House scam

I bought a house in Veliko Tărnovo after a few months I received court papers saying the house still belonged to a previous owner. 4 years later they have taken the house off me. Very difficult to tell what exactly has happened but there is clearly corruption, I now have to fight to get my original purchase money back from my seller.
Has anyone else had an experience like this?

It hasn't happened to me, but I have heard of it happening to others. Sometimes what happens is the property is owned by multiple people- for example, my husband's grandmother was going to will her house to all four of her grandkids. When that happens, one can claim ownership enough to sell it, but then another one steps forward with proof of ownership, meaning the original sale was illegal.

Sucks to get caught up in. :( Hope you can get your money back.

It is frequently the case that a property has multiple owners however if the purchase is done correctly through the local Notary there will be no problem as he/she will conduct a search to establish ownership.

In Russia, there was/is the trick, that a property was/is sold, which had some ownership problem in the past. Like a child, which was deprived of its heritage, because ran away, or a prisoner, deprived of heritage. After sales, this legal previous owner shows up, and invalidates the sale. There were/are lawyers, doing history checks on the property, to avoid such scam.
Might be a good idea, to spend some money on such an evaluation.

Have you been scammed out of money  ?


The scam is that they claim they never sold the house wait for someone like me(English) to come along then claim house back.

But if you do it properly through the local Notary THIS CAN'T HAPPEN!!!!!!!!

I did and it can.

What is your advice to avoid getting into the same situation.
I'm looking to buy soon and assumed the notary was supposed to ensure the seller was owner

My own expirience from Russia: Notary checks _ACTUAL_ ownership. However, it is still possible after the sale to invalidate it, in case seller was not legal owner because of a violation of rights in the past. Like a previous sale without considering the rights of children. _I_ would only buy in BG after examination of the properties history by a lawyer.

Don't let my story put you off, I have bought a few other houses without issues. I think I just picked the wrong house. To be safe you need an independent lawyer and must instruct them to do full ownership search. I believed the notary was responsible but apparently not.
I love Bulgaria but I do think there is corruption, you need to be extra careful when buying anything of value.
Hope this helps

I am Bulgarian and I can confirm that this could happen in deed because the notary could be corrupt too. There was such case with a citizen of Finland in Balchik. The technical reason behind this is that we don't have common digital registry where each property has something like its own passport. Other countries from the former Eastern block have such digital registry since 10 - 11 years at least and this can not happen there. The info from the digital registry there has legal priority over any other unknown circumstances. Apart from the technical reason, the moral reason is something which can not be discussed here with several words.

I feel ashamed  for the people who did this to you. But if you sue Bulgaria in an external international court you will most probably win. Just do it. It is also good idea to contact some of the BG TVs and to tell them your story. Nova TV has a TV show dedicated to foreigners living in BG.

Very sorry to hear of your loss...sadly it happened because you did not go to the local Notary to complete the purchase. It is essential to do this for ALL major purchases from cars to houses.

Another scam they are pulling now is for someone ... one of the local people you have had working on your property and paying them, if you are not living there on a permanent basis and they know when you are away for a couple of months before you return ... they will sue in court for none payment and because you are not in the country and do not know this is happening the court will find against you for none attendance, and your house is taken...
Expats take a lot of money into Bulgaria and the locals only seem to be interested in working on scams to get the cash rather than working to earn it,
We have had properties in Bulgaria for years and not once have i had a good Bulgarian builder or labour they have all shown the true colours very soon and either produced bad work and very unreliable or have demanded more than agreed, and in a couple of instances soon after the work was done the house has been robbed ant Everything.. i mean everything taken and you know they have done it because they want more....I do all my own work now from the Drawing to actual building works it  takes me longer but the work is good and i know nothing will go missing or i will be held to ransom..

Absolutely,   This has not happened to me but it happens a lot.   Did you have an attorney handle the purchase for you?   If not there is probably nothing you can do.     The records of ownership are much better now but Buyer beware and be sure you have a credible attorney handle the purchase and examine his license.


I suggest that you become friends with the Mayor!

Hello there everyone :)
[at]Johnavann, to whom are your last posts addressed ?
Feel free to pen down the username of  the member in your post.
thank you very much.

Have a great day everyone :)

Johnavann :


I suggest that you become friends with the Mayor!

It's a bit funny because the Mayor and his friends were probably those creating most of the problems people experience with title deeds still today.

After the collapse of communism a law allowed to acquire by use/request state or municipality land and people just went to the major wich gave land he wasnt even sure he had control of or ownership.

the notary that did the sale is liable. You sue them not the previous owner.

bulgarian contractors are untrustworthy and useless. I've had similar experience not one did things workout Ok for me.

i believe there's a website that can tell you if your being sued, I'm trying to find it.

In a real rule of the law country probably but not in Bulgaria.

You have to demonstrate that the notary did took part actively in a scam.

Out of that it appears nobody is responsable for checking anything. Not even judges or courts or lawyers check papers and none of them is made accountable.

you are merely buying a consultancy without any warranty.

If they had to check the papers half of sales wouldn't be made in the first place as deeds do contain inherited problems who were not solved and simple solution is to close both eyes and wish for the best in their mind.

So,  If we all have the same experience, there must be some validation. 

The key is not to trust but to only pay on completion.  Perhaps pay for materials directly.


As people from more advanced legal systems, we need to become more active to alert everyone to the scams.   Please all, become more active.

Without being accusatory, I have seen some posts that blame all for not being trusting and accommodating.   Those are from fools!

There's a lot of newby idiots that have no idea about the reality of the corruption in the property market in Bulgaria.They need a good lesson in Bulgaria 101. I hope they get a LARGE education.

I hear that's it's not to difficult to prove. The single reason they are needed is to verify that the sale is legal. I've hear that people that have sued the notary's always win. It's a reverse onus in Bulgaria, they have to prove that they were not part of the scam.

In my 8 years experience, the only people who get screwed are those who do not follow the correct procedure...when buying property you MUST use a Notary...when buying a car you MUST use a Notary...SIMPLES!

Agreed but some have tried to scan foreigners. If you sue them you will always win. The poster that says you have to prove that they where in on the scam is incorrect. Bulgarian law has a reverse onus, the notary must prove they were not.

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