6 things to check before buying a land in Belgrade

15 November 2007 - Comments (0) Procedures

6 things to check before buying a land in Belgrade If we could have found a definitive check list of what to do before to buy a land, it would have been a great time saver for us. But there was no such a thing. Giving the complexity of the matter, it's hard to find a person with a broad overview, able to point you in the right direction. So, we compiled that list ourselves, as we would have liked to find it. This list is directly extracted from our experience.

1 - Check if the land is covered by a detailed regulation plan

If you buy a land for building, the first thing to check is whether and what you can build on it. For that, you need to make sure that a detailed regulation plan is done for the area where is the land located. If the detailed regulation plan is not done for the area, you may not be able to build legally at all.

To get the right information you need to go to the Secretariat for Urban Planning and Construction. There, you can submit a formal request or ask verbally about the possibility to build on that land. We wrote a dedicated article on this important point.

Example of detailed regulation plan

Example of detailed regulation plan in Zvezdara (source Belgrade's Land Development Public Agency).

2 - Check the right of use on the land

The seller of the land must get from the municipal office where the land is located, the decision based on article 84 of the Law on Urban Planning and Construction (UPC, Zakon o planiranju i izgradnji, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 47/2003), about his right of use on that constructible land.

That paper will prove that the land is indeed constructible and will list its registered user(s). The seller must be in the list. If the seller is the only registered user, you are in good luck. If, more likely, she is not the only one, you will have to deal with the other persons as well. At this point, it might be very important to check that they are all still alive.

Article 84 first page

Article 84 second page

The article 84 for one of our land (source Beodom).

If one of them would not be, it would means that the recorded list of users in the Land Book Registry is not up to date. The inheritors of that deceased person have first to register. This is not a trivial procedure. Whether they are first class or second class inheritors they may have to pay tax on the inherited land value. Some of the inheritors might be deceased or living abroad. It is not uncommon that records in the Land Book Registry are not updated for several generations. Sometimes, nicknames or incorrect names are registered instead of real names further complicating the task.

Needless to say that you may quickly end up in a mess that can last months to clear up. We ended up in such a situation twice and it took us several months with the help of our lawyer to clear up all papers.

3 - Get a copy of the plan for the land

The seller may already have the copy of the plan issued by the Geodetic Authotity for the plot he is selling. If not, you are advised to request it.

The copy of the plan lists the actual users of the plot based on the information that is held by the Geodethic Authority. That list may match or not (and in the most cases does not) the list found in the ownership paper.

Copy of the plan

Example of copy of the plan for one of our land (source Beodom).

If there is a mismatch, it will have to be fixed before you can register yourself after you buy. That means you will have to collect all of the necessary information from the seller to be able to provide a continuous chain of owners from the last registered to you. We have a dedicated article explaining the registration process.

4 - Check if the land is agricultural and its class

On the copy of the plan, you will find more useful information like the type and class of the land and the actual surface of the whole plot. If the land is an agricultural land you will need to convert it in a buildable land before you can start building on it. Depending of the class of the land, the cost of that conversion can go as high as half the market price of the land! We have a dedicated article explaining that in more details.

Detail of the agricultural class of the land from the copy of the plan

Detail of the agricultural class of the land (highlighted in yellow) from the copy of the plan above (source Beodom).

5 - Get the complete version of the ownership paper

You also need to get from the seller a complete, recent version, of the ownership paper (called in Serbian “vlasnicki list”). That ownership paper is provided by the Second Municipality Court.

The list of users from the decision based on article 84 (mentioned above) and the list of users from this ownership paper should just be the same. In fact, the seller needs to provide the ownership paper to the authority issuing the decision based on article 84. So indeed the two lists should match.

A problem can occur if the decision based on article 84 is a bit old and that, in the meantime, the situation with the users of the land changed (somebody died or the land was already sold). This is why it is important to get a recent copy of the ownership paper that guarantees you it does represent the current situation.

Ownership paper page 1

Ownership paper page 3

The ownership paper for the same land (source Beodom).

6 - Get the notarized renouncement to buy the land from the co-users

If you wish to buy a part of a bigger plot, the users of the other parts of the plot have the right of preemption to buy that part. That means they are entitled to buy the part before you. Therefore, the seller has to offer them the land at the same price as you agreed. Either, one of them will be interested and the story stops for you, or, none of them will be interested to buy and they have to give up on the land in a written document notarized in a court.

What is important to protect your transaction is to obtain those written notarized documents from all of the other users.

Example of a renouncement letter

Example of a renouncement letter we got as we bought one plot of land (source Beodom).


When it comes to buying a land in Belgrade, you will have to deal with intricate situations. It is better to clear up all of the points above before to get too excited about a land. You should never trust a single person, no matter how good or honest she is. Errors, overlooked details are not uncommon. You better check everything by yourself. Having a good lawyer with experience in land transactions on your side is also a definite advantage.

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