Home > Topic > Private property for Civil-law notaries > Acquisition of land by foreigners in Romania
Acquisition of land by foreigners in Romania

Acquisition of land by foreigners in Romania

The Constitution of Romania[1], by Article 44, pa.2, second phrase, provides that foreign citizens and stateless people shall only acquire the right to private property of land as follows:

a)      under the terms resulting from Romania’s accession to the European Union;
b)      under the terms resulting from other international treaties Romania is a party to, on a mutual basis, under the terms provided by an organic law, as well as
c)      by intestate succession.

Acquisition of land under the terms resulting from Romania’s accession to the European Union

Following Romania’s accession to the European Union in January, 2007 and on the basis of the accession treaty[2], the Law no.312 from the 10th of November, 2005 regarding the acquiring of the ownership right over the land by the foreign citizens and stateless people, as well as by the foreign legal entities, has been adopted.

By this law[3], any citizen of an EU member State, any stateless person with the domicile in a member State or in Romania, as well as any legal entity established according to the legislation of an EU member State, may acquire the ownership right over the land under the same terms as provided by the Romanian law for the Romanian citizens and Romanian legal entities.

This rule has been applied according to the provisions of the same law, considering the subjects and the destination of lands, as follows:

a)      starting with the date of Romania’s accession (the 1st of January, 2007), to the EU citizens or the stateless people residing[4] in Romania at that date or, as the case, to the legal entities with registered secondary headquarters in Romania[5], but only regarding the acquiring of lands for the secondary residences or headquarters;[6]
b)      after the expiry of a 5 years term after Romania joined the EU (this term expired at the end of 2011), to the EU citizens non-residing in Romania, as well as to the stateless persons non-residing in Romania, but with domicile in EU as well as to non-residing legal entities, but established according to the legislation of an EU member State, only regarding the acquiring of lands for secondary residences or headquarters;[7]
c)      starting with the date of Romania’s accession (the 1st of January, 2007) to the farmers who carried out “independent activities”[8] and were, at the above mentioned date, (i) either citizens of EU member States or stateless persons with domicile in an EU member State, but residing in Romania or (ii) stateless persons with domicile in Romania, regarding the acquiring of the ownership right over agricultural land, forests and forestry land;[9]
d)     after the expiry of a 7 years term after Romania joined the EU (this term shall expire at the end of 2013), to the citizens of EU member States non-residing in Romania, to the stateless persons non-residing in Romania, but with domicile in an EU member State and to the non-residing foreign legal entities established according to the legislation of an EU member State, regarding the acquiring of the ownership right over agricultural land, forests and forestry land.
 

Acquisition of land under the terms resulting from other international treaties

Foreign citizens and stateless persons shall acquire the ownership over the lands under the terms provided by other international treaties as well, but only if the condition of reciprocity in respect of the acquiring ownership right over the lands is observed in such treaties.

In the light of the above-mentioned constitutional provision, the Law no.312/2005 expressly provides that any foreign citizen of a third state, any stateless person and any legal entity established in a third state cannot acquire lands in more favourable conditions than those applicable to a citizen of an EU member State or to a legal entity established according to the legislation of an EU member State.[10]

In view of correlating the legislation existing at that date, the Law no.312/2005[11] amended Article 6 from the Government Emergency Ordinance no.92/1997 regarding incentives for foreign direct investment. Thus, the amended text provides that a residing or non-residing entity may acquire any right in rem over immovable goods, if necessary for performing its activity, as per the company’s object of activity, by observing the legal provisions regarding the acquiring of land by foreign citizens and stateless persons, as well as by the foreign legal entities.

Acquisition of land by intestate succession

The restrictions provided by the Law no.312/2005 in respect of the subjects and destination of the land are not applied when foreign citizens and stateless persons acquire the ownership right over the land by means of the intestate succession. By expressly mentioning the means of intestate succession, the law excluded the testamentary succession.

As a conclusion

Starting with the 31st of December, 2011, the EU citizens non-residing in Romania, the stateless persons non-residing in Romania, but having the domicile in EU, as well as the non-residing legal entities established according to the legislation of a EU member State, may acquire lands for secondary residence or headquarters.

As well, starting with the 31st of December, 2013, the citizens of EU member States non-residing in Romania, the stateless persons non-residing in Romania, but having the domicile in an EU member State and the non-residing foreign legal entities established according to the legislation of an EU member State, may acquire agricultural lands, forests and forestry lands.

However, in case of a company registered according to the Romanian legislation, consequently having a Romanian nationality, the ownership right over the lands shall be acquired according to the generally applicable law in Romania. This is the way used up to present by the foreign investors in acquiring land and farmland. At present, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, around 8.5% of the country’s farmland is owned by foreigners through local companies.

Nevertheless, the acquisition of farmland in Romania is very attractive for the foreign investors since the local farmland is 3 to 7 times cheaper than in other European states and the prices are looking at future growth within the following three years.

Mariana Anghel


[1] As subsequently amended and supplemented
[2] The Treaty for Accession of Romania to European Union has been ratified by the Law no.157/24.05.2005
[3] Article 3 of the Law no.312 from 2005
[4] According to Article 2, letter c) of the Law no.312 from 2005, resident means the foreigner having a residency right in Romania or, as the case, the foreign legal entity having at least a secondary headquarters on the Romanian territory, according with the law.
[5] As per the Law of companies (Law no.31/1990), second headquarters means forms of organization without legal personality, as a branch, an agency or a representative office.
[6] As resulted from the interpretation per a contrario of the Article 4, corroborated with Article 2, c) from the Law no.312 from 2005
[7] Article 4 from the Law no.312 from 2005
[8] According to the definition provided by Article 2, letter d) from the Law no.312 from 2005
[9] Article 5, pa.2 corroborated with pa.4 from the Law no.312 from 2005
[10] Article 6, pa.2 of the Law no.312 from 2005
[11] Article 7 of the Law no.312 from 2005
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • PDF

Scroll To Top