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Housing in Moldova


Residential property prices in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, are rising, on the basis of Moldova’s economic growth. Residential real estate prices have risen annually by 30 to 40% over the past five years, according to a local real estate agency. In 2007, apartment prices in Chisinau rose 12% to 14% in US dollar terms, and 4% in terms of euro.

As the country turns to the west, more properties are being quoted in euros instead of US dollars which is the norm in Russia. Moldova aspires to join the European Union (EU), following the government’s 2005 decision.

The past few years have seen a house price explosion, which was due to increased demand from foreign investors and higher remittances from gastarbeiters (foreign workers in Germany) combined with lack of supply.

Chisinau is the country’s political, economic, and cultural capital. It is the only city in Moldova with reasonable living conditions for expatriates. Many houses are built specially for rental. The city’s prime residential area is in its western section: Buiucani, the City Centre, and Botanica.

Buying a Property

Non-agricultural land can be freely bought and sold by anybody. However foreign citizens, companies, or states cannot buy agricultural and forest land, though they can lease short term (1-3 years), or long term (5-99 years).

All property transactions should be notarised and registered in the Real Estate Registry. The registration of the transfer of ownership of the property makes the transaction valid.

Once a property has been chosen, the buyer’s solicitor needs to obtain a non-encumbrance certificate from the Cadastre. The seller then obtains the cadastral sketch certificate from the Territorial Cadastre Office. A sale/purchase agreement is then drafted and notarised for registration. It is advised that the buyer obtain a tax clearance certificate from the Tax Office to check for any tax liabilities of the real estate involved in the transaction. A public notary then executes the contract for deed transfer. Upon execution of the deed, the state tax is paid to the notary in cash. Finally, an application for the registration of title is submitted to the Territorial Cadastral Office for the transfer of ownership.

Leases of real estate for a period less than three years must be registered at the mayor’s office where the leased property is located. The law does not require the notarisation of (land) lease agreements.

Property registration requires five procedures and takes 81 days to complete.

Renting a Property

Rent for private property is set by the market. According to the 2003 Civil Code, landlords may increase rent once a year only, and only if economic conditions are such that leaving the rent unchanged would be unfair to the landlord. In the 2003 Civil Code, tenants can also claim a decrease in rent due to bad conditions of the property beyond the control and will of the tenant. The 1992 Law on Lease allows for a unilateral change in rent by the owner in case of change of prices, tariffs and others enacted by law.

Therefore, rent increases in Moldova can either be a product of a market driven mechanism (Civil Code) or from a unilateral decision of the landlord (Law on Lease).

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