Robert Kemkers, Saturday, 2 July 2016
Author: Robert Kemkers,
Translated by Jos Deuling,
Purchases on the vineyard. Simplified procedure in 2016.
winter issue of 2013 I wrote
extensively on the amendments by May 1, 2014, making it possible for many Europeans to buy farmland and wine houses. The procedure is very
cumbersome, but as I already predicted, it would be simplified for orchards, vineyards and wine houses. That’s been the case! But hurry, because the
particular procedure that allows this only applies until the end of 2016.
Belterület, külterület and zártkert
Let's first define what is at stake. According to the cadastre, all the property in Hungary is divided into three categories: 'belterület (in urban
areas), külterület (outside urban areas) and ‘zártkert’. The latter is a kind of intermediate class that shares certain characteristics of the area
"inside" and located "outside" of the urban areas. Thus, the area usually located right at the edge of, or manifestly outside town or city, the plots
are formally part of the rural (and they have an agricultural value), and the municipality is not required to harden the streets or provide public
utilities. By contrast, it is allowed use to place a building on a part of the plot and several municipalities allow permanent residence and
registration if the building meets certain standards. In practice, this concerns in particular areas of the town with vineyards, orchards or summer
Cadastral sheet decisive
The Cadastral sheet always clearly indicates into which category a lot falls. Apart from possible differences between Zoning and Cadastre, it is
usually quite clear into which category an object falls. The Cadastral sheet is decisive! Only if the Zoning includes a particular area or field in
the urban area, it is possible to transfer a plot to the "inner area", where one usually is allowed to build more. Until recently, this transfer was
the only possibility for foreigners to buy a plot in the 'zártkert’. Gradually the legislation has been tightened, and municipalities are reluctant
to enlarge the Zoning any further because this also entails a lot of additional obligations for the infrastructure. Also, they don't want to
sacrifice nature as long as there are sufficient opportunities within the existing Zoning.
Value in Gold Crowns
Because of the lower land prices, free space and a location close to nature, wine houses and cottages on a vineyard are popular with many foreigners.
Because almost all of the land in the 'zártkert’ formally has an agricultural destination, with a value in so-called ‘Golden Crowns’ (‘AK’), the
same restrictions applied as for other agricultural lands outside urban areas: foreigners could not buy them. We found out that several compatriots
nevertheless have bought wine houses, vineyards, and orchards but that in the name of a Hungarian acquaintance.
Up to 1 hectare
Most of the constructions were illegal and since mid-2014 all usufructs and wills to 'strangers' are revoked, and it’s not possible anymore to
register new mortgages on agricultural parcels. As of May 1, 2014, the law changed: both Hungarians and foreigners can now buy agricultural land
(including the 'zártkert’), but there is a maximum of one hectare in total per person. Only officially registered farmers can buy more. The procedure
for purchasing a plot of less than 1 hectare is very complicated and time-consuming because there is a very comprehensive system of pre-emptive
rights: in practice, for small plots on the 'zártkert' the procedure takes a year and often longer. There are relatively large costs involved.
Cancel agricultural use
In respond to a lot of complaints, the legislation is amended at the end of 2015. As of December 1, 2015, you can request the cadastre to cancel the
agricultural use of one or more lots on the 'zártkert'; this does not apply to objects outside the zoning, including the so-called ‘Tanya's'!
Cancellation is possible if the land is no longer used for agriculture, but used as a 'garden' or 'yard' of your wine- or holiday home. This
cancellation is in principle forever and can not be easily undone. It is also not eligible for agricultural subsidies. The result is not to bring the
plot to the urban area, but only the removal of the agricultural use and the elimination of the long sale process with preferential rights. The plot
remains part of the 'zártkert’, but the definition will change to ‘zártkerti művelés Alol Kivett terület’, which means ‘land of the wine
hills/allotments which has been withdrawn from agricultural use. The opportunities to build or other provisions in the zoning remain unchanged but
there is no maximum to the area which can be bought. And there may be a simple, quick sale procedure to be followed, without right of the first
refusal, i.e., in the same way as with an object within the urban area.
Free ... this year
The agricultural value should be surrendered, but in 2016 the procedure is free, even free of charges. But watch out! This extension is only
temporarily, until 31-12-2016! After that date, the 'old rules' apply again, including the long sale process. I advise all readers who own property
within the 'zártkert' and are not a professional wine grower to use this temporary widening of the rules. The forms to start this procedure are in
Hungarian. They must be signed and submitted on behalf of all officially registered owners. An attorney or lawyer is not required in this case, but
you should hire one as the text on the form require a good command of Hungarian and the legal rules. The amendment procedure varies in practice from
two weeks to a month or two. After the adjustment the property can be transferred to the actual users, or to a new buyer. Readers with questions or
who want to start this procedure may contact the undersigned.
- GeGe Real Estate