How to check property ownership?

Šime Unić

When we decide to buy an apartment or a house, we often think that we are only buying a physical object. However, what we are actually acquiring is real estate or, more precisely, parcel - a certain piece of land with what is permanently connected to it, either on the surface or below it. This is the definition provided by Art. 2, paragraph 3 of the Law on Property and Other Real Rights. Find out why and how to check real estate ownership and the importance of land registers in the context of real estate ownership in Croatia.

Land registers are the basis of legal certainty

If we take a closer look at the definition of a parcel from the Law on Ownership and Other Real Rights, it is evident that by purchasing real estate you are not only acquiring a building, but also a piece of land on which that building may (or may not) be located. Geographically, the territory of the Republic of Croatia is divided by a series of lines that form different shapes, similar to a grid on drawing paper. Through the Uređena zemlja portal, by entering the name of a street or part of the city, you can see what these particles really look like. They are marked with yellow lines, have their own numbers and specific names.

Land registers are a key institution in Croatia that guarantees legal certainty of ownership of these parcels or real estate. They are publicly available, allowing anyone to view and request a land registry extract for any property. This approach enables transparency and clarity in transactions, inheritance or any other legal business involving real estate. In the world of real estate, understanding land records is essential for safe and transparent property management.

Each municipal court has a special land registry department where land records are kept. They include data on the legal status of real estate that is relevant for legal transactions, as well as real rights over these real estates, such as ownership rights, construction rights, liens and easements. Land registers ensure that any property that exists in reality, with clearly defined boundaries and boundaries, is properly registered. This ensures that each real estate owner knows exactly what belongs to him and where the boundaries of his real estate are not only in reality, but also in the legal sense.

One of the key pieces of information to remember is that ownership of real estate is acquired exclusively through registration in the land register. If you are the owner of the property, but you are not registered in the land register, your rights as an owner are not officially recognized. In order to register ownership, a legal basis is required, such as a contract for the sale of real estate, a decision on inheritance or a court ruling.

Title deed and its parts

The title deed is a key document related to real estate in Croatia. It is a legal certificate of real estate ownership and can be understood as a real estate identity card. The title deed not only confirms ownership of the property, but also contains other important information:

Property description: Contains data on the type of property (e.g. land, house, apartment) and its physical characteristics.

Information about the owner: In addition to the name and surname of the owner, it may also contain other identification information.

Ownership History: Provides information about the property's previous owners, which can be useful for understanding the property's legal history.

Rights and encumbrances: Shows any rights of third parties on the property, such as mortgages, pledges or easements.

Entries and notes: These parts of the title deed may contain additional information or notes related to the property.

The title deed consists of three main parts:

Property register: This section contains descriptions of real estate according to cadastral data. Information on the type of real estate (land, house, apartment), its location, area, and similar physical data is listed here.

Title deed: This part of the title deed contains information about the owners of the property. In addition to the owner's name and surname, the shares of individual owners in the property and the legal basis for acquiring ownership (eg sales contract, inheritance) are listed here.

Bill of lading: The bill of lading lists all rights of third parties on the real estate, such as mortgages, liens, easements or other encumbrances. Also, notes on possible legal disputes or restrictions related to the property can be found here.

The procedure for registration of ownership rights

Registration of ownership rights in the land register is a key step in ensuring the legal security of ownership of real estate in Croatia. This procedure confirms the legal status of the real estate and serves to protect the owner's rights.

In order to start the process of registration of ownership rights, it is necessary to submit a proposal for registration. This proposal should be in two copies. Along with the proposal for enrollment, it is necessary to attach appropriate documentation that confirms the legal basis for enrollment. It can be an original or a certified copy of a document on a legal transaction (such as a sales contract). It is also necessary to attach proof of the citizenship of the acquirer of ownership rights.

In order to successfully carry out the procedure of registration of ownership rights, it is necessary to pay a certain court fee. In the event that a person is exempt from paying the court fee, it is necessary to attach appropriate proof of this. If the proposal for registering the right of ownership is not submitted within 60 days from the day when the right arose, the fee will be increased. Therefore, it is important to adhere to certain deadlines to avoid additional costs. After all the necessary materials are submitted and the fee is paid, the competent land registry department checks the documentation and makes a decision on the registration of ownership rights.

Land registers are crucial for the legal security of ownership of real estate in Croatia. Whether you are a buyer, seller or just someone who wants to verify the ownership of a certain property, land records are the place to find all the information you need.

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