New legislation on Warsaw properties

Oct 10, 2016 | Insight

When the Second World War ended in 1945, Warsaw was in ruins. The new communist government introduced the 1945 Warsaw Land Decree (1945 Decree), which seized all the real estate within the borders of Warsaw at that time. After the fall of communism in Poland, there was no regulation solving such matters until recently when the Polish Parliament introduced a new set of rules to solve the situation once and for all.

Law of 25 June 2015 was published on 17 August 2016 – it will enter into force after 30 days from publication (17 September 2016). After that, the law will apply to all restitution proceedings.

Important changes

A former owner of a property nationalized under the 1945 Decree who lost the right to compensation may have his (or her) former property restituted if he (or she) or his (or her) legal successor applied for a perpetual usufruct right to the estate prior 31 December 1988.

A governmental entity may deny an application for a perpetual usufruct right to an estate taken under the 1945 Decree not only due to reasons established in the Decree, but also due to the following circumstances: (i) the estate is used or intended to be used for a public purpose; (ii) the property has been sold or given into a perpetual usufruct to a third party; (iii) a building was erected by the state on the property after the 1945 Decree; (iv) the building seized under the 1945 Decree was rebuilt or repaired with use of public funds if damaged more than 66% in the second world war; or (v) impossibility to subdivide the property in accordance with current laws.

A governmental entity may halt the proceedings regarding applications filed under the 1945 Decree if it is impossible to establish the parties or their addresses or the restitution case.

Polish State Treasury and Warsaw municipality enjoy pre-emptive rights to rights and claims under the 1945 Decree being sold. The pre-emptive rights does not apply to the transactions reported in the proceedings before the new piece of legislation enters into force.