The Law consists of 33 articles and is divided into four Chapters: General provisions (1); The Citizens' land (2); Lands belonging to the State, municipalities, cooperative farms and other legal persons (3); and Land property authorities (4).The Law regulates the ownership and use of agricultural lands. With the exception of game reserves and other nature protected areas with national and international significance, ownership is returned to owners whose land was taken under the April 1946 Law of landownership. Agricultural land shall be the property of citizens, the State, municipalities, cooperative enterprises and other legal persons. Political parties and other bodies with a political aim shall, foreign countries, foreign legal persons and legal persons with foreign legal participation shall not be able to own agricultural lands. Foreign nationals and Bulgarian nationals permanently residing abroad can only acquire agricultural lands through inheritence, but are obliged to transfer the lands to persons that are eligible for permanent ownership within a period of three years (art. 3). The use of agricultural lands is restricted to its intended purpose in a way that preserves the soil's fertility, in accordance with sanitary-hygienic standards, fire regulations and ecological norms (art. 4). The Law prescribes a size ceiling of 300 decares for plots of land owned by single households (200 decares for regions with intensive agriculture) (art. 6). On selling agricultural land, priority shall be given to (1) spouses and next of kin, (2) family up to the fourth degree, (3) lease-holders and land-users, (4) owners of neighbouring lands, and (5) the State and municipalities (art. 9).The National Land-Use Council and the Municipal Land Commission are established as land property authorities (art. 31). The National Land Use Council is a body with the Council of Ministers and its members are appointed by the National Assembly on the proposal of the Council of Ministers. Its local counterparts are the Municipal Land Commissions which are similarly appointed by the municipalities (arts. 32 and 33). The Act provides for application, dispute resolution, and appeal procedures for re-establishment of right of landownership, and sets out indemnity provisions. The Act prohibits persons who are given land under this Act from leasing their land for five years. Farmers are exempted from taxation for five years from the effective date. Land user's obligations include protecting land against fire and abiding by all hygienic and ecology regulations. The Act provides for the State's ownership of farming land and specifies the procedure for dispute settlement of land use among the State and other organizations. The Act sets out the procedure for determining and distributing a member's share participation in the property owned in cooperative farms.
Implemented by: Decree No. 74 of 25 April 1991 on rules for the application of the Ownership and Use of Farm Land Act. (1995-05-23)
Amended by: Amendments to ownership and use of farmland act. (1991-03-12)
Amended by: Law on ownership and use of agricultural land. (2011-05-20)
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