On May 14, 2019, the bill amending the Act on Real Estate Management entered into force. The amendment introduces a time limit for the possibility of requesting the restitution of the expropriated real estate, if it turned out to be unnecessary for the purpose of this expropriation. The new provisions provide that the right to restitution real estate expires if from the date on which the decision on expropriation became final, 20 years elapsed, and within this period the entitled person did not apply for a refund. These provisions apply accordingly to real estate taken over by the State Treasury or local government units on the basis of an agreement concluded through negotiation preceding the expropriation proceedings.
Current regulations have not provided so far a limitation period for request for restitution. This sometimes led to situations in which property expropriated several dozen years ago had to be returned to heirs because the purpose of expropriation had not been achieved (e.g. no school or road was built in relation to the decision).
Under the new regulations, after 20 years from the date when the expropriation decision became final or from the date of conclusion of the "expropriation contract", previous owners or their heirs will not be able to claim the return of the property, even if the State Treasury or the commune failed to pursue the purpose of appropriation or used the property for other purposes (e.g. construction of garages instead of schools). Importantly, after the twenty-year deadline, the competent authority will not be obliged to notify the previous owner or his heirs about the intention to use the expropriated property for another purpose.
It should be noted that the amendment to the Act on Real Estate Management also stipulates that if the twenty-year deadline for demanding the restitution of the expropriated real estate has already expired before the amendment enters into force (i.e. 14th of May 2019) or less than 12 months remains until the end of that period, the application for the restitution of the real estate may be submitted within 12 months from the date of entry into force of the act, i.e. by 14th of May 2020.
Summing up, the last amendment to the Act on Real Estate Management introduces the final date of May 14, 2020 for the restitution of real estate expropriated before May 14, 1999. If the expropriation of the property occurred after this date, a 20-year limitation period applies.
You want to learn more about the possibility of restitution the expropriated real estate, please feel free to contact our law firm.