Poland The north of Poland, stretching to the Baltic Sea, consists almost entirely of lowlands, while the Carpathian Mountains (including the Tatra range) form the southern border. The Masuria region forms the largest and most-visited Lake District in Poland.

A foreigner may purchase property only after receiving permission from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (after approved by the Ministry of Defence and, in the case of farmland, after receipt of approval from the Minister of Agriculture).

From the day of accession to the EU (1 May 2004), foreigners who are citizens or entrepreneurs of the EEC countries do not need permission to purchase property.

Poland in the EU includes links to polish government sites and tourist information.

Exceptions to the above are:
1) Farms and woodlands: Permission is required during the first 12 years from the date of Poland's accession to the EU. However, permission is not required if several conditions are fulfilled: if the person who wants to purchase the real estate is a leaseholder over a defined period (7 years for western regions of Poland and 3 years for the remainder and if the leaseholder personally conducts agricultural activities and lives legally in Poland
2) Second House: Permission is required during the first 5 years from the date of Poland's accession to the EU (however, permission is not required if a foreigner lives legally and continuously in Poland for 4 years or if he purchases a "second house" in order to conduct business activities in tourism services

If you are from the EU you do not need a permit unless you are buying farmland, woodland or a second property. For farmland or woodland you do not need a permit if you can prove long term "Bonds with the Republic of Poland". This may be, for example, if you have been renting farmland and using it for agricultural purposes for several years. In other words you are an active person in Poland! You also do not need a permit for your second property as long as it will be used for tourist purposes - e.g. a bed and breakfast, etc.

The Legal Process: This is conducted by a notary in Poland. The estate agents job is to obtain all the relevant documents concerning the property of the current transaction and then delivering them to the notary. A meeting is then arranged with all parties present, vendor, buyer, solicitors, agents and of course the notary. A contract of purchase will have been drawn up which the notary will read aloud to all those present. Any ambiguities are clarified and the notary ascertains that there are no outstanding debts on the property that have not been revealed previously, and that all facts about the property are correct.

Once the contracts have been signed by the vendor, buyer and the notary a 2% purchase tax becomes payable to the Polish government. The purchase is written into the Land register and the local council informed so that they can invoice you for the council tax.

Solicitors: Choosing the right Polish solicitor to ensure your transaction is handled thoroughly and professionally is essential. Poland is the one place that purchasers should certainly avoid cutting costs and focus purely on the level of service from well qualified and experienced staff.

It is now possible to request quotes and ask legally related questions direct to English speaking solicitors. Legal documentation will be in Polish but if you pick the right solicitor, then they will provide a copy in English for you. However the polish copy will be the legal one.

Fees/Costs: Please note the costs below are approximate and will vary depending on the exchange rate and the area in which you buy or the solicitor/agent that you use.
Agency Fees are charged to both the seller and the buyer. As a buyer you will usually pay about 3 percent of the purchase price (+22% VAT) but this varies so check with the estate agent first.
Solicitor Fees about 150 GBP or 1 percent on transactions over 9,000 GBP. You will also need to pay VAT (22 percent) on these fees.
Taxes  2% percent of the sale price
Court Fee for registering the property in your name, approx 500 PLN.
Resale Tax Be aware that there is a 10% tax on a property that is resold within five years unless the proceeds are invested in another Polish property

Buy to Let: The landlord is expected to pay for common costs (maintenance, security, etc.), insurance, the management agentís fee and local property taxes. Rent collected must be declared as income and is liable for income tax although the percentage can be reduced by purchasing the property as a company. Due to the excellent yields on offer, and the potential for further capital gain, an increasing number of foreign buyers are looking to invest in Polish property and rent it out.

 

Check what is included: Many foreign buyers are in for a big culture shock when they view an apartment that looks fairly normal but when they come to take possession of it and find the bath, toilet, sink, kitchen and maybe even the door handles are not there. In Poland fixtures and fittings agreements during a sale are all important and they should list literally everything, bolted down or not, that you expect to find when the sale completes. There is a logical reason for this. The top of any chain usually involves someone who has bought their own house or is moving into a new development. Most new developments are sold as shells and obviously if a person has built their own house there are no fittings. So if it works, the sockets and so on, they will take it. Buyers in Poland know this and so as you go down the chain you find everyone is taking their own kitchens and bathrooms except for you! Make sure when you are viewing a property what is included and what will cost extra. A seller may, for example, agree to sell you the toilet, bath and bathroom sink for an extra charge or he may state that it is included but always check and ensure you have signed documentation to this effect.

Central Heating and Hot Water: There are two types of central heating in Poland, private and town or estate heating. Private heating is your own gas or electric boiler as elsewhere all over Europe. Town or estate heating is different. In this situation the town or development will have one boiler which provides heating through a network of underground pipes direct to the radiators and hot taps of the property. This second system has a number of advantages. It is often cheaper and you don't have to have a boiler in the house with the associated reliability and maintenance issues. Hot water is also distributed the same way in these towns or estates. This means when viewing you may see radiators and feel hot water but you cannot see or hear a boiler anywhere. This isn't strange, the boiler is just some distance away and you need to ensure which type the property has.

Loans/Mortgages: It is now possible for foreign buyers to request quotes and compare products from Polish banks. It is especially recommended that you use a Polish bank when buying off plan on new developments as they are familiar with the staged payment method often required between exchange and completion.

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Disclaimer: This guide is for information only and should not be relied upon as definitive. Details have been obtained from various sources and although we have done everything possible to ensure that it is correct, we cannot accept responsibility for it or guarantee its accuracy. This is because processes and laws change frequently, and may also vary dependant upon personal circumstances. You are welcome to use the information provided, but should always obtain confirmation of specific details and get independent specialist and legal advice in the country that the information refers to.

28-10-2009