How to sell an apartment in Ukraine if the documents for it are lost?

It is not uncommon for real estate documents to be lost, for example, during a move, in a fire, flood, etc., or even lost as a result of theft. 

The loss of original documents on real estate fortunately does not entail the cancellation of ownership rights, but it deprives the owner of the opportunity to dispose of such property on its own consideration, as the seller is obliged to provide the notary with the original documents of title. 

Moreover, the loss of the originals of entitling documents allows third parties to commit fraud by registering such property for themselves, especially if the apartment was acquired/bought long ago and the electronic register contains no record of ownership rights registration.

Today, we will tell you what to do if you lose the documents for the apartment. We will elaborate on several cases, depending on the type of title document lost.

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Steps you should take if your apartment documents are lost

Unfortunately, there is no single state agency authorized to restore lost/stolen/damaged documents of ownership. Thus, you should follow the rule: the body which issued the property document must issue a duplicate (restore it).

For example, let’s analyze a common situation: An apartment was inherited and the documents for it were lost. Of course, the heirs may not know when the documents for the apartment were issued and by which body.

In such a situation, the steps to be taken will be as follows:

  1. You should take an extract from the electronic register of rights in rem to real estate (if the title to real estate was obtained after 2013), or an information certificate from the state Technical Inventory Bureau (if the title to the apartment was registered before 2013). 
  2. Having analyzed the above documents, you will be able to find out when and who registered the title to real estate, and therefore you will be able to apply for a duplicate.

Steps you should take in case of loss of a notarial document for an apartment

If you became the owner of the apartment as a result of its purchase, exchange, received it as a gift or inheritance, that is based on a document certified by a notary - you should apply to the notary who issued the original document. After paying the fees prescribed by law, you will be able to obtain a duplicate of the lost/damaged document. 

For such purposes, when certifying the transaction at a notary, except for a document on a special notary form, you should also sign exactly the same copy on white sheets, which the notary keeps in the case file in the archive. 

There are cases where the notary, who certified the original document of title, ceased its activities, and you simply have nowhere to apply for a duplicate. The notaries who terminate their activity (regardless of the reasons, be it their own will, retirement, change of the workplace (notarial district), death) shall transfer all the materials of their notarial files for further storage to the respective notarial archive. So if the notary doesn’t work anymore, apply to the respective archive of notaries.

A duplicate notary document is also issued on a special notary form and has the same legal effect as the lost/damaged/stolen original. 

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Steps you should take in case of loss of a court decision as a property document

In addition to notarial documents, ownership rights may be confirmed by a court decision, such as division of property by spouses, recognition of ownership rights to an inheritance, etc. If such a court decision is lost, you must contact the court of first instance that issued the decision in order to obtain its copy. 

Even if the court case has passed both appeal and cassation instance - its materials are returned to the court of the first instance, and only it is entitled to issue a copy of the decision. Do not worry, if the court case was heard a very long time ago. Even if the period of storage of materials of the court case has already expired, and it was destroyed - the decisions remain valid, and are stored indefinitely in the archive. The copy of the court decision shall be marked on the fact that it has entered into legal force. 

Steps you should take in case of loss of the certificate of ownership (privatization) 

Ownership certificates in case of privatization are issued by the local executive authorities. Accordingly, they can restore lost/damaged/stolen certificates of ownership. 

In order to obtain a duplicate, you must apply to the relevant local executive authority through the Administrative Services Center (ASC) with an application and a package of documents.

In practice, the body that issued the original document may be dissolved/reorganized/liquidated, etc. and no longer exists, and the documents were not transferred to the local executive authorities and are missing in the archives. In this case, you should obtain a refusal letter to issue a duplicate certificate of ownership due to its absence in the archives and apply to the state registrar or a private notary for registration of ownership rights in the state electronic registry without the title document.

Registration of a duplicate in the registry to complete the procedure 

The document, confirming the right of ownership to the apartment, will be a duplicate of the document from the date of its receipt. But obtaining a duplicate is only half of the procedure for restoring the property documents.

The duplicate must be registered in the state electronic registry, which will specify that the ownership right to the apartment belongs to the owner on the basis of the duplicate.

Property registration without a title document

The registration may be conducted without a duplicate document, but such a procedure involves obtaining a number of other documents. Thus, you will need to provide the registrar with the following set of documents:

  1. Letter of refusal to issue a duplicate certificate of title due to its absence in the archive to the application for a duplicate certificate of title;
  2. Original passports and taxpayer identification numbers (TIN) of all co-owners of the apartment over 16 years old;
  3. Original birth certificates and TINs of all homeowners under 16;
  4. Information certificate from the Technical Inventory Bureau or extract from the State Register of Proprietary Rights, depending on the period the apartment was purchased - before or after 2013;
  5. A response from the police about the loss/theft of the original title to the apartment;
  6. A copy of a print media publication with a published announcement about the loss of the original ownership certificate (this announcement must be filed in advance).   

Of course, the restoration of lost documents requires, first, an understanding of the procedure for certain property documents, and secondly, a sufficient amount of time and effort to go to state agencies.

Our company offers you:

  • Legal consultation on the procedure, terms and cost of restoration of property documents in your situation;
  • Project Road Map - a step-by-step guide, which you can use for independent restoration of the documents;
  • Legal support of the procedure for restoring the property documents at any instances;
  • Assistance with the registration of a duplicate document in the registry.

Please check the cost of our services on the service page or with our specialists.

Do you need assistance in restoring lost apartment documents? Don’t hesitate to contact us! We provide professional legal assistance for any type of real estate transactions in Ukraine.

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Publication date: 26/01/2022

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