Property Ownership in Slovakia

Basically, anyone who can afford it may buy a property in Slovakia. The market is open to everyone and no one is discriminated by law. Neither the citizenship nor the place of residence is important.

Property Ownership Rights

A flat or a non-residential area in a house can be:

The ownership right is the right of the owners of the property entitling them, within the bounds of the law, to use, hold the property and treat it according to their needs. This right originates in the moment when they acquire the ownership of the property based on the legal requirements stated in a valid legislation.

In general, an acquisition of the property rights to real estates is regulated by the provision of act no. 40/1964 Coll. of the Civil Code according to the later regulations (hereinafter referred to as the Civil Code). A special act regulates the acquisition of flats and non-residential premises, act no. 182/1995 Coll. on the ownership of flats and non-residential premises according to the later regulations.

The ownership of a flat or a non-residential area in a house can be acquired by:

The buyer becomes the owner of the property only after the inscription into the real estate register.

Conditions for an Acquisition of the Property (House, Flat or Land) by the Foreign Nationals

All above-mentioned options apply to the citizens and entrepreneurs from any EU member states. Since Slovakia entered the EU, non-EU citizens can also acquire the property here. The only exceptions are the agricultural farm land and forest land, which cannot be purchased by the foreign country citizens unless certain conditions explained below have been fulfilled.

The Foreign Exchange Act no. 202/1995, which regulates the issue of property acquisition by the foreigners, has been amended by the Act no. 456/2002 coll.

Within this amendment, an article 19a has been added to the article 19 (on property acquisition). It amends the rules for an acquisition of the property by the foreigners in the Slovak Republic. This amendment came into effect on the date Slovakia entered into the EU - May 1, 2004. When referring to the individuals, this act uses the term non-residents, which means all individuals who do not have permanent residence in the territory of Slovakia, including the citizens of both EU and non-EU member countries, and those citizens of the Slovak Republic who do not have permanent residence in Slovakia and who live abroad.

The interested parties also have to count with the official fees for concluding of a purchase contract and the administrative fees payable at the real estate registry (for the proposal of inserting the ownership right into the registry, or for an extract from the letter of ownership).

Exceptions of Acquisition of the Property by the Foreigners

According to the article 19a paragraph 1 of the Foreign Exchange Act non-residents may acquire ownership rights to the real estate located in the Slovak Republic, excluding exceptions mentioned in the article 19a par. 2, according to which a foreigner cannot acquire ownership rights:

In general, EU citizens can acquire a property in the Slovak Republic under the same conditions as the Slovak citizens and residents (see article 19a paragraph 1 of the Foreign Exchange Act) apart from the already-mentioned agricultural and forest land. This cannot be purchased, only inherited, unless the buyer from the EU has been farming the land for at least 3 years since May 1, 2004.

Authorization of a contract on the transfer of property ownership by a lawyer 

A  lawyer begins by establishing the identity of the contracting parties and their representatives when drafting a contract for the transfer of ownership of property,  furthermore, the lawyer assesses whether the contract is not contrary to the law, does not circumvent the law, is controvening of good morals and also whether there are any absence of facts, the consequences of which may lead to certain damages.

The lawyer has the duty to warn the parties of the terms of payment of the purchase price agreed in the contract. A statement of familiarisation of these terms and conditions is provided in the contract.  The completion of the transfer is given in a clause of authorisation for transfer of ownership by a lawyer in the contract.

In connection with the authorisation of the contract on the transfer of ownership of property, you may also request a lawyer for the completion of submitting the transfer of ownership to the land registry (cadastral).  The lawyer, on the basis on your written permission of power of attorney shall prepare and ensure the delivery of the transfer to the Land Registry together with all relevant papers. 

Formation of a notarised contract of property transfer

A public notary shall handle the completion of service related to drafting a contract and transfer of property together with the proposal for transfer of ownership to the Land Registry and investigate the dimensions of ownership related to the property and establish the identity of the participants as well.

The public notary shall notify all parties about the payment terms agreed in the contract and in the report and present a statement of familiarisation with these conditions by the contracting parties.

If it is apparent that the contract is not in accordance with the law, circumvents the law or is contravening of good morals, the notary is obliged to refuse the effectuation of the report. 

A notary may also be an ideal intermediary regarding the payment of the purchase price to the seller. In the contract on the transfer of ownership of immovable property, you may agree on the financial method that the buyer deposits the funds to the public notary and at the same time determines the conditions under which the notary will  pay out these funds. 

Registration in the Land Registry

Ownership rights arise, change and disappear in the Land Registry. 

The Land Registry is a database which contains a description of properties, their geometric data and rights to them.  All properties must be registered in the Land Registry and graphically noted in Slovakia. 

If a contract for the transfer of ownership of property is drawn up by a notary or lawyer, they usually submit a proposal for transfer to the Land Registry as well. If a contract for the transfer of ownership of the property is prepared by yourself or it is drawn-up by a real estate agency, you may submit a proposal for registration yourself.

The application for registration shall be submitted in writing and must contain all legally prescribed requirements. The proposal should be drawn up in two copies, one copy of which is submitted to the Land Registry and the second copy should be kept as a confirmation and remain for your own personal needs. 

Appendices to the proposal for registration is a contract of which the basis must be the written rights to the property in the Land Registry (in duplicate) or other legally prescribed appendices.

 The application for registration must be made no later than three years from the conclusion of the transfer of ownership of the property, otherwise it shall be considered that the parties have withdrawn from the contract. 

The Land Registry shall decide on the application for registration within 30 days of receipt of the proposal for registration. In the case of a contract for the transfer of ownership of the property, which has been drawn up by a public notary or authorised lawyer, the Land Registry shall decide on the application for registration within 20 days. The Land Registry may decide on a request for urgent action on the proposal for registration within 15 days from the date of receipt of application for registration. 

If the conditions are met for registration, The Land Registry shall permit the registration. The decision on permission of registration shall be sent by the Land Registry to all parties within 15 days of the decision. A refusal decision by the Land Registry shall be delivered to all parties involved. An appeal against this decision may be made within 30 days from its delivery.

Administrative fees

For a preliminary decision on the permission for registration of immovable property in the Land Registry: 66 EUR.

Electronic submission of the proposal for preliminary decision on the permission of registration of immovable property in the Land Registry: € 33.

For a preliminary decision on the proposal of registration of immovable property in the Land Registry requiring an urgent decision on the registration within 15 days: € 265.50.

Electronic submission of the preliminary permission for the registration of immovable property in the Land Registry requiring an urgent decision on the registration within 15 days: € 130. 

Practical advice: When buying real estate and the subsequent drafting of contracts for the transfer of ownership of property, we recommend you use the services of a lawyer, notary or real estate agency. If you require help when buying real estate, we recommend that you do a background check first (eg. On the website of the National Association of Realtors Slovakia).

Notice: We also recommend that before buying a property, you check at the Land Registry via an extract of ownership from its owner and its possible encumbrances. It is also advisable to check whether a given property is not the permanent or temporary residence of a registered individual, whether or not it is a legal person, as their withdrawal could create unnecessary complications in the future.