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The COVID-19 epidemic and consequent restrictive measures strongly affected Slovenia’s economy, including the country’s rental market. The COVID-19 epidemic impacted all commercial leases, with tourism, hospitality, and to an extent retail among the sectors suffering most. Commercial properties with strong tenants such as IT & Life Science companies and public sector entities proved to be much more resilient than commercial properties dependent on tenants from distressed sectors.

The chain of general contractor and subcontractors behind large-scale construction and the occasional failure of certain subcontractors to obtain proper payment gave birth to the institution of construction payment agent, a form of collateral management. It was typical in the construction industry that subcontractors were exposed to circle debt. The construction payment agent is a unique statutory solution to eliminate such debts.

The chain of general contractor and subcontractors behind large-scale construction and the occasional failure of certain subcontractors to obtain proper payment gave birth to the institution of construction payment agent, a form of collateral management. It was typical in the construction industry that subcontractors were exposed to circle debt. The construction payment agent is a unique statutory solution to eliminate such debts.

Greece’s real estate sector has always contributed significantly to the development of the nation’s economy. It has to be noted that Greece is a country where home ownership rates are among the highest in Europe. Also, real estate was traditionally considered by most Greeks as a rather safe investment. Thus, real estate is favorably affected by tourism, which is another huge sector of the Greek economy. All of these factors led to the sector’s remarkable growth, which peaked in 2007.

Acquisition of property ownership in Kosovo is regulated by the Law on Property and Other Real Rights. The Law on Property, along with the Law on Cadaster, sets out the process of acquisition and registration of property in Kosovo. The Law on Property regulates the creation, content, transfer, protection, and termination of real rights, while the Law on Cadaster regulates the basis for the registration and recognition of the real rights by creating cadastral units for parcels, buildings, part of buildings, and utilities.

Unsurprisingly, 2020 saw a reduction in the A-listers on the Bulgarian real estate market, including investors in office, retail, and hospitality properties. The lockdown sent IT companies, which had been dictating the local office space market, into home office. The future of commercial and entertainment properties like shopping malls, cinemas, concert venues, and sports arenas remains uncertain – but tourism remains the hardest hit.

Estonia’s real estate market is going strong despite the uncertainties and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of real estate transactions was 20% higher and the total value of transactions 31% higher in the fourth quarter of 2020 than the same quarter the year before (and up 11% and 31% from the third quarter of 2020). As prices also continue to rise – the composite real estate index rose 10% year-on-year – Estonia remains an attractive place for real estate investments. Recent changes, further digitizing the transactions, are making it easier than ever for foreign investors.

Belarus has never been in the news as often as in 2020, which might serve as evidence that the country is currently facing challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst and revealed problems in the still widely unreformed Belarusian economy, while the political crisis hit the country hard. With the economy slowing down, demand for commercial real estate has dropped, and investors have put most of their plans on hold and have been monitoring the situation carefully, awaiting further developments.

The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia abolished “social ownership” in 1990 and introduced a universal type of ownership – private ownership. Legislation that followed the introduction of the Croatian Constitution specified how social companies were to be transformed into private companies. To establish private ownership over companies undergoing this transformation, the companies had to appraise the property used in their share capital. However, land that was used by said companies that was located in the zones for tourism-related purposes near the Adriatic coast (which we will refer to as the “tourist land”) was often not appraised in its entirety towards share capitals, as the intention was for it to become the property of the state for developing Croatian tourism strategies. Therefore, social companies performing tourism-related activities (e.g., hotels and camps) often appraised only buildings, while the land on which the activities were also performed was left un-appraised, yet continued to be used without compensating the real owner – the state.

Last summer, Romania’s Parliament adopted the controversial Law 175/2020 for the amendment and completion of Law 17/2014 on certain measures to regulate the sale of agricultural lands located outside the built-up area and to amend Law 268/2001 on the commercial companies’ privatization that hold in administration lands of public and private property of the State with agricultural destination and the establishment of the State Domains Agency.

Up until the adoption of the Laws on Property Rights in Republika Srpska (in 2008) and in the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina (in 2013), the only legal basis to obtain a construction permit and erect a lawful building was to first acquire ownership over the land on which the building is to be constructed, usually through a purchase agreement, as, according to the provisions of the applicable Laws of Physical Planning, as well as the general legal framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an investor must obtain construction rights over real property to obtain a construction permit for that property.

It is symptomatic of the importance of the real estate market that Generation Y – members of which are often referred to as “millennials” – is also, sometimes, described as “Generation Rent,” because so many young adults have been priced out of the housing market.

A year has passed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Austria and many legal problems remain unresolved. The problem seems new, but the legal provisions of the Austrian Civil Code em-ployed to deal with thae consequences of the pandemic are more than 200 years old, and were drafted in order to deal with quite different pandemic effects. The law refers to “extraordinary events” such as “fire, war or pandemic, major floods, weather events.” There is agreement that COVID-19 is a pandemic and therefore an extraordinary event in the meaning of the law.

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