Recent amendments to the Bulgarian Spatial Development Act (“SDA”) seek to address key issues that have proven quite problematic for a number of years now – including the status of parking places and the possibility for reconstruction, extension or heightening of tolerable constructions. 

Status of Parking Places 

Some significant issues have resulted from the fact that parking places are not considered  “self-contained objects within a building” as per the meaning of the law. Notably, it has been unclear (i) how the title to a parking place to be transferred; and (ii) how to mark out a parking place onto the cadastral map.  

Now, after a number of years and several legislative amendments, the applicable legislation still does not provide definition of what parking place is but is trying to catch up of what the business has come up with to go around this problem.  

The latest amendments to the SDA attempt to address these problems by providing that the design plans for all condominiums must include: (i) a parking garage having the status of a self-contained object in the building; (ii) a parking garage having the status of a common part of the building; or (iii) separate parking spaces having the status of an attachment to the respective self-contained assets in the building.  

Additionally, another SDA amendment provides that when the land plot, over which a condominium is constructed and the condominium itself are considered as a single entity then the necessary parking places may be ensured in the vacant yard area (so long as the minimum green areas are provided for first).  If the land adjacent to the building is not considered as a common part of the condominium, the parking places must be ensured on the area of the land which is not needed for the use of the building.  

Reconstruction of Tolerable Constructions 

Under the SDA “tolerable constructions” are defined as constructions built before 31 March 2001 which lack construction documents but were deemed permissible under the law that governed at the time of construction or the current SDA. Tolerable constructions are not subject to demolition or use restriction.  

Recent SDA amendments create the possibility for: extension; performance of major repair works; modification, including change of designation; and construction and mounting works for “tolerable permanent constructions” – so long as these works are permissible under the effective detailed development plan.  

Tolerable constructions which are not considered permanent constructions under the effective detailed development plan, may undergo: interior remodelling; change of designation; and repair without changing the exterior contour (horizontally or vertically) and adding new bearing structures or substantially reinforcing the existing bearing structures.  

In both cases the works may be performed on the basis of design mapping out of the existing construction, investment design and a construction permit.