Rules are getting much easier than before
Nowadays the real estate market in the Republic of Belarus has become freely accessible for foreigners. Conditions for purchasing apartments or offices are simple and understandable. Property in Belarus is reasonably priced, the real estate market is growing, and the rules governing acquisition of property have become more enticing for foreign investors each year.
It is worth noting that in the rating of countries by living standards published by the United Nations Human Development Report 2014, Belarus sits at third place (among 187 countries surveyed). The living costs , dwelling costs, the costs of education, and various cultural events are lower than the majority of Western and Eastern European countries. Moreover, besides a developed social infrastructure, Belarus has preserved a unique eco-environment suitable for a full and diverse lifestyle for the people.
This is why the acquisition of real estate in the Republic of Belarus is considered as an inviting, safe and profitable investment.
At the beginning of 2014, the price for apartments and houses located in the center of Minsk were from $1500 – $2500 per square meter. Real estate prices in other minor cities like Mogilev, Grodno, Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel were significantly lower than in Minsk. The Average price per square meter in Mogilev is approximately $900.
Who can buy property in Belarus?
Any foreign citizen or legal entity can acquire, own and sell property located in Belarus. These proprietary rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus. The law permits owners of property not only to hold the land title, but also use the property for commercial purposes and gain profits from it.
Thus, according to article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, foreign citizens and stateless persons have the rights and freedoms to fulfill their duties on an equal basis with Belorussian citizens.
According to article 12 of the law regarding the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Belarus; foreigners can obtain property in ownership, inherit or bequeath it. They may have other property rights in the order established by the legislation of The Republic of Belarus, including international treaties.
The procedure of acquiring property by foreigners is almost identical to that for residents of Belarus. Nevertheless, when buying domestic property, foreigners can only lay claim to structures or buildings and not the land on which they stand. This limitation, however, does not apply to citizens of the Russian Federation. Russian citizens are as free as native Belorussians when purchasing both land and structures. In any case, the acquisition of the building without the right of land plot is possible.
Regarding the articles 12 and 14 of the Code of the Republic of Belarus (Earth Code) foreign citizens have only the right to lease land plots. However, the Earth Code sets up the right for foreign citizens to gain ownership of a land plot by the way of inheritance.
According to the Law “About the state registration of real estate, rights to it and transactions with it” real estate transactions are not required to be certified by notary. As a general rule according to the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus, transactions with real estate are subject to state registration. This means, that the real estate transaction is considered concluded at the moment of state registration. Only after the registration process is complete does the buyer become the legal owner and legally hold the title of the dwelling that they have purchased.
For the registration of a sale-purchase agreement and ownership right, the foreigner should apply to the Local agency on state registration and land Cadastre. The Resolution of the Council of Ministers number 156 sets out the guidelines for the registration process and the documents required.
Documents to buy property in Belarus
The following documents should be submitted to the Local agency of state registration and land Cadastre for registration procedures:
– the application in its completed form, you can find a copy on the web-site of the Local agency on state registration and land Cadastre for registration procedure. (for Minsk https://mga.by) .
– passport or other identification documents. The foreigner should submit an notarized translation of his passport into Russian or Belorussian.
– documents confirming the foreigner’s legal status in the territory of Belarus (e.g temporary stay or temporary residence permit);
– certificate of state registration of the legal entity (only if the legal entity is a part to a contract);
– passport or other identifying documents for the authorized representative of the legal property. If a company is involved with the selling or purchasing, their representative should bring the employment contracts with them and their respective companies should be submitted, to confirm legal powers. If the representative is acting as a proxy, his power of attorney should be submitted.
– sale-purchase agreement signed by the Seller and the Buyer three copies. The draft of the sale-purchase contract can be prepared by the Registration Clerk for an additional service fee.
– receipt, confirming registration fee payment to the Registry.
The Local agency on state registration and land cadastre requests (if in the case foreign of a citizen) a reference of registration with the taxation authority in Belarus. This also applies to a stateless person or a foreign or international legal entity.
Duration of the procedure is 7 business days (regular procedure) or 2 business days (expedited procedure).
Taxation of property in Belarus
Real estate tax is paid by foreigners buying any property in Belarus. The annual lands tax rate for businesses is calculated as 1% of the buildings or lands value. The Taxation period for real estate is one calendar year. Real estate tax can be paid once a year in the full amount, no later than March 22nd of that tax year. Alternatively the lands tax can be paid in quarterly installments no later than the 22nd day of the third month of that quarterly period. 25% of the 1% land value tax is due to be paid at each quarterly period. The annual tax rate of real estate for individuals is 0,1% following the same principle at businesses. The income tax is paid by the individual who is selling the property.
Owning residential premises in the Republic of Belarus gives the foreign buyer the opportunity to obtain a temporary residency permit (see article number one of the Statute of the Republic of Belarus. “the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Belarus” states that a temporary residence permit allows foreign citizens to stay within the territory of the Republic of Belarus for more than 90 days but not more than one year).
Permanent residency is granted only for those foreigners who have invested the equivalent of 150 thousand Euros or more .
Commercial real estate can be freely sold to residents, as well as to non-residents of Belarus. It’s worth mentioning that there are a number of restrictions on the acquisition of land plots by non-residents of Belarus. Such restrictions do not cover citizens and legal entities of the Russian Federation. Land usually can be transferred to commercial legal entities, including foreign ones, on the right of lease. The exception to this is joint-venture companies, where the Belorussian partner is entitled to purchase property in Belarus.
All in all I hope that the article has helped you to clarify some aspects of obtaining real estate in the Republic of Belarus. For any additional information, please, use Contact US form
Names and links to appropraite laws:
-The Law of the Republic of Belarus № 15 of January 20, 2010 “On the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Belarus” – http://www.pravo.by/pdf/2010-15/2010-15(028-086).pdf
-The Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus number 156 of February 17, 2012 “On Approval of the Unified List of Administrative Procedures Performed by State Authorities and Other Organizations in Relation to Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs” http://www.pravo.by/pdf/2012-35/2012-35(010-398).pdf
– The Code of the Republic of Belarus “About the earth” № 425-З of July 23, 2008 – http://www.pravo.by/pdf/2008-187/2008-187(003-061).pdf
– The Law of the Republic of Belarus № 133-3 of July 22, 2002 “About the state registration of real estate, rights to it and transactions with it” – http://www.pravo.by/main.aspx?guid=3961&p0=H10200133
– The Code of the Republic of Belarus №71-3 of December 29, 2009 “Tax Code”- http://www.pravo.by/main.aspx?guid=4061&p0=2010&p1=4
-Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus number 200 of April 26, 2010 “On administrative procedures undertaken by government agencies and other organizations on citizens’ petitions” – http://www.pravo.by/main.aspx?guid=4061&p0=2010&p1=119.