Nowadays the real estate market in the Republic of Belarus has become freely accessible for foreigners. Conditions for purchasing apartments or offices are simple and understandable. Property in Belarus is reasonably priced, the real estate market is growing, and the rules governing the acquisition of property have become more enticing for foreign investors each year.
Who can buy property in Belarus?
Any foreign citizen or legal entity can acquire, own and sell property located in Belarus. These proprietary rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus. The law permits owners of property not only to hold the land title but also use the property for commercial purposes and gain profits from it.
Thus, according to article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, foreign citizens and stateless persons have the rights and freedoms to fulfil their duties on an equal basis with Belorussian citizens.
According to article 12 of the law regarding the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Belarus; foreigners can obtain property in ownership, inherit or bequeath it. They may have other property rights in the order established by the legislation of The Republic of Belarus, including international treaties.
The procedure of acquiring property by foreigners is almost identical to that for residents of Belarus. Nevertheless, when buying domestic property, foreigners can only lay claim to structures or buildings and not the land on which they stand. This limitation, however, does not apply to citizens of the Russian Federation. Russian citizens are as free as native Belarusians when purchasing both land and structures. In any case, the acquisition of the building without the right of the land plot is possible.
Documents to buy property in Belarus
The following documents should be submitted to the Local agency of state registration and land Cadastre for registration procedures:
- the application in its completed form, you can find a copy on the website of the Local agency on state registration and land Cadastre for the registration procedure. (for Minsk https://mga.by);
- passport or other identification documents. The foreigner should submit a notarized translation of his passport into Russian or Belorussian;
- documents confirming the foreigner’s legal status in the territory of Belarus (e.g temporary stay or temporary residence permit);
- certificate of state registration of the legal entity (only if the legal entity is a part to a contract);
- passport or other identifying documents for the authorized representative of the legal property. If a company is involved with the selling or purchasing, their representative should bring the employment contracts with them and their respective companies should be submitted, to confirm legal powers. If the representative is acting as a proxy, his power of attorney should be submitted;
- a sale-purchase agreement signed by the Seller and the Buyer three copies. The draft of the sale-purchase contract can be prepared by the Registration Clerk for an additional service fee;
- a receipt, confirming registration fee payment to the Registry.
The Local agency on state registration and land cadastre request a reference of registration with the taxation authority in Belarus. This also applies to a stateless person or a foreign or international legal entity. Duration of the procedure is 7 business days (regular procedure) or 2 business days (expedited procedure).
Taxation of property in Belarus
The real estate tax is paid by foreigners buying any property in Belarus. The annual lands tax rate for businesses is calculated as 1% of the buildings or lands value. The Taxation period for real estate is one calendar year. The real estate tax can be paid once a year in the full amount, no later than March 22nd of that tax year. Alternatively, the lands tax can be paid in quarterly instalments no later than the 22nd day of the third month of that quarterly period. 25% of the 1% land value tax is due to be paid at each quarterly period. The annual tax rate of real estate for individuals is 0,1% following the same principle at businesses. The income tax is paid by the individual who is selling the property.
Commercial real estate can be freely sold to residents, as well as to non-residents of Belarus. It’s worth mentioning that there are a number of restrictions on the acquisition of land plots by non-residents of Belarus. Such restrictions do not cover citizens and legal entities of the Russian Federation. Land usually can be transferred to commercial legal entities, including foreign ones, on the right of a lease. The exception to this is joint-venture companies, where the Belorussian partner is entitled to purchase property in Belarus.