It is known that the land lease contract comes into force from the moment of state registration of the lease right. At different times, different state bodies were authorized to carry out registration of this kind. In the period from 2008 to 2010, the registration was carried out by the Center of the State Land Cadastre; since 2011, the agreements were registered by the territorial bodies of “Derzemagenstva”. Since 2013, the Law of Ukraine “On the State Land Cadastre” and the Resolution of the CMU No 1051 have come into force, approving the procedure for maintaining this land cadastre.
With the adoption of these normative acts, the authority to conduct registration was no longer in the competence of the land resources of Ukraine. The registration of property rights and lease rights for land plots was to be carried out in the new “State Register of Property Rights for Real Estate”, and the state registration service (under the Ministry of Justice) was authorized to conduct this registration.
Since that moment, the farmer did not need to apply to “Derzemagenstvo” when registering the lease, it was enough to contact any state registrar or a notary with appropriate access to the register. Mindfully correct steps of the government towards the eradication of corruption, in fact, had many negative consequences. Automatic transfer of data from old registries to a new one was not provided for by law. Against this background, there were multiple illegal manipulations with the property of both individuals and legal entities. The double registration of the same land survey was started in all regions of the country. The precedents were of a different nature, there were isolated examples classified as misunderstanding as well as cases of mass registration of contracts, which, in fact, were targeted raider seizures of farms. The mechanism of action is quite simple – new tenant, knowing about the existing “breach” in the legislation, negotiates with the owner of the land and signs a lease agreement with him. Then, he applies to the registrar with an application for registration of this agreement. The registrar shall make a request to the territorial body of “Derzemagenstva” and the latter, in its turn, shall check the cadastral number for encumbrances in its registry. Typically, such requests are ignored and after 5 days, and without receiving a response from “Derzemagenstva”, the registrar conducts the registration of the contract, not even suspecting that this area is already in lease from another tenant. The latter has nothing left to do except to reverse illegal registration in court, which, as a rule, is long and expensive.
In order to suppress such frauds as well as to create a modern interactive database of the land bank, the land managers of the company “Agroliga” in cooperation with the legal department did a huge amount of work, which was carried out in three main stages:
o The first stage was the most ambitious and complex. Over the past year, we had to terminate prematurely all the lease agreements concluded before 2013. After that, the company registered the ownership rights of our shareholders in a new register of property rights and renegotiated with them more than 1,500 actualized lease agreements. As a result of the above confusion with the transfer of data, the rights to several land plots had to be upheld in court.
o In the second stage, information databases of lease contracts were created with a description of each site, and the digitization and visualization of fields was carried out based on the cadastral numbers received after verification and registration.
o o In the third stage, with the help of quadrocopters and drones, the field contours were measured in high resolution. We applied the resulting contours to maps created by cadastral numbers, which revealed unregistered land “clusters” inside each field as well as identified areas that were not used before or were used inefficiently. It was at this stage that the owners of the “not closed” land plots were found, which we helped to formalize their rights to the site and conclude a lease agreement with us.
Thus, we not only secured ourselves, but also introduced a system of accurate farming. It should be noted that all our equipment is a modern fleet of vehicles, consisting of John Deere combines and tractors, which have long been equipped with the newest systems of parallel (automated) driving and GPS navigation technology. Measurement of the contours of fields, their digitization and a modern fleet of vehicles will allow us to more effectively and progressively engage in agriculture.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance and scope of the work done. And despite the bureaucratic difficulties, we managed to bring the land relations in line with the existing norms of the law, prepare a modern database of contracts and create high-precision digital maps of fields.