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Amendments brought to the Land law no. 18/1991
  • Law no. 186/2017 for the amendment and completion of the Land law no. 18/2017, published in the Official Gazette no. 598 of 25 July 2017

We have summarized below the main amendments and completions brought by the Law no. 186/2017 (the “Law 186/2017”), with respect to the Land law no. 18/1991 (the “Land Law”).

Entering into force
The provisions of Law 186/2017 became applicable as of 28 July 2017.
General provisions

The new legal provisions mainly regulate with respect to: (i) the approval for changing the category of use of the arable lands; (ii) placing buildings on the agricultural lands located outside the built-up area; (iii) withdrawal from the agricultural circuit of the agricultural lands located outside the built-up area; and (iv) legal steps to be taken in order to comply with the legal framework in the cases of the constructions built (prior to Law 186/2017 entering into force) on agricultural lands without obtaining the due approvals for the withdrawal from the agricultural circuit.

The approval for changing the category of use of the arable lands

As of the entering into force of Law 186/2017, changing the category of use of the arable lands is approved by the specialized body within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for lands of more than 1 ha. For plots of land of less than 1 ha, including the ones having 1 ha, changing the category of use is approved by the specialized agricultural body competent at the county level.

Notwithstanding the above, the individuals who are owners of some agricultural lands of up to 1 ha, including the ones having 1 ha, may change the category of use based on an affidavit. Within 30 days as of the date of such affidavit the owners have to notify the change of the category of use to the city hall of the locality were the land is situated.

At its turn, the city hall are to register the change of the category of use with the agricultural registry. Afterwards, the city hall will issue a document based on which the owner, within 30 days, will request the competent cadaster and land registration office the update of the land book in this respect. In what concerns the lands which are not registered with the land book, the document issued by the city hall will be attached to the application for registration with the land book in order to evidence the current category of use for the respective land.

Placing buildings on the agricultural lands located outside the built-up area

As of the entering into force of Law 186/2017, placing buildings on the agricultural lands located outside the built-up area, regardless of their quality category, is strictly forbidden. The exceptions provided for placing buildings on I-st and II-nd class quality agricultural lands continue to apply.

In addition, the new law provides for a thorough list of constructions (the term used by the law is “investment objective”) which may be placed on III-rd, IV-th and V-th class quality agricultural lands, which may be used as arable lands, as vineyards and orchard, as well as the ones which benefit from land reclamation works, located outside the built-up area.

Withdrawal from the agricultural circuit of the agricultural lands located outside the built-up area

According to Law 186/2017, the temporary withdrawal from the agricultural circuit of the lands for the purpose of placing buildings may be approved for 2 years and implies the payment of half the tax provided by Annex I of Law 186/2017.

The beneficiaries may request the prolongation of the initial term with another 2 years, in which case the beneficiary has to pay the entire tax provided by law.

Upon the expiry of the period of time for which the land was temporary withdrew from the agricultural circuit, the beneficiary may request the approval for the permanent withdrawal from the agricultural circuit, with the payment of half the tax provide by Law 186/2017.

If the beneficiary does not request the permanent withdrawal from the agricultural circuit, he/she has to reintroduce the land in the agricultural circuit (in its initial quality class) within 1 year as of the expiry date of the period of time for which the land was temporary withdrew from the agricultural circuit.

Inter alia, failure to reintroduce the land in the agricultural circuit, upon the expiry date of the period of time for which the land was temporary withdrew from the agricultural circuit, represents minor offence sanctioned with fines from RON 20,000 (for individuals), respectively, RON 40,000 (for legal entities).

Legal steps to be taken in order to comply with the legal framework in the cases of the constructions built on agricultural lands without obtaining the due approvals for the withdrawal from the agricultural circuit

For the buildings constructed before 28 July 2017 on agricultural lands located outside the built-up area, without having the approval for their withdrawal from the agricultural circuit, one may request their withdrawal from the agricultural circuit, until 28 July 2019, provided that three times the tax indicated by the applicable law is paid.

Procedures for applying the new legal provisions

The procedures for (i) the approval for changing the category of use of the agricultural lands located outside the built-up area; (ii) introducing in the agricultural circuit the lands located outside the built-up areas; and (iii) the permanent or temporary withdrawal from the agricultural circuit of the lands located outside the built-up areas, will be approved within 30 days as of the entering into force of the Law 186/2017 by order of the Ministry of agriculture and Rural Development.