REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Environmental liability

Is the buyer of a real estate asset in this country responsible for soil pollution or contamination of the building even if it did not cause the pollution or contamination?



The Ukrainian Land Code provides for liability in the case of individuals and companies doing anything that contaminates the land with chemical or radioactive agents, or sewage, or pollution by industrial, everyday and other waste. Moreover, the law dealing with the preservation of the natural environment stipulates that companies whose activities have a harmful effect on the environment must equip themselves with any installations and facilities necessary for purifying or sterilising emissions, as well as minimising the effect of harmful agents. Those causing environmental damage are also obliged to provide compensation to those affected if they cannot prove that a natural disaster caused the damage, or that it was caused by intentional activity by the victims.

Although formally the liability should be imposed on the person who caused the environmental damage, in practice the controlling authorities tend to go against the current owner of the real estate, not tracing the history of the ownership of the real estate. Thereafter the buyer of the real estate may file a restitution claim against the person who caused the environmental damage.