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Contact from a Łukasz Mróz about Krakow property inheritance is this a scam?

15 Jun 2017 #1
My family (Uk based) have been contacted out of the blue by a man purporting to be Łukasz Mróz regarding the inheritance of a tiny percentage (7%) of an apartment building in Krakow (extremely tiny considering there are six heirs in total here!). We believe the inheritance is real but don't understand the motives of this man. A google search hasn't revealed anything at all about this man who is claiming to be a successful barrister / solicitor and 'managing' the building. He gave us a website to look at but anyone can 'create' a website nowadays (as well as set up a company) and as a a result I really don't believe he is who he claims to be.

Has anyone else been contacted by this man? He has offered us 35k euros for our percentage of the building which we find very strange. Either its real and he knows he stands to make a massive profit out of the building if he buys everyone out. Or he is offering us a fake deal in order to somehow extract money from us in fake fees etc.

If we ignore this man and if this inheritance is real should we simply wait for the courts to contact us formally and deal with it then? I understand we would be liable for the debts according to Polish law and as this is a very old empty building (according to this Lukasz guy) I am assuming we'd be liable for some pretty large debts. As none of us can afford to pay these I presume the best course of action is to refuse the inheritance which we're happy to do.

All advice would be very gratefully received.
mafketis 35 | 11,186
15 Jun 2017 #2
Sounds like a scam to me. Is this a building that used to belong to your family?
gregy741 5 | 1,264
15 Jun 2017 #3
lots of property scams going on in Warsaw,thanks to Warsaw Major and administration being corrupted mafia.its well known problem in Warsaw.
terri 1 | 1,664
15 Jun 2017 #4
If you are a rightful owner of the property (even 1% of the total) the authorities will contact you. The best way is to contact Urzad Miasta in Krakow and ask them if the building that he mentions is subject to any legal action of recovery. They will tell you. Do not deal with anyone else. You will NOT be liable for any debts accrued if the building once belonged to your family. It will cost you nothing (perhaps a few emails) to find out if you have a claim on the building. If you have a claim Urzad Miasta (Town Hall) will tell you what to do next. DO NOT give any money to anyone. DO NOT sign any papers.
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Jun 2017 #5
DO NOT give any money to anyone.

Indeed. My impression is that this is an advanced fee scam.
inkrakow 1 | 98
17 Jun 2017 #6
It's possible its entirely legitimate - I know from personal experience that trying to do anything in a building where there hasn't been a 'podzial' can be a complete PITA and I too would prefer to buy my minority co-owners out to give me a free hand to do the renovation that is needed. I also know a few people who have done what this lawyer is attempting to do: bought a share in a building where some of the owners can't be found and then putting in the legwork to buying them or their heirs out. Anyone can do it and if you have patience and luck, you can indeed make some money. And I also know of people who own small shares in buildings but all the apartments have been occupied by the other owners and there is nothing left for them.

It's not advisable on relying on the authorities will contact you - they may not know you exist (especially if you weren't born in Poland) or where to find you and they don't have the resources to search around the world for missing owners (given Krakow's history, there are many such cases. If owners can't be found, the court appoints someone, either one of the other owners or an external person to represent their interests until they show up.

In any case, it's pretty easy to see if the guy is legitimate (a quick good search has turned up a lawyer with the same name in Krakow), and whether you or your relative indeed have a share in the building; ask him for the land registry number and look it up online on the Krakow court website. The land registry record should also show if the court has appointed an administrator. Then get your share valued by a valuer - if it's only a share in the building then it's going to be worth less than if it has a specific apartment/premises allocated to it. Then negotiate a better price, preferably through your own lawyer.
terri 1 | 1,664
18 Jun 2017 #7
I was under the impression that you couldn't buy (a share in the building) if there was no owner of the building to buy from. Who would you buy off? If the owners own parts of the building, they are very unlikely to sell. Everyone thinks that a share (1 or 2%) in a building are worth millions.
inkrakow 1 | 98
19 Jun 2017 #8
If no owner(s) at all can be found, then it's true you can't buy anything from anyone. However, there are plenty of cases where a building is in shared ownership and some of the owners are known. In those circumstances, any one owner is free to sell their share to someone who wants to go through the process of trying to find the others or live with the uncertainty. It's also true that many people think a small share is worth millions, which is nonsense, particularly if they don't already occupy any space in the building. That's why it's not an easy way to make money.
terri 1 | 1,664
19 Jun 2017 #9
Isn't it easier to get rid of (or politely ask to vacate the building) of all the other owners from a property and then own the property outright.

This seems to be a specialization of some firms who have a lawyer in their pockets.
inkrakow 1 | 98
19 Jun 2017 #10
Isn't it easier to get rid of (or politely ask to vacate the building) of all the other owners from a property and then own the property outright.

LOL! Owners moving out doesn't negate their right to ownership. Not sure how you would go about getting rid of owners who rightfully own or occupy the property (even if it exceeds their share). Forcing them out is illegal (and immoral) and even if you do it legally it's definitely not an easy process. And asking politely? Well I suppose you can always try...
Ziemowit 14 | 4,403
19 Jun 2017 #11
Łukasz Mróz is a partner in a lawyers' company: NIKIEL I WSPÓLNICY - Adwokaci i Radcowie Prawni - Kraków, pl. Axentowicza 6/3, tel. +48 12 632 71 02; +48 12 623 75 25. However, their profile says nothing about property market, it is banking and finance or capital markets.,adwokat-lukasz-mroz,pl.html

We have been present in the market of legal services since 1996. Our main area of interest is connected with banking and finance, investment services, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions.

Is your Łukasz Mróz the same person as their Łukasz Mróz?
OP ConfusedLady
20 Jun 2017 #12

Yes apparently he is a 'lawyer' for Nikiel and Partners. But I think he is working alone on this.

I will ask him for the land registry number and see if I can find out more...

inkrakow 1 | 98
20 Jun 2017 #13
You can check whether he is a registered to practice law here:
OP ConfusedLady
27 Jun 2017 #14
Thanks everyone!

I have looked at the land registry in Poland and yes the property exists plus I can see my relatives' names listed there. Unfortunately I cannot read Polish so can only get the gist of things! Łukasz's name is there too presumably as one of the owners.I contacted the land registry to ask if there was an administrator and they very politely informed me that I must contact them in Polish (its the law apparently!) but they were also kind enough to say they were not the administrator of the property in question. So don't really know how to progress from there. Is it likely this Łukasz is trying to buy out as many owners so he has a majority share or total ownership?
Ziemowit 14 | 4,403
27 Jun 2017 #15
Sounds like a scam to me.

So the theory of it being a scam has just collapsed.

My impression is that this is an advanced fee scam.

And even the theory of an advance fee scam has collapsed!

So don't really know how to progress from there.

The key question would be to assess how much the property is worth. If he offers you 35k euros for the 7% of your share, the whole entity should be assessed at half a million euros. It is obvious that he wants to earn something on top of that, so the next question would be how much is that 'top'. Now you don't tell us how big the building is and where in Kraków it is situated, so it's hard to tell what its approximate value could be.
OP ConfusedLady
20 Jul 2017 #16
Ziemowit (and everyone)

Thank you very much for your help. I am totally in the dark as to how to value the property. I can see it on street view - it looks like a 1930's style apartment building - grey & concrete. Looks like a quiet and relatively nice residential area (clean streets lots of apartment buildings but with some graffiti on 'our' apartment building). It isn't that far from the Old Town - walking distance I think. Its very close to the AGH University of Science & Technology and reasonably close to Park Jordana. Lucas did say in his first email it was empty and in need of repair. But on street view I can see the windows have curtains and one window is open. So I'm assuming now he means the specific apartment we inherited. Basically I think I would need to somehow alert the relevant authorities that we are the heirs and once we've been through whatever process we have to go through, find a good property valuer who speaks english...
OP ConfusedLady
20 Jul 2017 #17
I went to Krakow a few years ago staying next to Kosciuszko Park. The apartment is definitely in walking distance of the old town as we used to walk from Kosciuszko Park into the old town...
Ziemowit 14 | 4,403
20 Jul 2017 #18
I think you can check (searching by address) the mortgage register of the building on-line after first registering yourself on the site.
OP ConfusedLady
11 Sep 2017 #19
Update: My sister has now been contacted via Facebook by another Polish person called Jan Halberda regarding the same property. I checked him out on the registry and unlike Łukasz he is not one of the owners. Jan appears to work at a University in the Law department (according to LinkedIn).
Sparks11 - | 335
11 Sep 2017 #20
wouldnt visiting krakow for a few days be the easiest way to handle this and make some real progress? it seems you almost certainly have more to gain than the cost of a ticket and few nights in a hotel.

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