Selling property in Ukraine remotely: "pitfalls" that may await when selling an apartment or house

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When a property owner is abroad due to military actions, a range of issues arise concerning the management of their real estate. These issues cover all aspects, from maintenance to remote document processing when necessary, as well as the ability to conduct transactions such as sales, rentals, or inheritance. For instance, if a property owner decides to sell their property and needs to process the documents accordingly, it can be challenging. Sometimes, it's even impossible to resolve this remotely without specialized assistance, which involves the need to process all documents and submit all necessary applications.

The most problematic aspects that many clients may encounter when selling property while abroad include the following:

  • Properly drafting a power of attorney and obtaining consent from the other spouse.
  • Legalizing and notarizing documents abroad, and coordinating the text with a notary to avoid repeated shipments and reprocessing.
  • Deregistering individuals residing in the sold residential properties. This often concerns not only minors but also men of conscription age and military personnel.

It's important to note the growing incidence of fraudulent activities involving real estate during times of war, which significantly increase the risk of losing property altogether. When considering all these challenges associated with managing real estate remotely or selling property from abroad in Ukraine, the necessity of engaging legal representation becomes clear. However, to ensure that your representative acts solely in your best interests, we recommend turning to trusted legal professionals. Our company boasts an impeccable reputation and has been providing legal services, including comprehensive support for real estate transactions, for over 14 years. We are well-versed in all legal requirements regarding property transactions and can offer turnkey legal support for your real estate deal, ensuring confidence in every step.

Today, we invite you to delve deeper into the issues mentioned above, as they are the most common challenges faced by clients seeking to sell property in Ukraine while residing abroad.

You may also like: What Should Property Owners Do with Real Estate in Ukraine During War While Abroad?

Remote Sale of Real Estate: Legalization and Notarization of Documents Abroad

Apostille and legalization of documents are procedures necessary for recognizing documents issued abroad in Ukraine. Many questions arise regarding:

  • Where should the power of attorney be notarized - by a notary or at the consulate?
  • When is apostilling the power of attorney sufficient, and in which cases is legalization needed?
  • Who should register the power of attorney?

The answers to these questions depend on the country of residence and international treaties ratified by Ukraine. An apostille is placed on documents issued by countries that are parties to the Hague Convention on the legalization of documents. This means that if a document is issued in a convention member country, an apostille is required for its recognition in Ukraine. Legalization of a power of attorney is required if the document is issued by a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention. This procedure involves authenticating the document with the signature and seal of a Ukrainian consular office in the country where the power of attorney was issued.

You may also like: Buying and Selling Real Estate in Ukraine: Procedure, Stages, Documents

Sale of Property Owned Jointly by Spouses

Selling property jointly owned by spouses requires the consent of the other spouse, which must be provided in writing and notarized. It's important to note that we notarize the consent itself as a unilateral transaction, rather than certifying the authenticity of the signature of the person giving consent. This consent can be notarized either at a consulate or by a notary in a foreign country. Depending on the country of residence, the document may need to undergo either full legalization or only apostillation.

When handling transactions for the disposal of real estate by one spouse, requiring the consent of the other spouse, we provide a template for the Consent to Sell Property for execution abroad. If both spouses are outside of Ukraine and the property owner is abroad, they may grant power of attorney to a third party for the sale of the real estate. While the legal validity period of such powers of attorney is currently not specified by law, at the onset of martial law, the validity period was set at 2 months.

Removing Registered Individuals from Property Being Sold

One common issue we encounter before finalizing property sale transactions is the removal of individuals registered at the seller's residence. Due to changes in registration and deregistration procedures, the property owner can perform these actions independently, without the consent of the registered individuals or a court decision. Regarding the deregistration of minors, the property owner can deregister the parents or one of them. Consequently, children are automatically deregistered along with their parents or one of them. However, if the property owner is the father or mother of the child, they cannot deregister them. There is also a prohibition on deregistering other co-owners.

This issue is particularly relevant for conscripted individuals who cannot deregister without visiting the Military Commissariat. In practice, registration authorities sometimes refuse the property owner's request to deregister individuals from their declared/registered residence, citing the lack of permission from the Military Commissariat. However, this is illegal, as there is an exhaustive list of grounds for the registration authority to refuse deregistration.

If you are abroad and require resolution of important and urgent real estate matters, we are ready to assist you! Over the past year, our lawyers have successfully resolved over 40 cases of remote property sales, handled a wide range of practical tasks aimed at mitigating potential risks, and addressed clients' non-standard requests.

Contact us for professional and reliable legal support from anywhere in the world. Learn more about our real estate services here.

Publication date: 02/02/2024

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