New provisions (in force from 01/07/2011) were incorporated in the Notaries and Notarial Business Act (NNBA).
According to the new paragraph 8 of Article 25, NNBA, when performing legal acts for the creation, transfer, amendment or termination of property rights in real estates for consideration, the parties are obliged to declare in the contract itself that the price specified in it is the agreed consideration. Pursuant to the new para. 9 of Article 25, NNBA, where the total consideration due under the contract exceeds BGN 10,000, any payment of that consideration must be effected either to a special bank account of the notary, or to a bank account chosen by the parties.
A new Article 25a, NNBA institutes such notary public-held accounts.
The terms on which payments by the parties are made to the special notary bank account and the deposits are then disbursed are set out in a written agreement between the notary and the parties to the contract.
Such accounts are protected from enforcement for obligations of the notary.
These new provisions correspond to recommendations of the European Commission to Member State governments to legislate for the prevention of money laundering through property transactions, as well as for tackling corruption and property fraud. The changes also prevent concealing the real consideration. In turn, this cures evasion of local taxes payable upon acquisition of real estates and improves the quality of market information.
Less obviously, the changes in the NNBA would help in proving the authenticity of effected payments, as well as the receipt of the agreed price by the party to the contract. This should reduce litigation, enhance the legal certainty of the property transactions and the legitimate expectations of the interested persons.
A win in an insurance exclusion clause dispute at the Supreme Court
NBLO's dispute resolution team, led by Yordan Neshkov, secured a success against a large Bulgarian insurer in a claim brought on behalf of a UK national, who had lost her property in a fire. The insurer had refused to pay out under the insurance, on the grounds that a widely drawn clause in its general terms allegedly excused it from paying whenever there was a breach of building regulations, even if (as was accepted in this case) this breach was invisible externally, could not be discovered through reasonable investigation and was not caused by the insured. NBLO had good reasons to argue that this position was unsupported in the Bulgarian Insurance Code or civil law generally and persuaded the Supreme Cassation Court to back it. This is covered more fully in an article on our website.
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