Procedures for Demolition of Illegal Structures in Lithuania to Become Shorter

Structures built without permission can be demolished by their owners; otherwise, structures are demolished forcefully. However, so far reality has shown that in cases where owners avoid demolishing illegal structures, the procedure for demolish them forcefully is very complicated: it is often unclear, what should be done with the property found inside the structure or with the people who refuse to leave the building; the procedure for calculating the costs incurred during demolition and for recovering them is not detailed enough, and payments to bailiffs for the implementation of the procedure do not motivate them to act expediently and solve the issues related to illegal construction and demolition of illegal structures in a fast manner.

To speed up the elimination of the products of unauthorised construction by decision of the Minister of Justice dated 24 July 2016, the Instructions for Enforcement of (Judicial) Decisions were amended. The amendments grant more powers to bailiffs and include more detailed and explicit regulations describing the procedure for the elimination of the effects of illegal construction.

From now on, having chosen a company or any other person to execute demolition works the plaintiff will have the right to indicate such company or person to the bailiff when submitting a preliminary estimate of demolition and other related works.

Referring to the received documents, a bailiff will calculate the costs of elimination of the effects of unauthorised construction and will draw up the Order for Recovery with regard to the recovery of the costs from the debtor. The Order for Recovery, the calculation of enforcement costs, the details on the date and time of forced execution of the decision (judgement), on the management of structures or their parts left after the demolition of a building, on the custodian of the debtor’s assets, and other important information about the enforcement shall be sent by the bailiff to the parties of legal proceedings. The date of enforcement set by the bailiff cannot be earlier than 20 days after the date the aforementioned documents are sent off to the debtor.

Should the court adopt a decision to evict persons from a building to be demolished or its part to be destroyed, first a court ruling regarding the eviction of persons will be enforced. Once people are evicted, the building will be demolished or its part will be destroyed in accordance with the established order. After the enforcement of the judgement on the eviction of persons, also in cases where the court has not adopted a decision on eviction of persons from a building to be demolished or its part to be destroyed, all persons found inside such building or its part during the demolition or destruction works will be considered and treated as obstacles and the bailiff will have the right and the obligation to remove them and call the police.

To speed up the eviction of persons from illegal structures, the amendment of the Code of Civil Procedure which will allow for the eviction of persons from illegally built structures without a court ruling with the participation of the police will come into force as of 1 January 2017. Persons who will not satisfy the bailiff’s demand or will prevent the bailiff from implementing any other orders of execution will be subject to a fine imposed by the court. If any assets are found in a building to be demolished, but the debtors do not take them or refuse to take the assets with them, these assets will be preserved (described, priced, transferred) and realised in accordance with the procedure established in the Code of Civil Procedure.

If the debtor fails to pay the costs of removal of illegal structures within the period set in the reminder sent by a bailiff or when such reminder is not sent, the enforcement costs will be recovered forcefully. To prompt the bailiff to take legal actions for the enforcement of court judgements related to the removal of the products of unauthorised construction, the amounts of enforcement costs and the calculation procedure were reviewed. As of now, the costs of enforcement for the recovery of actual demolition expenditure will be calculated separately.

Jolanta Liukaitytė-Stonienė, Senior Associate, law firm GLIMSTEDT

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