The Land Registry

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The new 'Organised Land Portal' now offers the opportunity to resolve much of the necessary paperwork and searches regarding property transactions via the internet!

All Croatian properties are listed in the Land Registry, together with details of ownership and any legal actions or transactions which affect, or might affect property ownership. The Land Registry is part of the judicial system, under the overall control of the Minstry of Justice (Ministarstvo pravosuđa), which has a very informative website .The Ministry website carries an explanation of Croatia's judicial courts. The Stari Grad court, which deals with property transactions and disputes on Hvar island, is part of the Municipal Court in Split (link partly in English)

The Land Registry system as it is today dates back to Austrian times, from a project initiated in the 1850s. Except where records have been destroyed by fire or through other causes, huge weighty leather-bound tomes line the Land Registry offices. They contain ownership and transaction information going back over more than 150 years, In recent years the system has been updated, and is being computerized. This has made it possible to check out properties and their ownership online, which is a valuable first step for any prospective buyer. It is also of continuing use to property owners, who can check that their ownership has not been compromised in any way over time. In theory that should not happen when ownership procedures have been properly conducted, but in my experience changes have appeared in ownership entries, for instance the owner's name might suddenly appear with a mis-spelling. This can happen, for instance, through clerical errors during computerization. Such mistakes need to be corrected immediately, as official duty (po službenoj dužnosti), otherwise later it will be necessary to prove that the mis-spelled person is the same as the real owner!

CHECKING LAND REGISTRY ENTRIES ONLINE

Information in the Land Registry and the Cadastar is now accessed through the 'Organised Land Portal', an invaluable information website managed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration.

You need to know the district and place under which the property falls, so that you can identify the appropriate Land Registry office, and the plot number identifying the property of interest and or the ZU number which identifies the ownership document and may contain more than one property plot number.

On the title page, by clicking on the box titled 'Find Land Registry Extract', you can use the information listed above to find the ownership details of most properties. Click here to access the 'Find LR extract' directly. First you fill in the box marked 'Land Registry Office/ Municipal Court: You can use the drop-down menu, but it is quicker to type the name of the relevant court. For instance, entering 'Star' will link to the Stari Grad Court. Box 2 'Main Book' again offers a drop-down menu, or you can enter the name of the place you require (eg Hvar or Jelsa). Box 3 'Book of deposited contracts' is optional. Box 4 requires the plot number (Cadastral parcel number) of the property you are searching for, which you can type in or choose from the drop-down menu.If you know it, you can enter the ZU number in the box on the right, 'LR form number'.

If you want, you can choose to have a historical overview, which will show you at least some of the past transactions relating to the property,:these will be typed in red on the ownership document. If not, click on the box marked 'Speeial extract'. If you then choose 'Unofficial extract', the document is downloaded to your device immediately. Choosing 'Generate extract' means you have to sign in to the portal for a verified official version.

Example of ownership document on the internet

The format of the internet version of a Land Registry ownership document is essentially the same as the printed document, which is obtained from the Land Registry office. On the upper left side, under 'Katarska općina' (Local council area), are listed any recent or ongoing legal transactions in respect of the property or properties in the document. Current legal actions are marked 'Aktivne plombe', and are shown as a number preceded by 'z'. In the examples shown above and below, there are no past or present cases listed on the documents.

If active cases are shown, you can check on them by clicking on the number beside ‘Aktivne plombe’. Under ZK Odjel Stari Grad, 'Stanje na dan' means 'Situation on the day', followed by the current date. Podnesak shows the case number. The box underneath gives the essential details.
Line one: Primljeno: gives the date when the case papers were officially received by the Court.
Line two: Vrsta isprave: is the basis of the case for change on the Land Registry entry. For instance it might be Ugovor o kupoprodaji (Sales Contract), or Rješenje o Naslijeđivanju (Probate for Inheritance).
Line three: Oznaka spisa: gives the initial case number, if any.
Line four: Vrsta upisa: the type of change requested on the Land Registry. Most often this is Uknjižba meaning Registration of Ownership.
Line five: Sadržaj prijedloga: identifies the property or properties involved in the case and the action(s) requested.
Line six: Bilj.o kretanju spisa: notes on the movement of the papers. Some cases are sent away for ratification, and the date they are returned to the Stari Grad Court is entered here.
Line seven: Način rješenja: outcome. ‘U radu’ means the case is still in Court. Udovoljeno means the applicant has succeeded, while Odbijeno means the application has been turned down.
Line eight: Datum rješenja: the date on which the decision was given.
Line nine: Datum provedbe: the date the Court’s decision was confirmed.
Line ten: Datum otpreme: the date the decision is implemented.

Part A on the ownership document gives the details of the property or properties, including the plot number(s). Part B identifies the owner(s), together with address(es) and identity number(s). Most often the Tax Identity Number (OIB) is given, but for an owner who does not have an OIB the passport number is used instead. Part C shows any charges against the properties, such as bank loans or claims by others laying claim to ownership, as well as restrictions such as public rights of way. 'Tereta nema' means that there are no limitations on the ownership as given on the document.

Example: official ownership document

The official Vlasnički list / ownership document issued by the Land Registry office is legal proof of ownership. When proof of ownership is required for official purposes, such as registering possession in the Cadastar or seeking a bank loan, the document has to be as recent as possible, certainly less than six months old.

The Land Registry office for Hvar is in Stari Grad, on the ground floor of the local Court building on the waterfront. Address: Nova Riva 3, 21460 Stari Grad. Tel. 021 778 280, fax 021 778 282. Client receiving hours are from 08:00 to 13:00, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with a break (pauza) from 11:00 to 11:30.

Besides the services relating to ownership searches and documentation, the 'Organised Land' website allows one to check the status of court cases relating to property, through the section titles 'Land Registry File Status Review'. For absic search, you need to know the Z- number of the case, which will include the year the case was initiated.

© Vivian Grisogono 2016, updated January 2023.

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