Our previous newsflash mentioned the draft law “Amendments to the law on land privatisation in rural areas”. The draft law was adopted at the second reading and thanks to 67 proposals to the commission in charge, it contains several changes in wording and content.

The law includes a regulation that all citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area will be allowed to purchase land in Latvia. However, other legal subjects registered in Latvia, the EU and the European Economic Area must be registered in Latvia as taxpayers or businesses. Likewise company shareholders or owners who are natural persons will have to meet certain criteria in order to purchase land in Latvia.

In relation to new farmers, the age qualification of 40 years is removed, and the option to use the right of first refusal is decreased from a radius of 50 to 20 km around the land to be disposed of. Still, the remaining five-level structure of rights of first refusal stays the same.

The most significant introduction is that one person cannot own more than a total of 2,000 ha of agricultural land in Latvia. The set criteria on purchase of agricultural land will not apply to natural persons buying less than 10 ha of land and to legal entities buying less than 5 ha.

It has been decided to supplement the law with a new section “Land Fund of Latvia” stating the purposes and management of the fund.

The final, third reading of the draft law “Amendments to the law on land privatisation in rural areas” is expected soon.