Invest in Latvia is the question (in response to TBT issue no. 710, July 8, Investors look for prime properties)? I will advise any C.I.S. country and any other persons to be very, very cautious when doing any property investments in Latvia. Why??? In 2006 a friend put a consortium together and proposed the purchase of a tract of land on the outskirts of Riga. The five Irish investors purchased the land for just over 5 million euros. The land was already allocated for housing development. The appointed architect instructed a topographic survey to be done. It was established that the entire piece of land was below flood level and thus not suitable for any development of any nature. It was even considered unsuitable for a caravan park!
Be very careful…. I relocated from Ireland to Latvia in 2005. I looked to purchase a farm to establish an eco-tourism business, namely, Latvian horse trail rides. I was advised that as a non-Latvian citizen, I was not permitted to purchase any rural land. The only loop-hole was to register a Ltd. company (SIA) and purchase a 99-year lease on the property. [In] the following 4 years I attracted many foreigners to enjoy my riding holidays. A few were interested in investing into my concern. This became impossible, as I was a tenant, not an owner. Even if I wanted to, I could never even raise a mortgage against the property.
Now I see the government’s trick. Give 5 years Latvian Citizenship. This will allow those investors to purchase land. I fail to understand… I, as a European Union citizen, was prohibited from land ownership by the Latvian government making a special application to Brussels when joining as an EU member state. I understand this law is still in force. Then why make special concessions to C.I.S countries????? I am aware that many are afraid of personal repercussions from newspaper comments and thus, I will be happy to receive any comments directly; firstname.lastname@example.org.