How to work with the Cadastre
The Real Estate Cadastre is fundamental to the transfer of real estate. And from the very outset, it is necessary to have at least a basic overview of how it works and why it is so important. The main legal principle that you will encounter in connection with the transfer of real estate and the real estate cadastre is the principle of material publicity. For those who do not have such legal concepts at their fingertips, this can simply be explained as follows: What matters in terms of who actually owns land and property is what is registered in the public record, and in this case what is registered in the cadastre. The law then does not care what anyone claims, it simply applies what is registered in the cadastre! And you can also call upon this principle if any possible "inaccuracy" about who owns what arises and affects you. If you own real estate, it is good to check that this principle tallies with what you think is correct. More about that in the article, "Do you really own a property?"
For a full understanding of the functions and methods of the real estate cadastre, read the History of the Development of the Real Estate Cadastre in the Czech Republic. This is almost a thousand years of history!
However, it is not strictly, and luckily, necessary to know the entire history and all the prerequisites of how it functions in order to be able to get a feel for the real estate cadastre and obtain the information you require from it.
The cadastre is actually just a set of rights associated with plots of land. So essentially it shows us a long list of plots and the respective ownership rights to each of them (rights are here meant in the broadest sense, i.e. also the rights of third parties, restrictions, etc.) And it is necessary to be able to negotiate your way around such a database, because it is simply not possible to print the entire list off and go through it gradually from beginning to end. And this is because the plots are shown as part of a map of the earth's surface. The cadastre is not just a list of designations of plots with rights, but connected to the actual real environment of the world around us! This whole site is about the transfer of rights and obligations relating to real estate and how to achieve such things as best as possible, so this article also applies to the real estate cadastre from this point of view! But you will certainly find here answers to other questions related to the cadastre.
We have already said what a cadastre is and why it exists. So how to work with it and what do the parts of it mean?
The most common term that you will hear when dealing with the agenda is the so-called "title deed". The title deed is actually a list of all the rights that belong to the property. There’s more about this in the article, "Property Certificates in detail". However, we will still deal with it here because it is an integral part of the cadastre.
All we need to find out the necessary basic information is internet access and a web browser. The Real Estate Cadastre is found online at: www.cuzk.cz
This link will take you to the introductory page:
As we can see from all the links, the cadastre provides many various services. But in fact, these things are not so different. It is all still just data from the cadastre and, as we said, the database is extensive and complex. Yet mostly it is the same data, just presented differently to better suit the needs of the person requesting the data. As we are focused on real estate transfers, it is sufficient to concern ourselves with just one link on the home page. Specifically with that in the top left, where there is a picture of a magnifying glass over the papers and next to it is written "Nahlížení do katastru nemovitostí"
If we click on “Nahlížení do katastru nemovitostí”, we will see a bar of options to choose from:
As a rule, we select the option about which we know the identification data. If we need to know the details of the apartment (the most demanding as regards providing data), we will need to know the exact address of the apartment and also its number in the house. Then just click on the option "Vyhledání jednotky" and enter the necessary data. It is possible to enter the address according to the street address and number, or according to the municipality and postcode, but you must know the unit number exactly.
If you do not know the unit number, but you know, for example, the name of the owner (e.g. your own for verification), then you must search for a building (Vyhledání stavby), where you will only want the address and the cadastre will show you the numbers of all units in this house. Then click on the right one (n.b. you will see a list of all owners on the list of the building, but you can't click on the name directly). Above this list is a list of links and numbers. If you don't know the unit number, you have to go through them one by one until you see the one with the correct name you are looking for!
During the transfer, if you want to know what's going on, you need to either search for a unit like this as you can see at the bottom, or if you have a cadastral number from the filing, you can enter it directly. Finally, if you do not know any street numbers or addresses but you are interested in, for example, if your garden really reaches as far as the forest, or as it is according to the cadastre, there is also a map. You can zoom out to see the whole Czech Republic and then gradually zoom in to the place that interests you. (You need to have the land map + orthophoto checked at the top to see the aerial image and the cadastral map to be able to compare the two). However, you will only see the parcel number on the map, and no further information. You can enter them in the form "Vyhledání parcely", but you can also click directly on the map on the small icon in the bottom left, where "KN" is written. It will turn orange and when you click on the plot that interests you, and the info statement will pop up straight away.
And this brings us to the possibility of getting to the "summary" statement, which is actually like a title deed, but very, very simplified. However, here you will find the most important information you need to know.
The statement can look like this:
Here we can see that in the upper band we can re-enter any other search if this isn't what we're after. We also have information about the land. By law, buildings are part of the land and I dare say the vast majority now correspond to this stricture (but it was not always so). And that's why we see information about the land on which the building stands: its parcel number (through which we may have reached this information, or it may be useful to us later). And more information about where and how this land is specifically registered in the cadastre. We also see the owners and other rights holders; there is also the BPEJ list (BPEJ is a term related to agricultural land, so it is difficult to find any data in urban areas here); furthermore, restrictions on property rights (typically, if there is a gas pipeline through the land, or similar situation); a space for entries on anything else that may be relevant to the property and the potential transferor.
For this specific property, we can also notice the red text, "Objekt je dotčen změnou právního vztahu:" which is followed by a number that can be clicked. Even if it doesn't open, it shows you the case number I talked about earlier. In this case, it is specifically the establishment of a lien at some of the units located in this house. We will not learn any more from such a statement. We have the basic info, we see whether the unit we want to buy has not already been transferred to someone else, that it really exists, and that it is actually owned by the person who claims they own it. It should be the responsibility of anyone planning to transfer real estate to verify this data from this simple statement. Likewise, every property owner should check to see if anything suspicious is happening to their property. Today, various safeguards also serve this purpose. For example, the officials who watch over the cadastre for you and warn you when necessary if something is amiss. However, it is never good to rely one hundred percent on these checks and knowing at least the basic process of how the cadastre functions should belong to the basic education of everyone living in the Czech Republic. And yes, even people who live in rented accommodation! There is surely nothing more embarrassing than paying someone rent and then learning from the real owner that you've been cheated and they want what they’re entitled to, such as you paying the rent (again!), you leaving immediately, or both?!
The statement will only provide us with basic information. If we want to know more, we need to go in person to the relevant real estate cadastre. De facto, we can go to any cadastre office, but it may be the case that some information is not yet in the system and exists only in paper form. So in this instance, we will get it only at the appropriate cadastre. We can find out which one from the last line of the listing. We can click on it and get to the page with the exact address of the cadastre and opening hours.
Another option is to set up remote access to the Real Estate Cadastre, which will allow us access to the collection of documents. However, you need a legitimate interest in the property in order to do this and must undergo a more complex procedure. So if you need more accurate information regularly and in greater amounts, it's not really a good option. One or two trips to the cadastre office in such a case is a much easier solution.
You can come across a lot of abbreviations and names in the statement, which may not be clear at first glance. I initially tried to create something like a glossary for these, but there are so many of them and they can even be combined together confusingly. So if you need anything explaining it would be better to use this link to email me your questions. I'll be more than happy to explain.