-owner, or by a person authorized by them, as well as by a person who has the right to use or manage the land by the owner or the authorized person. Authorization must be certified by the notary and the signatures of the parties. It is envisaged that the land may be re-let only if agreed in the contract, and the lessee will be obliged to notify in writing the landlord and the municipal agricultural office. Contracts with a term of more than one year will be concluded with a notary certification of the content and signatures of the parties. In the municipal agricultural office only rent contracts will be registered, meeting the new requirements. These requirements will be applied from the 2017/2018 business year.

In order to maintain the registration of already concluded contracts, they should be confirmed by the owner or co-owners with a declaration filed with the municipal agricultural office. The municipal agricultural services are forbidden to register rent, lease and joint farm lands where they are not concluded by their owners and when it is established that there are more than one contract for a particular property.