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June 2007, 08/06/2007

Dear Valued Stara Planina Properties Client,

The building regulations in Bulgaria are quite different to those in the UK. We thought to provide some information to those who are interested in the process. In addition there is some property news and the monthly travel guide.

Planning and Building Permissions in Bulgaria

As in most countries in Bulgaria there are strict rules governing what you can build on your land. In this article we will only discuss residential buildings as industrial and others are more complicated and require a different approach.

If you wish to repair an existing house or to construct a new residential building the starting point is to establish what is allowed in your area. In the first instance your plot needs to be regulated for residential purposes. Essentially this is land within village and town borders. If it is not then you will need to apply to have it regulated. This can be a long drawn- out process and you will need to employ the services of an expert. All regulated land has a definition of what activities can be carried out on it, together with what type of structures can be built. These definitions are described in the municipal plans. The plans describe what is actually on the plot and detail the density of construction, height restrictions and so forth.

If you are thinking of doing minor works (those which do not affect the structure of the existing buildings) you will not need a permission from the local municipality. If the works you intend to carry out involve significant changes to what already exists in the municipal plan for your plot you will have to apply to have the plan changed to correspond to what you intend to build. This procedure should be carried out by an expert. The neighbouring owners to your plot will have the right to object to the change within certain time. If this happens there are administrative procedures to follow but if they do not object there will be an official document issued by the municipality for the change of the plan.

Once the plan has been changed you will have to obtain a new plan of your property on which the chief architect of the municipality will mark the conditions you will have to follow such as density of construction, distance from the plot borders, etc. It is best if you disucss your intentions with an architect prior to this stage so that you know what to include in the application to the chief architect. The plan with the remarks and signature of the chief architect is called a 'visa for preparation of designs'.

The architect you contract to prepare the designs will take the 'visa' as a base. Once all the elements of the designs are ready (including architectural, structural, electrical, water, ventilation and heating, landscaping) an application is made to the local authority for building permission. The designs will be approved and stamped if they comply with the regulations. Along with the design approval, contracts with the electrical and water companies need to be submitted (you may also require permission from other bodies such as the Fire Brigade or National Institute of the Monuments of Culture but this depends on the activities you intend to carry out). If your documents are in order you will receive the Permission to Build (Please note that the permission to build only last for 5 years and is specific to the projects submitted).

The architect, structural engineer and the other members of the team are required by law to sign off the works and the local municipality at the end of works has to sign off the project and issues a permission for use.

Our sister company Bulgarian Property Management is able to help with organising planning and building process as well as minor repairs, management and various other tasks.

Rossalitsa Complex - Affordable Apartments and Houses close to Varna and the Sea

Rosalitsa Holiday Complex is situated in the Southern part of Varna, the sea capital of Bulgaria. It is just 1 km from the beach and from the new golf course under construction. Rosalitsa is a luxury gated community stretching on a plot of 4,000 sq m. The complex is superbly located in one of the Varna's suburbs just 8 km from the city centre. The improved infrastructure allows for fast and comfortable commute to the city centre. Rosalitsa consists of 59 apartments with sea views and 3 detached houses with private gardens and parking area. In addition there is an outdoor swimming pool with a separate children section, shops and a restaurant.

Rosalitsa offers all the modern facilities of a gated community with close proximity to the beach, the city centre, the international airport and the port of Varna. This unique combination makes it a great place to live and relax. And all that at affordable prices - apartments from EUR 24,974 and houses from EUR 97,057. It is certainly an opportunity not to be missed!

Please contact us for more details about the properties available in Rossalitsa.

Quality vs Quantity in the Investment Property Market

During the first months of the year it has become evident that more and more people who are interested to purchase property in Bulgaria are attracted by top- end properties. Whilst in the past these represented just 1-2% of the market share they are now more than 10%. You will really notice the difference in quality between these developments and others on the market. The people behind these projects often have a keen eye for aesthetics and take great pride in their product. We have a number of such developments that may interest you: Garden of Eden, Royal Garden and Crystal SPA along the Black Sea Coast, GeshaView near Veliko Turnovo and Rila Hills near Bansko.

Holiday Rentals Contracted for Tryavna's Mountain Lake Complex

The Mountain Lake holiday complex being built in the picturesque town of Tryavna in Stara Planina Mountains already attracted interest from the tourist business with its excellent location. The developer has signed a contract with the Sunny Tours operator for part of the complex for the first tourist season. As a result there is 6% guaranteed rent offered with the purchase for the new owners who wish to rent their apartments.

Another Store to Open in Veliko Tarnovo by the End of 2007

After the Central Mall and Praktiker another retail store will be constructed in the city of Veliko Turnovo. By the end of 2007 the German Metro Cash&Carry will open its 9th hypermarket in Bulgaria. The retail floor area will be 7,000 sq m and the investment will be 30 million levs.

The first Metro hypermarket was opened in 1999 in Sofia and now there are stores in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas and Ruse. It was the first international retail chain to enter Bulgaria's market.

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