SERBIA: Real Estate Property Documents may now be officially issued by Public Notaries and Geodetic Organizations

On July 4, 2020, the Enactment on the conditions for issuing statements from the real estate sheet and the sheet of lines from the geodetic cadastral information system, by notaries and geodetic organizations (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 91/2020 – hereinafter: Enactment) which stipulates the conditions under which, in addition to the Republic Geodetic Authority (RGA), notaries and geodetic organizations may, upon request, issue statements from the real estate sheet in paper form to citizens has entered into force, all in accordance with the Law on Real Estate Cadaster and lines (“Official Gazette of RS” No. 41/2018, 95/2018, 31/2019 and 15/2020 – hereinafter: the Law).

According to that Enactment, the notary public issues the statement by taking data from the central register of the real estate cadastre through a software application provided by the Ministry of Justice and printing the same visual display, which contains the date of updating of that data. However, these statements are issued by notaries only when citizens request them for matter that cannot be done by notaries. Otherwise, notaries do not ask citizens to submit paper statements from the real estate sheet when they perform any legal work related to real estate transactions, but instead they check the status of certain real estate by inspecting the eCadastre, through the Judicial Information System (JIS), which is their official obligation.

The notary public not only prints the data from the RGA database, but also certifies the printed document with his/her signature and seal, i.e. encloses the clause on the certification of the document in the legally prescribed form, which is a public validation. In that way, the notary public issues the mentioned statement from the register he has access to guarantee that the data on the statement are identical with the data to which he has access through the JIS.

In addition to regulating the manner of obtaining statements from the real estate sheet, the public is certainly interested in the price of issuing them. It is known that obtaining statements and transcripts of real estate sheets in the RGA has so far amounted to 1,250.00 dinars for each real estate (administrative fee of 320 dinars + 930 dinars), for transcripts of up to 50 pages. The Enactment now stipulates that for the issuance of validated statements in printed form, the notary public, i.e. the geodetic organization can charge only a cost reimbursement fee, which cannot exceed 540.00 dinars, while for the statement in electronic form this fee is not to be charged, however it is still not being issued due to absence of electronic seal. For obtaining data and certificates for use in a specific case before a notary public, which are not issued to the parties, the notary public is not entitled to a reward and reimbursement of costs. Although at first glance it could be said that the issue of compensation, fee or any monetary cost for obtaining that document is fully regulated, it must be noted that in practice, however, not everything is so simple.

Namely, as can be seen from the text of Articles 52 and 53 of the Law and the text of the Enactment, they regulate the procedure of issuing statements from real estate sheet and line sheet, but not the procedure of issuing transcripts of real estate sheet. Although it is somewhat justified to defend the position that there is no problem here, and that it is only a matter of terminologically designating the same thing, the statement from the real estate register was clearly different from the transcript of the real estate sheet, in the previous practice of obtaining data from the real estate cadastre. Namely, as several real estates (cadastral land plots, buildings or parts of buildings) can be entered in one real estate sheet, it is usually necessary for the parties to obtain data only related to some real estates registered in a certain real estate sheet, and not on all, therefore it is cheaper to obtain data only on that specific real estate.

For that reason, data from the records of the real estate cadaster can be issued in the form of statement from the sheet of real estate (one or more real estates registered in a particular certain sheet of real estate) or in the form of transcripts of real estate sheets (when data are obtained for all real estates registered in one real estate sheet). Regarding the mentioned terminological and essential differences and in accordance with the current practice of distinguishing statements from real estate sheet and transcripts of real estate records, it can be expected that, in accordance with the mentioned Law and the Enactment, it will be possible to obtain only real estate statements from notaries and geodetic organizations, but not transcripts of real estate sheets.

This practically means that, if a party wants to obtain data from the cadaster office for several cadastral land plots and buildings registered in the same sheet of real estate using services of a notary public, he/she will have to submit a request for obtaining individual statements from the sheet of real estate for each of these plots and buildings, which in the end can be much more expensive than 1,250.00 dinars, which was the administrative fee in the RGA so far.

Finally, we can conclude that the subject of proper application and interpretation of the Law is not yet complete, and that its further amendments, refinements through bylaws and authentic interpretations can be expected, until there is a uniform interpretation of its norms to that extent that implies the application of the law in accordance with the principles of legal certainty.