“Knowledge is Power!”
Most new buyers, who wish to have an initial consultation ask me the same question as soon as they walk into our offices: ‘What should we do now that we want to buy?’…. it seems very simple as a question, yet it is very crucial that you have some key information and documents prior to purchasing a property, whether it is your dream home or a little cozy holiday flat or investment related residential/commercial property.
I have a little checklist that I share with my clients and now I want to share it with everyone so that you are prepared for the procedure in real terms!
1. Power of Attorney to be represented by your Lawyer
Unless you reside in North Cyprus full time or speak Turkish to carry out all the below procedures, you will need a lawyer and an official representative to carry out things on your behalf.
Many buyers do give a ‘Power of Attorney’ to their legal representative during their visit in order to have the option to buy once they return home. It makes life easier and saves you from travelling back and forth each time your attendance is needed throughout the buying process.
A ‘Power of Attorney’ will enable your lawyer to carry out all aspects of the buying process for you and it is very easy to have one drafted and signed as long as you have your ID or Passport with you.
2. Surveys and Initial Controls
Surveyors can be used if you are buying a re-sale house. You may think that it is just another extra cost, but please do not. We lawyers are experts in giving legal advice, but we cannot inspect the build of the home you want to buy and advise you on the quality of the build.
I am glad to say that we do not see many properties without building permits these days, but it is a must-check! If your property has no permits then you will need to chase a lot of people, spend lots of time in the local government offices and spend a reasonable amount of money at the end.
3. Checking Title of Ownership
I would take my red pen and put a red star next to this item on the checklist. We always want to see the title deed and apply for an expedited search at the local District Lands Office. It is a huge mistake to assume that the Vendor is the owner and it cannot be otherwise! Yes, this is a small and a friendly island with lots of nice people, but you must ensure that your investment is safe.
4. Contract of Sale
Many people think you can just use a sample or copy and paste what your friends have used and not spend money on a contract. This is unfortunately wrong and please do not use the on-line sample copies. As great as they may seem, they may not be great enough to protect your interests and tend to leave you out in the cold! We do have lots of local laws and rules that are essentially very different to the ones in your own country.
5. Purchase Permit from the Local Government
Please remember that you can only have title deeds of the property transferred in your name when you obtain a valid purchase permit.
Locals do love welcoming different cultures and traditions and religions to share the beauty of living in Northern Cyprus. However, this is a small island and the laws were enacted to ensure that each new foreign buyer can buy up to a certain amount of land/house, by applying for a ‘Permission to Purchase’ from the local government. You can buy up to 5 donums (6690 m2) of land with 1 dwelling (house) on it.
Alternatively, if you are investing and wish to purchase more or if you are an investor, we can guide you through your options such as setting up a limited company or appointing a trustee.
6. Contract Registration – The safest way of protecting your investment!
There will be a period between signing your contract of sale and grant of purchase permit. During this period the title deed holder of the property is still the Vendor. To safeguard your interests, we can pay the contractual stamp duty and then register your contract on the title deed and hence secure your contractual legal ownership to your property.
7. Transfer of Title and Payment of Taxes and Charges
- Land Registry Transfer Fee – 6%. However, every person has a once in a lifetime exemption to reduce this tax to 3%. If you decide to use your exemption-option, you will pay 3%.
- VAT – 5%
- Contractual Stamp Duty – 0.5%
As soon as all your purchase permits are ready, you can proceed to have the title deed of your property transferred into your own name and the above taxes and charges will apply.
8. Wills and Estate
Making a will is very easy and you can ensure that all your belongings in North Cyprus will be shared between the people of your choice. If you do not have a will in place, our local laws will regulate who your heirs are and what they are entitled to have from your estate. Therefore, I do recommend that you have a will prepared and registered at your District Court.
Hope you will tick all of these off when buying a property in North Cyprus. Welcome to your new home!
ADVOCATE (Barrister- at- Law)
K & A Legal Partners
Alsevin is a UK qualified lawyer and a trained barrister, who specialises on property law matters and she has vast experience in conveyancing and local procedures. You can contact her on 0548 851 4040 or firstname.lastname@example.org