BOUNDARY LINE REGULATIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
In the Republic of Croatia boundary lines are often a subject of legal disputes. A legal dispute with neighbor/s regarding boundary lines often emerges when, for example, an investor buys a building land and starts to build. These disputes can last several years.
This also happens to the natural persons when, for example, they inherit building land and start with the building.
These problems could be efficiently avoided when all natural and legal persons would, prior to entering into sales contract, hire a surveyor to measure and map the land and determine the boundary lines. The surveyors’ conclusion must be signed by all the neighbors. In case all the neighbors wouldn’t sign this conclusion, the buyers would not buy these real estates, and a legal dispute would be avoided.Boundary lines are marked with boundary marks. Boundary marks are usually walls, fences and hedges, but also other sorts of objects that could serve the purpose of dividing two lands.
In case the boundary line with the neighbor is disputable, the competent court can set the boundary line according to:
1. the cadastre plan
2. the neighbors’ agreement
3. the last peaceful possession or
4. the righteous decision of the court.
The court shall set the boundary line according to the cadastre plan if it is possible and if the parties of the dispute agree to this. If there is no agreement between the parties, the court shall set the boundary line according to the last peaceful possession, and if this is not possible as well, then the boundary line shall be set according to the righteous decision of the court.
The possession acquired untruthfully, unlawfully and arbitrarily (vis, clam, precario – forcefully, secretly or by trust disabuse) is not peaceful because the possessor deprived of his possession has a right to restore previous possession. This restoration can be achieved throughout a legal dispute at competent court, or by self-assistance. The possession acquired on this manner can, however, become peaceful. According to the Article 2, paragraph 3 of the Law on ownership and other real rights, the right to protection of one’s possession expires 30 days from the day when the possessor became aware of the intrusion and of the intruder, and at latest one year after the intrusion. After these time periods expire, this possession can be a base for boundary lines determination, although it is still untruthful.
The court shall set the boundary line according to the righteous decision of the court if it is not possible to determine who has the last peaceful possession of the area in question. There are no special rules for this decision making process, i.e. the court shall determine, according to the area in question, if it should be divided on equal parts (most common case) or there are some reasonable grounds for different decision (for example: existence of a ditch, watercourse, hill, etc.). Most commonly the court sets boundary lines according to the righteous decision of the court.
The courts’ ruling on the boundary lines is an enforceable decision, enforced immediately by boundary marks set at the area in question.
After the court has, in the boundary lines dispute, set these lines, anyone is authorized to prove his/her ownership in another legal dispute, and to demand the boundary lines to be set accordingly; except for the neighbor who was engaged in the process of arranging boundary lines. When six months from the day of the legal validity of the decision in the boundary lines dispute elapse, this neighbor is no longer authorized to demand it.