Croatian Land Register: Changes to the Registration Process

Katarina Anđelković

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As Novi List writes, whether you want to register real estate ownership, a mortgage, or a proposal to delete the mortgage, you must hire a lawyer or a notary public. This will be valid from this Friday, as mandated by the amendments to the Land Registration Act which came into force in November, but the application of the provisions that proposals be submitted exclusively electronically and through a lawyer or notary has been postponed until February 10.

Until now, it was possible to do all that through notaries and lawyers electronically, which made it easier for citizens to submit proposals in cities where they do not live as for this, they would often avoid having to travel hundreds of kilometers.

The new rules mean that everyone will have to do it from Friday. However, when that proposal was in public discussion, the Ministry of Justice and Administration emphasized that it would speed up the process and that hiring a notary or a lawyer would not mean an increase in the price of the service.

Court fee

They pointed out that the court fee for electronic registration is 50 percent cheaper. For example, a land registration proposal will now be 125 kunas (EUR 16.6) instead of 250 kunas (33.2 euros) when citizens go to court themselves.

They added one hundred kunas (13.32 euros) of notary fees to that calculation. In the end, they pointed out that the whole deal of the land registration proposal becomes cheaper by HRK 25 or EUR 3.32.

However, not all court fees are HRK 250; in the end, submitting a proposal and hiring a notary might not become cheaper.

The court fee for most submissions, for example, for registration, for pre-registration, for deletion of registration, for deletion of pre-registration, for entry of execution decision, is HRK 50, i.e., 6.64 euros, and this was the only cost the citizens would pay.

Now the court fee is 3.32 euros, but to carry out the work of, for example, erasing the bank’s mortgage after the loan has been repaid, citizens must hire a notary or a lawyer, and this costs them an additional 13.32 euros, i.e., the proposal to register all submissions now will be ten euros more expensive.

In this particular example, the state waived court fees, and its income will surely decrease on that item, but in the 13.32 euros of the notary cost, there is a quarter of the money that the notary will pass on to the state.

So, for every job done by lawyers or public notaries, the state will collect 2.70 euros and will thus compensate a good part of the money it lost on court fees.

When proposing these changes, the Ministry pointed out that citizens themselves will be able to submit proposals electronically, but only when the conditions are met.

To begin with, the state does not even have reliable registers of its citizens to embark on such a project. Novi List inquired when they are planning the next step, that is, the possibility for citizens to submit a proposal for registration in the land register electronically without an intermediary, and the Ministry of Justice and Administration did not respond.

The question of how much services will become cheaper, according to their calculation, or how much more expensive they will be after the new rules come into force on Friday also remained unanswered.

More work

There will be more work, the Ministry itself admitted in the explanation of the legal changes, for notaries public. They are counting on the fact that citizens will hire them, rather than lawyers, in greater numbers for work on land records.

They stated that with the decision that proposals can exclusively be submitted electronically, citizens’ access to the court would not be limited or hindered because notary public offices are spatially distributed throughout the territory of Croatia.

Citizens will continue to be able to check the status directly at the land registry department, both in the main books and in the document collections.

This means that they will be able to go to the land registry department and get an overview if they cannot or do not want to do it electronically.

In addition, everyone in the e-građani system can still receive an extract from the land register, which serves as a credible and certified document.

However, this was not possible with the proposal submission because the document that is the basis for registration in the land register must be submitted to the court in the original or a certified copy, and the signature on the private document must be certified.

There is still no possibility of issuing electronic documents on which the signature would be certified, so the conditions for the parties to independently submit proposals electronically have not been met.

Electronic submission of proposals for registration in the Croatian land register by lawyers and notaries public began in 2017, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of submitted proposals electronically exceeded 50 percent of all submitted proposals.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.


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