Buying a house in Belarus by a foreign citizen
In the last 2 years, we have received a large number of requests from foreign citizens regarding the purchase of residential real estate in the Republic of Belarus – an apartment or a residential building. In this article, we will consider the issues of buying residential real estate in Belarus, namely, houses, and we will also tell you what rights the owner has, which gives the purchase of a house in Belarus to a foreigner.
Property rights of foreigners in Belarus
Article 12 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the Republic of Belarus” determines that foreign citizens in the Republic of Belarus have property rights, including:
- the right to own property;
- the right to bequeath property;
- the right to inherit property;
- other property rights in accordance with the law.
The right of ownership of property means the general civil right of the owner (in this case, a foreign citizen) to own, use and dispose of the property belonging to him.
Under “property” in this case, the Law means both movable (cars, household appliances, professional tools, etc.) and immovable property. The concept of “real estate” includes, among other things, a residential building.
Thus, the Belarusian legislation clearly establishes that foreign citizens can own residential buildings in Belarus in private ownership, and, consequently, make transactions with them, in particular, conclude contracts for the sale of residential buildings.
The most common cases today are the purchase of residential buildings in Belarus by citizens of many countries of the world. In Belarus, foreigners are attracted by the legally protected secrecy of the purchase and ownership of real estate by a foreigner. Thus, the fact of real estate acquisition is confidential.
Citizens of foreign countries buy houses in the Republic of Belarus both for permanent or temporary residence, and for doing business or renting a house.
The procedure for buying a residential building in Belarus by a foreigner
Conclusion of a transaction for the sale of a residential building
When buying a residential building by a foreign citizen from a citizen of Belarus, the parties must conclude a contract of sale. To do this, they need to contact one of the following authorities:
- to a notary in a notary’s office or a notary’s office;
- to the registrar of real estate in the territorial agency for registration of real estate transactions.
Previously, the legislation required the conclusion of a contract for the sale of a residential building located in the city of Minsk, only on a territorial basis, i.e. exclusively in the notary’s office of the district of the city where the house is located. Currently, you can contact any notary in Minsk if the residential building is located in the capital.
List of documents to be submitted to a notary or registrar
A foreign citizen, or a buyer, when concluding a contract for the sale of a residential building, must provide a notary or registrar with:
- your passport;
- certified translation of the passport into Russian (if the passport is in a foreign language);
- power of attorney (when concluding a transaction through a representative).
If the buyer is a foreign legal entity, then the title documents of the company (certificate of state registration, constituent documents, etc.) must also be presented.
Payment of the tariff for the certificate of the contract of sale
For certification of the contract for the sale of a residential building, the parties must pay a notary fee or a state fee when registering the contract with the territorial agency for state registration of real estate, rights to it and transactions with it.
In accordance with the rates of notarial fees approved by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, the certification and drafting of a contract for the sale of a residential building between close relatives will cost 96 Belarusian rubles, and between other persons – 216 Belarusian rubles.
Registration of a residential building in the ownership of a foreign citizen
After notarization of the contract for the sale of a residential building, it is necessary to register the ownership of it in the name of the buyer – a foreign citizen.
To do this, you should come to the territorial body for state registration of real estate with a package of documents. After the registrar has completed all the necessary actions, the foreigner will be issued a certificate of ownership of the residential building, as well as a technical passport of the residential building indicating its address, area, technical characteristics, etc.
At the same time, it should be taken into account that the land plot on which the residential building is located will not be owned by a foreigner, but on a leasehold basis, since foreigners cannot have the right to own land in Belarus, except as provided by law.
Tax rules when buying a residential building in Belarus by a foreigner
The Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus does not contain the obligation of foreign citizens to pay tax when buying real estate. This also applies to buying a house.
In addition, there are no provisions in the legislation on the obligation of foreign citizens to pay tax when buying a second and subsequent real estate objects.
In this regard, buying a house in Belarus by a foreigner is an attractive option for investing money.
Obtaining a temporary residence permit when a foreigner buys a residential house in Belarus
The legislator establishes that one of the grounds for a foreigner to obtain a temporary residence permit in Belarus is the possession of real estate.
Thus, if a foreigner buys a residential building in Belarus, registers it in the territorial agency for registration of real estate and transactions with it in his own name, then he can be issued a temporary residence permit for a period of 1 year in Belarus with subsequent extension.
At the same time, it should be taken into account that the law does not give the right to obtain a residence permit when buying a commercial real estate in Belarus (except if a foreigner has spent more than 150,000 euros on it).
If a foreigner has become the owner of a residential building, he has the right to obtain a temporary residence permit in Belarus not only for himself, but also for his family members.
Payment of utilities for living in a residential building by a foreign citizen
Preferential tariffs for payment of housing and communal services are provided only for citizens of Belarus. Consequently, a foreigner who has bought a house in Belarus must pay utility bills at economically justified rates, that is, in the amount of 100%.
If a foreigner rents out a residential building, then the persons registered in it will also pay for housing and communal services in full.
In addition, able-bodied citizens of Belarus who went abroad before March 1, 2022 and are not on the territory of the Belarusian state are also required to pay housing and communal services in the amount of 100%.
Legal consequences in case of death of a foreign citizen
In the event of the death of a foreign citizen, the residential building acquired by him passes to his heirs.
The question arises as to the legislation of which state will regulate the order of inheritance.
Article 1134 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus establishes that if the property is located on the territory of Belarus, then Belarusian legislation applies to the procedure for its inheritance.
Thus, after the death of a foreigner, his heirs will inherit the residential building by law or by will according to the general rules of the civil legislation of Belarus.
Gifting a house to a foreign citizen
A foreign citizen can act as a donee when donating real estate, however, there are some peculiarities in relation to a residential building. Since, according to the norms of the Code of the Republic of Belarus on land, land plots cannot be owned by foreign citizens on the basis of alienation agreements, therefore, donating a residential house to a foreign citizen with a land plot is prohibited.
In this case, a land plot may be held by a foreign citizen on a leasehold basis. Thus, when donating a residential building, a foreigner becomes the owner of the residential building and the tenant of the land plot on which it is located.
The right of a foreign citizen to a share in the ownership of a residential building
The legislator does not restrict the right of a foreign citizen to own a share of a residential building. However, in this case, the issue of land arises, since it cannot be owned by foreigners (with the exception of inheritance).
Thus, in order to sell a part of a house to a foreigner, it is necessary to document the part of the land plot on which this part of the house is located. Consequently, the foreigner will have a share in the ownership of the residential building and the right to lease the allocated part of the land plot on which the house is located.
Inheritance of a residential building in Belarus by a foreigner
When inheriting a residential building by a foreigner, if the property is located on the territory of Belarus, the rules on inheritance established by the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus apply.
Thus, a residential building can be transferred to a foreigner for two reasons:
- by right of succession by law;
- by will.
For example, a mother, a citizen of Belarus, who owned a house, died. Her daughter lives outside of Belarus and has received foreign citizenship. The daughter will be called to inherit after the death of her mother as the heiress of the first line. The heirs of the first stage, except for children, include the parents and spouse of the testator.
Let’s take another example. Grandmother, a citizen of Belarus, bequeathed the house to her grandson, who received German citizenship. He will be called to inherit by will after the death of the grandmother, even if she has legal heirs.
Thus, testamentary heirs take precedence over statutory heirs, that is, statutory inheritance takes place if the deceased did not leave a will.
The Code of the Republic of Belarus on Land determines that when a land plot is inherited, it becomes the property of a foreign citizen. Thus, a land plot can become the property of a foreigner only by way of inheritance, while the property itself, i.e. a residential building passes into his ownership both after inheritance and after the conclusion of a contract of sale.
Reconstruction of a residential building in Belarus by a foreigner
If a foreign citizen bought a residential building in Belarus and formalized the right of ownership to it, then he can use and dispose of the house as a full-fledged owner of real estate.
Consequently, Belarusian legislation does not establish restrictions on the repair or reconstruction of a residential building by a foreigner. Reconstruction is carried out according to the general rules when performing the following actions:
- taking a written notarized consent of all co-owners of a residential building, as well as adult citizens registered in it, for reconstruction;
- appeals to the design organization for the preparation of a reconstruction plan;
- carrying out work on the reconstruction of a residential building;
- applying to the territorial organization for registration of real estate for the production of a new technical passport for a residential building.
Thus, the purchase of a residential building in Belarus by a foreign citizen is carried out according to the general rules of the law, but with some peculiarities. Thus, a foreign citizen cannot own a land plot (except in cases of inheritance), but has the right to rent it.
To complete a sale and purchase transaction, a foreigner must provide a notarized translation of the passport, if it is not in Russian. If a foreigner does not speak any of the state languages of Belarus, he must bring to the notary a translator who has an appropriate diploma or is included in the register of translators at the territorial notary chamber.
How can we help you
Our lawyers have extensive experience in supporting real estate purchase and sale transactions, including residential real estate. As a rule, we provide a whole range of services – from supporting the purchase of real estate, to obtaining temporary residence permits for the owner and his family members.
You can contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +375173550355.