Is it legal to deny free land privatization?
More and more often state authorities and local self-government bodies deny people’s applications for free privatization of land plots. What is the reason for such denials and is there a way to challenge them? Bogdan Danilenko, expert of The Charitable Foundation of Social Development of Kharkiv Region, comments on the situation:
"According to the law, every citizen of Ukraine has the right for free ownership of one land plot per each type of use, as defined by Article 121 of the Land Code of Ukraine. The grounds for denial are: inconsistency of the location of the land plot with the requirements of legislation, land management or urban planning documentation.
Consequently, in accordance with the law, a citizen cannot be denied privatization of a land plot, except for the cases specified above. However, in practice, this happens quite often. The main reason is that the land resources of the country are limited. In fact, every citizen would simply not be able to get a land plot in the exact location where they would like to.
On June 7, 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has adopted Resolution No. 413, which approved the Strategy in the field of land relations. The strategy includes restriction of areas of agricultural land under state ownership within a region that can be transferred to private property of citizens over a certain period of time. The calculation is carried out as follows: in the current quarter citizens can be given land plots with a combined total area equal to 25% of the land area leased in the previous quarter. Attempts to limit free privatization were also present earlier, but this year it was for the first time implemented in a government act.
Such restrictions are already causing serious negative consequences: first of all, participants of the antiterrorist operation have suffered, despite the fact that the Strategy emphasizes the necessity of giving them the priority. For example in the city of Zmiiv participants of the ATO for several months now have been completely stopped being provided with any land, which has caused a significant social tension.
In reality though, free privatization is far from over. Participants of the ATO as well as other citizens have the right to privatize land plots. The restrictions currently imposed by the government are very likely to be temporary. And since no changes to the legislation of Ukraine were introduced, citizens can use legitimate means of protecting their rights: challenge decisions of state authorities in higher bodies and in court".