How to check a land plot in Ukraine before buying?

Cost of services:

from 800 USD
Property check
from 800 USD
Land audit
from 1000 USD
2 objects
Check of real estate
Based on 200 reviews in Google

Reviews of our Clients

To determine whether conducting a document audit for a land plot is necessary before making a purchase, it is essential to understand the consequences of not doing so:

  • As a result of a court decision, the land could be taken away from you and returned to its original owner. It's not uncommon for individuals to sell land without proper ownership rights, even though the documents may seem valid and such agreements are notarized.
  • Neglecting to verify the actual physical location of the plot in the cadastre and on the ground (potential boundary issues) could result in legal disputes with neighboring property owners.
  • There's a chance that you might end up acquiring a plot with a smaller area than what is stated in the documents, among other potential discrepancies.
  • It's also possible to purchase a plot with a designated purpose that doesn't align with your intended future use.
  • During the acquisition process, you may discover that the plot cannot be used for certain purposes due to established restrictions, such as easements or protected zones.

These are the most common risks, but there are others as well. We will provide you with information on various methods to verify the land plot, including what and where to check. If you desire complete peace of mind regarding your investment's security, simply reach out to our specialists for this service.

You may also like: How to Start Residential Construction for Sale in Ukraine?

Can you rely solely on the notary's verification when buying land?

One question frequently asked by our clients is, "But what about the notary? Don't they check the documents and refuse to validate the contract if something is wrong?"

While it's true that the notary plays a role in document verification, depending solely on their validation is not a foolproof guarantee of buyer's safety. Many land rights (contracts) obtained through notarized agreements have later been invalidated. It's important to note that this is not due to the notaries' fault, as they typically diligently follow legal regulations when performing notarial acts. Rather, it often arises from the legal unawareness of buyers.

Simply checking the information in government registries is not enough. There are some publicly accessible resources where you can independently verify a land plot, such as the State Register of Real Property Rights (SRRPR) and the State Land Cadastre (SLC).

The SLC allows you to review details like the plot's location, size, boundaries, and designated use. The SRRPR enables you to verify ownership rights, any encumbrances, and the basis of property acquisition.

However, the information obtained should be analyzed in the context of applicable laws. It's crucial to cross-reference all available data and identify any gaps or inaccuracies in the documents. Many land plots have legal issues concerning their documentation.

In such cases, a lawyer examines not only the publicly accessible information but also other factors. They consider the legality of land document registration, the accuracy of document execution, and carefully assess the associated risks.

What documents of the land plot seller should you check?

Among the common documents that confirm the seller's ownership rights to the land plot are:

  • State deed
  • State deed for lifelong hereditary possession (issued from 1990 to 1992)
  • Certificate of inheritance rights
  • Certificate of ownership rights
  • Agreement (purchase and sale, donation, exchange)
  • Extract from the SRRPR

Each document was issued during different time periods, so they have varying names, essential details, and requirements for execution and obtaining them. A thorough analysis is necessary, considering the specific legislative requirements in place at the time of land acquisition. For example, prior to 2010, acquiring ownership rights to a land plot required obtaining a new state deed. From 2010 to 2013, a contract was sufficient as a valid document for establishing property rights.

In summary, it's important to verify not only the existence of the required document, depending on the document issued during the land acquisition, but also its accuracy and proper execution.

You may also like: Land Purchase by Foreign Individuals in Ukraine in 2023

Criteria for assessing land plots that commonly lead to issues

When examining land plots, certain parameters often reveal shortcomings or problems:

  • Verification of the plot's area and location: Discrepancies may arise between the information in the ownership documents and the physical placement of the plot recorded in the State Land Cadastre (SLC).
  • Overlapping boundaries with neighboring plots: Disputes can arise over ownership rights, particularly regarding which party should adjust their plot's boundaries.
  • Frequent changes in ownership or the presence of archival plots: If there is a history of multiple owners or archival records within the SLC, complications may arise.
  • Examination of the land plot's history: Often, discrepancies are found in the documentation, such as changes in ownership or intended use, that do not comply with the legal norms in effect at the time.

The investigation of a plot's history is crucial yet challenging. There are real-life examples where a buyer acquired a plot from a seller who had no right to sell it (e.g., the seller illegally privatized the plot). In such cases, due to a court decision, the "legitimate owner" reclaims the plot, leaving the buyer without both the funds and the land. 

The complexity of this verification lies in the process of gathering all the necessary documents from government institutions. Firstly, not all institutions are willing to provide such information to ordinary citizens. We make attorney requests to state and archival institutions, as well as notary authorities, to extract information from all possible registers.

Secondly, technical obstacles may arise. For instance, land archives could have been damaged by floods or fires.

The absence of plot documents in the archives should raise concerns for the buyer. It could signal the presence of an illegal scheme or the involvement of the plot in a corruption scheme with other plots. In such situations, both prospective buyers and sellers should approach property acquisition in a thoughtful and legal manner, adhering to the laws and prohibitions set by legislation. Times and authorities change, but problematic ownership issues can persist for years.

A lawyer can provide guidance on where to find additional information and assess the associated risks.

Audit of land lease agreements for businesses: Key factors to evaluate.

In addition to offering historical and documentary research services for land plots, we also conduct audits of land lease agreements. 

This is vital to assure tenants that they can confidently plan their economic and financial use of the land without the risk of losing it.

The most common errors we look out for are:

  • Lack of lease registration in the registry.
  • Absence of lease agreements.
  • Omission of essential terms in the agreement that may lead to the contract invalidation.
  • Inadequate documentation of contract amendments.

The main benefits of conducting a legal audit of land plots and associated rights include:

  • Mitigation of Risks. A legal audit plays a crucial role in identifying and addressing potential legal issues and risks associated with a land plot. By conducting such an audit, proactive measures can be taken to resolve and prevent future problems effectively.
  • Enhancement of Value. Through a comprehensive legal audit, any deficiencies or concerns related to property rights pertaining to the land plot can be identified and resolved. This process has the potential to increase the value of the plot for sellers or negotiate a fairer price for buyers considering the identified issues.
  • Building Trust. Engaging in a legal audit for a land plot instills a sense of trust and confidence between the parties involved in the agreement. By addressing potential legal concerns upfront, the likelihood of future conflicts and disputes is minimized, fostering a smoother and more reliable transaction process.

We recently assisted a client who required an audit of a plot intended for construction in the Obukhiv district of Kyiv Oblast. The plot had a favorable configuration, and the seller's documents seemed satisfactory. However, we discovered an issue during our analysis. It turned out that there was a gas pipeline protection zone on the plot, which was not indicated in the topographic survey. 

This finding raised concerns about the client's ability to build their dream home on the purchased plot. Consequently, the client made the decision not to acquire that particular plot and chose an alternative option that met their requirements, saving them both resources and unnecessary stress.

Another example involves the purchase of a commercial space (store) in the Fastiv district, where the property was in the form of a typical retail kiosk (MAF). However, the land plot was under lease. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous registrars to carry out such registrations while local authorities lease out land without conducting proper auctions.

Can you buy such a property? Yes, it's possible. However, it can't be purchased as real estate; instead, it would be considered a regular retail kiosk (MAF). This is because the prosecutor's office deems the lease of such land without conducting auctions to be illegal. They have the authority to file a lawsuit and invalidate the registration of the retail kiosk as real estate, regardless of the statute of limitations. This action can be taken tomorrow or even after 20 years. Conducting a timely audit allowed our client to negotiate the deal in their favor and avoid risking their investment.

If you're planning to acquire a land plot and want to do it with maximum security, we recommend ordering an audit from our team of specialists. 

You can find the cost of a legal audit here.

Our team will handle the entire process, ensuring a smooth and secure transaction for acquiring your desired land plot.

Publication date: 05/04/2023

We are ready to help you!

Contact us by mail [email protected] or by filling out the form: