The Act on the Expropriation of Land and Buildings and on the Enforcement of Restrictions on the Right to Property

Tuesday 19 December 2017 - 15u39

Expropriation represent a legal construct based on an exceptional authoritative intervention into property law. The Constitution of the Slovak Republic guarantees the right to own property as basic human right. The expropriation or forced restriction of the right of ownership is only possible to the extent necessary and in the public interest, on the basis of law and for a reasonable compensation. The Constitution of the SR refers thereto to the Act No. 282/2015 Coll. on the Expropriation of Land and Buildings and on the Enforcement of Restrictions on the Right to Property as amended (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") that entered into force on the 1st of July 2016.

The substantive law

The subject-matter of the Act is a deprivation of the right to property, a limitation of the ownership right to lands or buildings, an establishment, a restriction, a cancellation of the right corresponding with the encumbrances, a limitation, or a cancellation of the third persons' rights to lands or buildings if necessary for carrying out a construction or measures to the extent necessary, in the public interest and for the purpose of the special statutes and for an adequate compensation.

The conditions of expropriation under the Act, which are also regulated by the Constitution of the SR and the Civil Code, must be met. The Act, in addition to these conditions, specifically requires that the expropriation´s purpose can not be reached by agreement.

The compensation for expropriation may be possible in two basic forms. Preferably, an alternative land or building shall be provided if the person concerned agrees. Otherwise, the financial compensation shall be provided. Compensation for material loss must be reasonable and equivalent in order to enable an acquisition of a similar land or building.

The expropriation authority is the district office in the regional office, where the pertinent property is located, and the appellate body is the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic.

The procedural law

Before the expropriation of a property takes place, an expropriator shall submit to a person concerned a written proposal in order to conclude an agreement on an acquisition of the right to property or other restrictions of this right. The expropriator also proposes compensation for acquiring, restricting or cancelling the right to property. The public interest shall be sufficiently justified as it is an intervention with the one´s right to property. The expropriator shall stress out in this proposal that by failure to reply within 90 days after the delivery of the proposal or failure to conclude the agreement, the property may be the subject of the expropriation.

The expropriation proceeding may begin only after an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement by written proposal of the expropriator. Such a proposal must be in compliance with the statutory requirements and contain required annexes. The expropriation proceeding can not be initiated ex officio. The expropriation authority shall inform on the initiation of such proceeding on its official notice board and website and at the same it shall order an oral hearing at which parties concerned may raise objections.

The expropriation authority may decide to refuse the motion, to stop the proceeding or to rule in favour of expropriation. The motion shall be refused if legal conditions for expropriation were not met. In such a case, the person concerned is entitled to claim damages and all reasonable expenses. The Act sets out exhaustive reasons when the proceeding shall be stopped, such as a withdrawal of the motion by the expropriator (the person concerned is entitled to claim damages and all reasonable expenses), or an agreement between the expropriator and person concerned. Finally, if the conditions of expropriation are met, the expropriation authority issues a decision on expropriation, as well as a compensation for expropriation.

When the expropriation decision becomes valid, the expropriator´s ownership of the lands or buildings is acquired or the right corresponding with the encumbrances (such as liens) is established, restricted or terminated in the expropriator's favour, or other rights to lands or buildings, such as an option to purchase, are restricted or terminated in the expropriator's favour, or other measures are taken on land and buildings.

Author: Peter Cúth