The basic traffic commissions set up by the district administration authorities are currently being criticized by the state audit office and the media. The accusation: the farmer status was checked too seldom.
However, what does that mean? We want to answer this question in a simplified way for the Salzburg Basic Traffic Act.
Traffic, ie the transfer of rights or the granting of rights to real estate, is restricted by public law provisions. This is a matter that falls within the competence of the federal states. Each federal state has its own basic traffic law, in Salzburg the Salzburg Basic Traffic Law 2001.
In comparison to building plots, the transfer or granting of rights to agricultural or forestry plots is subject to stricter rules and approval must be obtained from the competent Land Transactions Commission. The traffic restrictions on agricultural land are intended to protect the peasantry and prevent speculation in agriculture.
In the event that a purchaser is not a farmer and there are no other grounds for refusal, the Land Transactions Commission must make the legal transaction public and other farmers have the opportunity to bid in the legal transaction. If a farmer bids at a price that is customary in the area, then the original legal transaction is to be denied. But who is a farmer now?
According to the Salzburg Land Traffic Act, a farmer is someone who manages an agricultural or forestry business as an independent economic entity and earns his living and that of his family entirely, mainly or to a considerable extent from it (full-time, additional or part time farming). A farmer is also considered to be anyone who wants to work in the same way after acquiring the business or land if he has the necessary skills due to practical work or technical training and there is no reason to assume that he will not be able to use this independent economic entity after acquisition will farm himself.
For the qualification as a farmer there is therefore an economic requirement in addition to the technical qualification. If the income from agriculture does not contribute to at least a significant part of the purchaser’s income, the purchaser cannot be regarded as a farmer within the meaning of the legal definition of the Salzburg Land Transactions Act. The Land Transport Act and the judicature do not answer the question as to when a significant contribution to progress can be assumed and whether this means an absolute amount or a certain proportion of the total income.
If an agricultural property is acquired with the intention of leasing the agricultural land, this does not represent an independent agricultural operation and would not be assumed to be a farmer within the meaning of the law, even if the purchaser had professional qualifications. The same applies to farming as a hobby without the intention of generating income.
For further information, please contact:
Stephan Gappmaier , Lawyer
Zumtobel Kronberger Rechtsanwälte OG, Salzburg
t: +43 662 624500
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