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In the crosshairs: the concept of private property, 23.07.2018 – Pursuant to a government decree that entered into force last year with the exception of residential properties and lands of certain zoning categories the Hungarian state has a right of pre-emption over properties situated at world heritage sites. The enclosure to the decree contains the actual list of these properties complete with plot numbers, 80 147 units in all.

Exploiting the ambiguous wording of the decree the municipality of the 1st district of Budapest is registering its right of pre-emption over every non-residential property (garages, retail outlets etc.) although the world heritage significance of a garage or a retail outlet is highly questionable. Such a limitation may even act as a psychological obstacle to a sales transaction because nobody wants to buy an encumbered apartment. To make things worse, garages are usually sold together with the apartment they belong to, which means the right of pre-emption indirectly limits the owner’s free disposal of their apartment.