Are foreigners able to buy land in Lithuania after the end of the transitional period?

  • 2011-07-20
  • By Donata Pundinaitė, Associate Lawyer

ECOVIS Miškinis, Kvainauskas ir partneriai advokatų kontora

The amendment to the constitutional law on the subjects, procedures, terms and conditions and restrictions of the acquisition into ownership of land plots, provided for in paragraph 2 of article 47 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, was passed to protect Lithuanian landowners from competition with foreigners.

The Constitutional law declared that foreign subjects, with the exception of those foreigners who have been permanently living and engaging in agricultural activities in Lithuania for at least three years, and foreign legal persons and other foreign organizations which have set up representative offices or branches, may not acquire agricultural land and forestry land before the end of a 7-year transitional period defined in the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Lithuania to the European Union. This restriction expired April 30, 2011 and had to unify the legal status of the foreigners and citizens of the Republic of Lithuania. But the Republic of Lithuania received the consent of the European Commission to prolong the term of restriction until April 30, 2014.

The situation was such that there was no Lithuanian law to control this condition and the consent of the European Commission does not look like law. Indistinctness appeared and the problem was solved by a resolution of the Lithuanian Seimas, that prolonged the term to April 30, 2014. According to the law system, fixed on the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, this resolution is recommendatory, not obligatory, law, so the discussion about applicability of this prolongation could arise. To avoid misunderstandings, a better way would be to modify the constitutional law. The modification of the law could clearly ascertain the position of the foreigners and would help to evade possible judicial discussions.