Acquisition in Slovak Real Estate Law – NEW RULES!

Acquisition by prescription can be a practical means of acquiring the right of ownership or other rights, such as a right of way. However, the new rules are intended to avoid possible fraud in the process of acquisitive prescription.

Before every major real estate purchase, the investor checks whether the property is also in good legal condition, i.e., whether the seller is not only the owner according to the land register, but whether he can also prove flawless acquisition titles for a period of at least ten years. Ten years because this period corresponds to the length of the period of acquisition. However, the right of succession is also relevant for future acquisition of a property or even an easement, e.g., a right of way. If the owner of a property uses a right of way in good faith, even if his acquisition title to the right of way is shown to be defective, he can still acquire it by adverse possession.

This is certainly important for real estate projects where defects in the title can be remedied by way of acquisitive prescription or where missing rights can be secured in this way. For example, if an investor finds that he does not have the right to use the road leading to his property, he may be able to acquire a right of way through the process of adverse possession. However, as of May 2021, the procedure leading to legally binding confirmation of a right of way will be significantly tightened. This is primarily intended to exclude possible cases of fraud. In the past, notaries who confirmed (notarised) seizure, were only satisfied with a declaration by the seizing party, often without examining the factual conditions of the seizure.

Now, the court has to decide on seizure in a special procedure. The grantor must first prove the factual conditions – above all bona fide possession for 10 years. If, in the opinion of the judge, these conditions are fulfilled, everyone concerned is given the opportunity to lodge an objection. Persons affected are those whose rights are registered in the land register and are affected by the adverse possession. Those who are not registered in the land register may also come forward (the court summons is published on the official notice board). Thus, the court is the final arbiter of the issue of adverse possession.

Source: Act No. 161/2015 Coll. Slovak Code of Civil Procedure as amended.

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