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Judicial practice: how to get a land plot in Ukraine for free

The Supreme Court of Ukraine has clarified how to obtain free land

An explanation of Art. 118 of the Land Code, which provides for the free receipt of land by citizens of Ukraine. In practice, obtaining a land plot for free is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, due to the position of local authorities, which often render unreasonable refusals.

The publication “Judicial-Legal Newspaper” cites the practice of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. From the explanations it is clear that free allocation of land to citizens is difficult, and the legislation contains conflicting norms.

How to get a land plot for free – legal norms
The Constitution of Ukraine guarantees the right of ownership of land in Article 14. The basic law provides that this right is acquired and realized by citizens, legal entities and the state exclusively in accordance with the law.

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According to the Land Code of Ukraine, executive authorities or local governments transfer the land to Ukrainian citizens free of charge in the property or lease land for construction and maintenance of residential buildings, utility buildings and garage construction.

Algorithm for free land acquisition
Article 118 of the Land Code clearly describes the procedure for the free receipt of land:

Citizens file a petition with the appropriate executive authority or local government.
The application shall indicate the purpose of the land and its approximate dimensions.
The application is accompanied by graphic materials that indicate the desired location of the land plot, approval of the land user (in case of withdrawal of the land plot used by other persons) and documents confirming work experience in agriculture or the presence of an education obtained in an agricultural educational institution (in in case of providing land for farming).
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Purpose of the land transferred free of charge
for farming, personal farming;
for gardening;
for the construction and maintenance of a residential building, utility buildings and structures (personal plot);
for individual cottage construction;
for the construction of individual garages within the limits of free privatization.
The executive authority or local government, transfers state or communal ownership land plots to the property, considers the application within a month and gives permission to develop a land management plan for the allotment of the land plot or provides a reasoned refusal.

Why refuse the free allocation of land
Local governments often refuse to provide land for free. Most often, the reasons for refusal are “lack of free land” or the presence of a queue for land. Sometimes citizens’ applications are not even considered at a local council meeting.

Related article: Enhanced protection of property rights to real estate: what has changed

Also, a complicated procedure has been established for appealing against the refusal to provide permission to develop a land management project for the allocation of a land plot to ownership. As a rule, the court satisfies the claims of citizens and must oblige the local government to reconsider the application.

The legislation contains clear reasons for the justified refusal of free allotment of land. The main one is the inconsistency of the location of the facility with the requirements of laws, master plans of settlements and other urban planning documentation, land management schemes and feasibility studies. It is important that in Ukraine there is no land reservation, therefore the refusal due to the existence of a “line” for land is groundless.

What the Supreme Court of Ukraine decided on the issue of free land
An example is court case No. 819/570/18, in which the Supreme Court of Ukraine made a final decision in September 2019. A legal dispute arose between a citizen and the village council, which three times refused to allocate 12 acres of land for the construction and maintenance of a residential building. The plaintiff disputed the refusal three times through lower courts, but the local government still did not make the appropriate decision.

Related article: How to privatize an apartment or a dormitory room in Ukraine for free: a list of documents and a sample application for housing privatization

The Supreme Court found that the village council would not

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