SPECIAL MANAGEMENT REGIMES OF THE AGRICULTURAL LANDS IN CROATIA
Some types of land in the Republic of Croatia enjoy special protection, and therefore the purchase of real estates on such lands is under a special regime. In the first place, these are the argicultural lands and parts of nature with the special treatment.
The agricultural lands represent property of particular interest for the Republic of Croatia and therefore enjoy the special protection of the State. Various agricultural areas, such as arables, gardens, meadows, pastures, orchards, olive groves, vineyards and other lands that can be used for agricultural production are considered agricultural lands. Foreign natural and legal persons can not become owners of agricultural lands, except if an international treaty or a special legal regulation provides an exemption. The exception to the rule that foreign legal and natural persons can not become owners of agricultural lands in Croatia, is the possibility for foreign legal and natural persons to acquire these properties by inheritance.
It should be noted that this restrictions apply to citizens of the European Union as well. The citizens of EU countries won’t be able to acquire ownership of agricultural lands in Croatia for the period of 7 years after accession of Croatia to the European Union, with the possibility of extending this period for further 3 years.
The same regulations apply to the purchase of the property located in parts of nature with the special treatment, that is, in nature reserves, national parks, natural parks, parks – forests and the like.
The owners of agricultural lands are required to maintain their property in the state suitable for agricultural production.
It is possible to change the intended use of agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes in accordance with the physical planning documents and other regulations. The procedure for such a change of use of agricultural lands is initiated after an executive act allowing the building of a structure (an administrative decision of building conditions, confirmation of the project, building permit) has been issued. A refund for the reduction in value of the agricultural land is paid for the change of it’s use, in base to the surface of the land. The competent authority which issued the executive act allowing the building of a structure must deliver the same to the competent regional administrative office or the administrative office of the City of Zagreb, within 8 days from the finality of the act. This office will issue the decision upon the amount of remuneration for the reduction in value of the land, in basis on the tax authority data of the market value of the land in the area of construction. This remuneration can range from 2.5% up to 50% of the market value of the land.
The agricultural land owned by the Republic of Croatia is managed in accordance with special provisions. The decision upon the ownership and other property rights of the agricultural land owned by the State should be directed to the protection and improvement of the economic, environmental and other interests of the State and Croatian citizens. The state-owned agricultural land can be leased for various purposes, for example: fish ponds, community pastures, temporary managament upon the request of a natural or legal person, etc. The state-owned agricultural land can be exchanged for agricultural land of the same value owned by natural or legal persons, with the purpose of consolidation of agricultural lands. Agricultural land owned by the state may be sold only in exceptional cases, by direct negotiation, at the market price determined by the Agency for the management of agricultural land.