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The last chance to recover expropriated properties in Poland

Marek Foryś     24 października, 2019

The last chance to recover expropriated properties in Poland

If you, your family or friends lost your real estate in Poland more than 20 years ago, it is still possible to start proceedings for its recovery. Regardless of whether you received compensation or not, the key to recovery is the question if the real estate was used for the purpose of expropriation or not.

If the expropriated real estate has not been used for the purpose of expropriation, its former owners are still entitled to claim recovery in nature, regardless of the date of expropriation.

Pursuant to the last amendments in the Real Estate Management Act of the 21st of August 1997r., former owners of expropriated real estate may start such proceedings by the 14th of May 2020. This date is the first and final limitation period under this Act. Starting from the 15th of May 2020, former owners will be entitled only to claim recovery of real estate expropriated less than 20 years ago.

As a result, all the real estate expropriated by communist government between 1945 and 1989, not used for the expropriation purposes such as building factories, schools or establishing residential areas, will stay forever in the hands of state or local authorities.

In practice many people still have no idea that they are entitled to claim recovery or compensation (when the expropriation decision is declared to have been issued in contravention to the law). It concers mainly those expropriated on the grounds of notary expropriation acts (a purchase agreement between the owner and the state), which was performed based on the expropriation legal acts. Such acts were drawn by state notaries and led to expropriation by the state on a massive scale, without going through full administrative proceedings.

Now it is also the last call for all those who received in the past administrative decisions on discontinuance of the proceedings (such decisions are often in contravention to the law) and those who received negative decisions on real estate recovery, issued under the Real Estate Management and Expropration Act of the 29th of April 1985.

The first step is to analyse the expropriation purpose included in a given decision or a notary expropriation act. This is particularly important as such purpose was not always clearly stated in notary expropriation acts.

It seems now that the most important thing for all those who were expropriated is not to wait until the last call, as there may not be enough time to start the appropriate proceedings.

Marek Foryś
attorney-at-law

 

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