Hungary’s Architecture Act to reshape architecture, zoning and urban landscape


On 22 December 2023, the Hungarian parliament adopted Act C of 2023 on the Hungarian architecture, which marks a significant shift in the country’s architectural landscape, consolidating and streamlining various architectural and building regulations into a single comprehensive code.

Most of the new legislation will enter into force on 1 October 2024 and cover not only general architectural issues, but also various related regulations on urban landscape protection, cultural heritage protection and advertising activities.

One of the significant changes in the building-permit procedure is that the new Act also transforms the simple notification of building activity into an acknowledgement procedure. This means that within 15 days, the building authority will monitor compliance with the applicable regulations and prohibit unlawful activity in the event of non-compliance.

Significant changes are expected in the rules of the occupancy procedure, most importantly that the architect’s declaration will also be mandatory for the issuance of the occupancy permit in certain cases.

The Act also introduces compulsory designers’ liability insurance for all buildings and landscaping works. This insurance will be regulated by a government decree to ensure the effective protection of the developers.

The new legislation should divert new property developments towards the currently unused older property stock instead of using new property areas for development on the outskirts of Hungarian cities. A three-level system of chief architects has been introduced with enhanced and reinforced competences, and the responsibilities of the municipal planning counsels have been broadened to allow them to intervene in new developments for the benefit of the urban landscape.

Based on the above considerations, the Architecture Act also introduces a complex system of tax relief possibilities and incentives for the renovation of properties with monument status, which will create a brown field cadastre that will summarise possible brown field investment areas. These incentives will support and prioritise investment activities in such areas, which is a basic principle of the Architecture Act.

The new legislation also introduces restrictions on the designation of new areas as building plots. Restrictions have been implemented on the green area ratio, which cannot be lower than the currently existing ratio. An absolute minimum of 3% has been recorded. In addition, restrictions will be placed on the designation of certain agricultural lands into the inner area or for building plots.

Changes will be introduced in the regulation of advertising by establishing that advertising may only be placed in a location in a size and form that does not harm the character, value, or traditional architectural image of the surroundings. The Act will create an advertising cadastre for certain types of advertisements. In particular, the placement of advertisements on residential buildings will become more difficult.

For more information on these changes to Hungarian building and development regulations, contact your CMS client partner or these CMS experts.