Bul­gar­ian prop­erty own­ers could risk los­ing their homes

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale

BUL­GARIA’S low prices and beau­ti­ful scenery tempted Brits to buy prop­erty in the coun­try dur­ing the buy to let boom.

But lawyers are warn­ing that some own­ers could face fi­nan­cial penal­ties and even risk los­ing their prop­erty be­cause of changes to Bul­gar­ian law.

West York­shire-based prop­erty spe­cial­ists John Howe & Co be­lieve many peo­ple could be un­aware of the com­plex­i­ties of the Bul­gar­ian le­gal process and its po­ten­tial im­pact.

John Howe says: “We have been con­tacted by sev­eral own­ers of Bul­gar­ian prop­erty who fear they may lose their as­sets to the gov­ern­ment. There could be many other prop­erty own­ers who don’t know about the Bul­gar­ian le­gal process and who could po­ten­tially risk los­ing their homes.”

Un­til re­cently, for­eign­ers have not been able to buy land, or prop­erty with land, in­clud­ing houses, vil­las, and even some apart­ments, in Bul­garia in their own name. There­fore, it was com­mon prac­tice for for­eign­ers to reg­is­ter a Bul­gar­ian com­pany and buy prop­erty through that.

What many own­ers do not re­alise is that to com­ply with EU leg­is­la­tion, the Bul­gar­ian gov­ern­ment re­quired all com­pa­nies to be re-reg­is­tered by De­cem­ber 31 last year. The com­pa­nies which failed to meet the dead­line can no longer rereg­is­ter, their trade ac­tiv­i­ties are per­ma­nently ceased and they can­not trade or dis­pose of their as­sets.

When new EU laws come into ef­fect in Bul­garia this Oc­to­ber, any­one who failed to re-reg­is­ter their com­pany may face the prospect of a large bill and los­ing the as­sets to the state, in­clud­ing any prop­erty.

As one of only a hand­ful of firms na­tion­wide rec­om­mended by the Law So­ci­ety for mat­ters re­lat­ing to the pur­chase of prop­er­ties and apart­ments in Bul­garia, John Howe and his team have come up with a so­lu­tion to this lat­est le­gal chal­lenge for British own­ers of Bul­gar­ian prop­er­ties.

John says: “Our spe­cial­ist team of prop­erty lawyers have done a lot of work in­ves­ti­gat­ing the is­sues sur­round­ing the re-reg­is­ter­ing of Bul­gar­ian prop­er­ties and be­lieve they have found a so­lu­tion whereby in­di­vid­u­als can liq­ui­date the com­pany and trans­fer all the as­sets to a group of share­hold­ers.

“The ul­ti­mate re­sult is that the prop­erty re­mains in the hands of the orig­i­nal pur­chaser and isn’t lost to the state.”

There are thou­sands of Bri­tishowned prop­er­ties in Bul­garia, many of which were bought in the re­cent boom as hol­i­day homes. The coun­try has also at­tracted British ex­pa­tri­ates.

The British Em­bassy in Sofia es­ti­mates there are be­tween 8,000 to 9,000 British peo­ple liv­ing in Bul­garia.

One of the most ap­peal­ing fea­tures of buy­ing a prop­erty in Bul­garia is the per­ceived value for money. An av­er­age villa close to the sea can be pur­chased for around £30,000 with ru­ral prop­er­ties be­ing of­fered for as lit­tle as £5,000, ac­cord­ing to www. my­bul­garia.info.

The coun­try boasts stun­ning scenery, coastal and ski­ing re­sorts to­gether with a won­der­ful cli­mate. How­ever, over­seas buy­ers must be cau­tious, as the lat­est prob­lems show.

It pays to do your home­work on buy­ing and sell­ing pro­cesses and to keep your­self in­formed about changes to laws af­fect­ing prop­erty own­er­ship.

Those buy­ing abroad should also check out the coun­try’s in­her­i­tance tax rules, as these can be com­plex and may re­sult in ex­tra costs for loved ones. It also pays to in­ves­ti­gate on other prop­erty taxes as some coun­tries im­pose hefty penal­ties on sec­ond home own­ers.

As al­ways, seek in­de­pen­dent le­gal ad­vice be­fore sign­ing any con­tracts.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice web­site, which has a “Know Be­fore You Go” sec­tion, www.fco.gov.uk.

John Howe & Co is an in­de­pen­dent firm of solic­i­tors based in Pud­sey, Leeds, www. jhowe.co.uk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.