As a result of the amendments to the so called small restitution law, there will be new, more stringent rules on return of premises in Warsaw starting from 19th October 2020. The latest amendments introduce significant restrictions on the return of real estate in kind to the pre-war owners or their legal successors. From 19th October 2020, the City of Warsaw will refuse to give back a tenement house to the former owners if:
- premises in the property are occupied by tenants;
- some of the premises in the building have been sold;
- some of the premises in the building have been leased;
- the return of the building is not in line with the good neighborhood relations;
- the building is intended for public utility purposes
If, at any stage during the administrative proceedings such circumstances arise, the City of Warsaw will be obliged to refuse the return of the premises to the legitimate heirs. Because all buildings in Warsaw have tenants, in practice this means the end of restitution process in Warsaw in its current shape. The former owners and their heirs only will have claims for damages.
The background of the matter is as follows:
- Under the Bierut Decree of 1945, most of the land properties in Warsaw were nationalized and taken over the state. Officially, the dispossessed ex-owners of nationalized properties were supposed to obtain another property in another location provided that they made an application within 6 month from the announcement of the decree. In practice, all these applications were refused without any reason. Legally speaking, the only reason to refuse the property to the ex-owner was verification whether the use of the property has been in line with the local management plan.
- The so called small restitution law of 2015 introduced new restrictions on the return of premises to former owners. The City of Warsaw was given the right to refuse the return of a real estate to former owners if the building has been sold to a third party or the building has been reconstructed by the state after the War or the division of the building is not possible.
- The latest amendments to the small restitution law introduced more restrictions on the return of real estate in kind to the pre-war owners or their legal successors. In practice, this could mean the end of restitution process in Warsaw in its current shape. The former owners and their heirs only will have claims for damages.
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