New law could transfer control of unused buildings

Municipalities and private companies may soon get a chance to take over abandoned or empty buildings if a new bill drafted by the Environment Ministry is voted through Parliament.

According to the proposed law, the interested party can go to court to seek control of the property for 50 years. To do so, it must provide evidence that the building is abandoned, obtain a municipal council decision, warn the property owner, and describe the intended use. If the court gives the green light, the new manager must carry out its plan within four years (six years for listed buildings).

If the owner claims he intends to use his property, then the municipality will have the right to ask for guarantees.

Observers express reservations about the bill, saying it infringes on the right to property. Meanwhile, a building qualifies as abandoned if it has not undergone any maintenance for eight years, has not been rented out for one year, and is without electricity.

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