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The establishment and renovation of shopping centers will be governed by stricter rules according to a new regulation approved in the summer 2018. The so-called “Plázastop” (in English: Law on stopping malls) was introduced in 2012 for the purpose of preventing the spread of shopping malls. The regulation was originally planned to be in force until the end of 2014, however, it had been amended only in 2015 when the extension and establishment of shopping malls exceeding the floor area of 400 sqm was prohibited.

The new legislation is in force from 13 August 2018, and it requires commercial real estate owners to obtain a permit from the competent building authority for any kind of construction work, even if the modification itself is not subject to a building permit. The goal is to prevent the transformation of the loading areas into sales places, or to avoid the significant profile changes of the real estate itself.

Operators from the commercial sector expressed their dismay in connection with the change as they believe it imposes significant administrative burdens on SMEs, while large enterprises could face a decrease in the pace of innovation. On the other hand, the change could also affect the consumers since it will be even more difficult to serve them at a higher standard.