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Questions and Answers - part one

Q: I am about to enter into a contract with a builder to renovate my property. The contract has been drawn up between my Bulgarian company and the contractor's Bulgarian company. He has signed and stamped the contract and sent it to me.

In UK law his signature as director of the company is enough for me to enforce the contract. I cannot stamp the contract as I do not have the company stamp here in the UK.

Is the contract binding in Bulgarian law without my company stamp on it?

A: As this is a Bulgarian contract and would be enforced in Bulgaria if necessary, then both Bulgarian companies need to stamp it. Signature alone is not enough for the Bulgarian courts.

Q: I am concerned about the sq.m. that agents quote to me on apartments. When we've visited them they never seem to be as large as the agents say.

A: This is quite often the case. Normally, when a developer (or agent) calculates the sq.m. of an apartment, they include the communal parts, any terrace or balcony which your apartment might have, plus the thickness of the walls!

Q: Please can you advise on the legalities of free land loan in Bulgaria. A couple of neighbours have asked if they could carry on using our garden to grow vegetables for themselves. I was quite happy with this as it gives the appearance that the house is occupied in our absence. A colleague at work told me that he read on a web site that if I allow them to do this, they can claim the land. Is this true?

A: Your problem will be solved once you have a written agreement with your neighbours stating that you let your land to your neighbours for free. It is possible for someone to claim land after using it for five years - but only if this person has used it believing that this land belongs to him. If he has used it knowing that the land belongs to someone else, then he has to use the land for 10 consecutive years in order to obtain it.

In either case, he must have been the only possessor and must have possessed the land without any interruption by your or anyone else. Every time you visit your property, the period starts all over again. In all cases once you have this written agreement your neighbours cannot obtain ownership of your land.