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1. Can foreign citizens claim restoration of property rights on land within the Romanian territory?
Romanian citizens only, regardless of their country of residence, can claim restoration of property rights on agricultural or forested land (article 41, paragraph 2 of the Romanian Constitution)
Ovidiu Cernăianu

2. Who can claim the restoration of property rights on land?
The following main categories of Romanian citizens benefit from the provisions of the Law of the landed estate:
a) members of the former cooperative state agricultural farms (CAP) that contributed with land to the constitution of the CAP or who were, by any means, taken away the land by the CAP, as well as their successors;
b) members of the former CAP that did not contribute with land to the constitution of the CAP
c) members who left the CAP, did not work in a CAP or do not reside in the village where the CAP was, as well as their successors;
d) persons who did not become members of the CAP, but whose lands were taken by it with or without legal basis, as well as their successors;
e) persons whose agricultural lands became state property on the ground of the Decree 83/1949 or on the ground of any other normative expropriation acts, as well as their successors;
f) persons whose lands became state property on the ground of special laws other than laws regarding expropriation and that are currently managed by state agricultural units (especially the former IAS), as well as their successors.
g) persons that were decorated with the title of Knight of the Order "Mihai Viteazul", "Mihai Viteazul with Swords", as well as their successors on the condition of not having already sold the land they had been granted
Ovidiu Cernăianu

3. What categories of lands can be claimed?
All categories of lands can be claimed except for:
a) lands on the outskirts of localities that became state property in an abusive manner and are part of sites where hydrotechnical installations are placed or where works involving hydroregulations or of other type were executed;
b) lands in state property, under the management of research institutes used for the research and production of seeds, biologically superior saplings and pedigreed animals;
c) lands on which there are construction sites, facilities, roads and buildings that belong to the state department of forests.
d) lands on which experimental tree plantations under the supervision of the Institute for Forest Research are located.
e)Forest reservations of great importance, which are included in the national register of the reproduction materials admitted in forest growing.
f) scientific reservations, forests - monuments of the nature and other strictly protected areas, declared as such by the law
g) forests that have a special protection role
h) lands, partially or completely deforested after January 1, 1990
i) lands situated inside the perimeter of localities and that were granted, according to the law, to their members by the former state agricultural farms(CAP)for the purpose of building houses and other surrounding buildings - on the condition that the buildings have already been erected.
j) the lands pertaining to dwellings and to the annexes of the households belonging to the former members of the CAP and to their successors as well as the courtyard and the garden, within 1000 square meters
k) the lands belonging to the public or private domains of the state
Ovidiu Cernăianu

4. Which was the deadline for the filing of the requests of restoration of the property right over the lands?
The deadline was March 12, 2000.
Ovidiu Cernăianu

5. Which is the maximal surface of land that can be returned?
The maximal surface of land that can be returned is of 50 hectares per expropriated owner, in the case of agricultural land, and of 10 hectares per expropriated owner, in the case of forested land.
Ovidiu Cernăianu

6. What happens if the surface of the land that was expropriated was larger than the area that can be returned according to the law?
The owner will receive either land that was taken over by the village, the town or the municipality, or, when this is not possible, the owner will be paid compensations for the difference of unreturned land.
Ovidiu Cernăianu

7. Can buildings placed on agricultural or forested lands that existed at the time the lands became state property or that became state property as a result of the Decree 83/1949 be returned?
These buildings will be returned to the former owners or to the successors. In case they do not exist anymore compensations will be paid.
Ovidiu Cernăianu

8. Which is the situation in case some rights have already been obtained on the grounds of Law 19/1991 and Law 169/1997?
If these rights were obtained in compliance with the provisions of the above mentioned normative acts, they are valid and do not require any other confirmation regardless of the type of act the entitled persons were issued (i.e. property certificates, legal reports confirming the restoration of property or property deeds.)
Ovidiu Cernăianu

9. Is the property right restored on the initial locations?
Yes, if the locations are available (we consider that the law maker referred to the absence of any building or of any other works of public interest , although the text of the law - article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law 1/2000 - is deficiently elaborated, as all the other laws concerning the land),if they were not granted ,according to the law, to any other persons or if they are not subject to the exceptions from the restitution.
Ovidiu Cernăianu

10. What are the legal means the person not satisfied with the decision of the County Commission concerning the restoration of the property right on lands can resort to?
The person can file a complaint against the decision to the court in the area within which the land is located, within 30 days from the notification on the decision. The Law is however ambiguous and it does not specify anymore the procedure established by article III of the Law 169/1997 which modifies the Law 18/1991. Still, we consider that this procedure is still valid and that the Law 1/2000, which has as declared purpose the reparation of the injustice undergone by the former owners, cannot be interpreted in the sense of narrowing down the right of the former owners to have access to justice. Thus, in our opinion, actions in court having as purpose the annulment of juridical acts issued by County Commissions are perfectly legitimate.
Ovidiu Cernăianu

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