Law "On Eminent Domain"
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia resolves:
To resume the Republic of Latvia 1923 Law "On Eminent Domain" (as well as the amendments and additions effected by the May 28, 1936 and August 30, 1937 Laws) and to change it to read as follows:
Eminent domain is permissible in exceptional cases only with appropriate compensation, on the grounds of a specific law.
Compensation for expropriated real estate is fixed in a monetary sum.
The proposal to expropriate real estate is submitted by the Government upon the suggestion of the respective state administration or local government institution, if this institution has failed to obtain the real estate upon agreement with the owner. The proposal must include information about the real estate to be expropriated and substantiation for the expropriation of property.
Eminent domain is proposed by the respective ministry or if the property is necessary for the cultural, educational, sports, health care or social security needs of the residents of a particular municipal area, or for the development of public transportation, environmental protection or for the construction of civil engineering structures, then it is proposed by the respective local government institution.
After a law on the real estate expropriation is adopted and on the basis of a statement from the respective state administration or local government institution, an entry should be made in the Land Book, that no further expropriation or encumbrance of this real estate is permitted.
Upon adoption of the corresponding law, the institution, upon whose decision the expropriation takes place, proposes that the owner sign an agreement on the expropriation of the real estate, and offers him/her just compensation or proposes to exchange the real estate for property of equal value.
If compensation is determined on the basis of a voluntary agreement or if the expropriated real estate value is compensated by exchanging the expropriated property for other property, a corresponding contract must be signed.
Upon corroboration of the signed contract on the expropriated land in the Land Book, and if the expropriated plot of land does not exceed 20 percent of the owner's total land area, the land is transferred into State or local government ownership without any encumbrances.
After corroboration of the contract in the name of the State or local government, upon the request of the interested persons, in whose favour certain rights to the expropriated land are registered with the Land Book, the mentioned persons may receive the sums due to them, in order of preference, but at no more than the agreed purchase price.
If an agreement is not reached, the case is reviewed by court upon the corresponding institution's application.
Upon receiving the application, the court assigns a bailiff to itemize and evaluate the real estate in accordance with the laws on the civil proceedings of Latvia in the presence of a representative of the institution for whose needs the real estate is being expropriated, as well as the owner, and three experts, upon mutual agreement by the persons. If an agreement has not been reached within the time period set by court, the court appoints experts. Rejection of a chosen expert is permissible if conditions exist which create grounds for doubt of his/her impartiality.
If the owner's or his/her authorized person's place of residence is not known, he/she should be summoned by a notice in an official newspaper, requesting his/her appearance within a month. If during the aforementioned time neither the owner nor his/her authorized person appears, a trustee should be appointed for the protection of the owner's interests in the procedure stipulated by law.
If the place of residence of the owner or his/her authorized person is unknown, he/she must be summoned to appear in court within one month by notice in an official newspaper. If, during this time, neither the owner nor his/her authorized person appears in court, a trustee must be appointed to protect the owner's interests, in the procedure prescribed by law.
If the corresponding institution appraises the real estate to be expropriated at a lower value than its mortgage debts, those mortgage creditors whose addresses are known must be present during the property evaluation.
The institution, upon whose proposal the expropriation occurs, must submit to the court a statement in which the institution indicates and substantiates the price determined for the real estate to be expropriated. Copies of this statement must be issued to the real estate owner and his/her mortgage creditors, if their addresses are known, and if they shall be summoned to be present at the itemization and evaluation.
During the itemization and evaluation of real estate, all interested persons are permitted to express their opinions and to submit documents. The absence of the interested persons does not cease itemization and evaluation.
Upon itemization, the real estate comes under the authority of the institution for whose needs it is being expropriated.
When a dwelling house, in which its owner or his/her family members reside, is being expropriated, the corresponding institution must provide them with another suitable dwelling space.
The evaluation must be carried out taking into account the local prices and the particular conditions of the property. If the owner so requests, the property must be evaluated, taking into consideration its profitability.
The real estate is evaluated according to its profitability, upon the basis of the information submitted by the owner. In this case, the real estate price is determined by multiplying the average net income of the real estate during the last five years by five percent or, if the owner has managed the property less than five years, over the entire period of possession.
The increase in value, which could have accrued to the property, had it been used for the purpose for which it is being expropriated, must not be taken into account when evaluating the real estate to be expropriated.
If State or public needs require only part of the real estate and the remaining part is useless or of little value to its owner, he/she may request complete expropriation of the real estate.
When trying the case the court summons the owner, a representative of the institution which initiated the expropriation of the property, and the mortgage creditors.
The court determines the amount of compensation, taking into account expert conclusions or local prices, or, if the owner demands and the court substantiates this demand, taking into account the real estate's profitability.
The court verdict may be appealed in the procedure prescribed by law.
After the court verdict on the expropriation of real estate has come into legal force, the owner must be paid the compensation and the interest rate determined by court. The interest rate can be no less than six percent per year, from the expropriation date of real estate until the compensation payment date.
When paying compensation, the following provisions must be observed:
1) if the persons to whom rights to receive compensation, in full or in part, have not been established, the compensation sum, as well as the sums due to mortgage creditors, shall be deposited into the State budget and shall be paid out to the owner or mortgage creditors, upon request;
2) the compensation sum for the owner, whose place of residence is unknown, shall be deposited into the State budget in the procedure set in Paragraph1 of this Article and shall be kept there until the owner or his/her heirs are traced;
3) if the real estate is encumbered with mortgage debts which exceed the determined value of the real estate, the creditors are eligible to demand from their personal debtor the remaining sum of the debt, which has not been covered by the expropriated real estate, unless the promissory note specifies that the debtor is responsible for his/her debt only with the mortgaged real estate. All mortgage debts, which the corresponding institution has not taken over, must be deleted from the Land Book;
4) if the compensation sum determined by the court is not sufficient for fully meeting all claims of the former owner's creditors, this sum must be deposited into the court account and distributed in accordance with the procedures set by the laws on civil proceedings; and
5) the rights of things which encumber the expropriated real estate, i.e., entries in the Land Book, must be deleted, unless the institution for the needs of which the property is expropriated expresses the wish that the entries remain.
After payment or installment of compensation into the state budget, the corresponding institution submits a copy of the court decision along with a description of the real estate to the Land Book section for registration of the property under the name of the State or local government.
Irrespective of the compensation paid to the former owner, the acquirer of the expropriated property must build, at his/her own expense, bridges, roads, dams, crossings and other structures necessary for the prevention of any losses or inconvenience which may arise to the former owner or other persons, when utilizing the expropriated property for the purpose planned.
If, within a period of no more than five years from the expropriation date, the acquirer declares that the expropriated real estate, or part of it, is no longer necessary, the former owner may regain this property by repaying the compensation received.
Upon expiration of this period, the former owner has the first right to purchase the expropriated property, for the monetary sum which is determined by evaluation the expropriated property anew, according to the procedure set by this Law, if no other agreement has been reached.
The relevant institution must announce the restitution of real estate in an official newspaper, and, if possible, must notify the former owner, in written, indicating the price of the property to be restituted and specifying a six-month term for the former owner to respond. This six-month period commences from the receipt date of the notice, or from the publication date in the official newspaper.
If the former owner utilizes the rights provided in Article 20 of this Law, the relevant institution is entitled to dismantle all structures built on the real estate to be restituted within a six-month period following the signing date of the re-sale contract.
Chairman, Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia
Secretary, Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia
Translation (C) by the Latvia Law Institute. All rights reserved. Other translation of Latvian laws available. E-mail: email@example.com