Real estate types
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All the real property can be divided into a number of types or groups. Some of these groups are distinguished based on a strict set of parameters enforced by the Latvian government, while other are less rigid and allow various interpretations about a certain real estate belonging or not belonging to a certain group. Property Guide Latvia distinguishes the following ways to distinguish real estate:
These are the major ways of grouping, which can also be divided into smaller categories, as discussed further in this article.
Definitions by law
The Latvian government stipulates one way of grouping real estate - by building process - as laid out in 'Categorization of constructions according to the building process' (Būvju iedalījums grupās atbilstoši būvniecības procesam; part of Cabinet of Ministers regulation nr. 500 (Vispārīgie būvnoteikumi), app. 1). According to this law, there are three types of buildings - Type I, Type II and Type III. Type I buildings are the simplest and require less documents to be submitted in order to build them. Type III includes the most complex and massive structures, which require more documents, as well as a number of permits to be acquired before beginning construction/renovation/demolition works. Type II is, in most cases, everything in between Type I and Type III, but formally it is defined as a group of buildings that is neither Type I, nor Type III.
Each group is defined by a set of parameters, such as area, storage volume, the number of floors, the projected number of people inside, etc. Type I requirements mostly set the lower range of these parameters (e.g. 'x or fewer floors'), while Type III defines the entry threshold for the upper range, and does not have an upper limit (e.g. 'x or more floors').
In the past, until June 1st, 2017, there has been another classification - legal classification by usage. It provided for legal terminology for various types of constructions based on their usage or, sometimes, formal parameters. Although now this classification is obsolete, many websites still cite it as valid, which is why Property Guide Latvia advises to exercise caution when encountering mentions of 'Classification of constructions' (Būvju klasifikācija; part of Cabinet of Ministers regulation nr. 1620 (Noteikumi par būvju klasifikāciju), app. 1)
Definitions by usage
Real estate groups defined by usage are primarily concerned with how a particular piece of property is used. This is not a legally supported classification, and it allows for different interpretations of the meaning of each group. It is mainly used by real estate market analysts and businessmen engaged in buying or selling real estate in Latvia. It should be noted that while these definitions provide precise criteria for distinguishing property, nowadays many pieces of real estate combine traits from a number of categories. In this case, the question of which category should be viewed as the main one is up to debate.
The three main real estate usage types are residential, commercial and industrial property, as well as land. The main function of each of these types is apparent from their names - residential estate is for living, commercial property is for gaining profit from it, and industrial property is for housing industry. Land, in this case, is a plot of land intended for some kind of use, whether it is building, extraction of natural resources or something else.
Definitions by a building project
A building project (dzīvokļa projekts in Latvian) is a set of architectural features that constitutes a building. All the real property pieces belonging to the same project possess the same key features of that project, or at least the majority of them. These parameters are usually related to the layout, materials or the general style of buildings.
In Latvia, there are 17 main residential building projects in use. The major parameters used to distinguish them are the number of floors, building materials and layout. The names of the categories, however, mostly reflect their history or the place of origins, and cannot be effectively used to understand the physical parameters of a construction.