PURCHASE OF PROPERTY IN CYPRUS
(A BRIEF OUTLINE)
Cyprus is popular as a place to buy a holiday home, a retirement home or property for investment. Here the prices are affordable and people can buy a villa, a maisonette or an apartment.
Property in Cyprus is registered on a Land- Registry system.
Foreign buyers, who come from countries outside the E.U. are entitled to the freehold ownership of a villa, an apartment or a piece of land with maximum allowed area of about four thousand and fourteen square meters. Legal entities owned by non Europeans may also acquire premises for their business or for residence of their foreign employees.
CITIZENS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
All restrictions regarding the purchase of properties in Cyprus by citizens of the European Union have been abolished since 2009.
If the Purchaser is satisfied with the property and its legal characteristics, a formal Contract is signed. This binds the Vendor and the Purchaser to buy and sell the property on terms and conditions that have been mutually agreed.
Formal requirements of a Contract:
The Contract of Sale must contain with certainty the following provisions:
1. The name of the Vendor, who has to be the owner of the land, where the construction takes place.
2. The correct name of the Purchaser.
3. The purchase price.
4. The date of delivery of the property to the Purchaser.
5. The date for the transfer of the property to the Purchaser.
6. If a house or apartment is under construction, a plan showing the property with the specifications for the construction.
Within six months from the time the Contract is signed, it can be lodged with the Land Registry according to Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law. This is something that the Purchaser is advised to do for the protection of his own best interests, because:
(1) Filing the Contract with the Land Registry is an impediment on the Vendor’s property.
(2) The Vendor can not dispose of the subject matter of the Contract without the Purchaser’s consent.
(3) It allows the purchaser to require specific performance of the Contract with a Court Order if the Vendor unreasonably fails to do so.
TRANSFER OF TITLE DEED
Transfer of Title Deeds can be effected when the time stipulated in the Contract comes and provided the Vendor is ready to do so (when separate Title Deeds for newly build premises are issued by the Land Registry).
For off- plan properties the title deeds are not available at the time when the Contract is signed.
After completion of the construction the Vendor applies for the ‘certificate of approval’. If there is no deviation from the original plans of the project, the Planning Authority issues the mentioned certificate.
With the certificate of approval in place, the Developer applies for separate title deeds, i.e. one title per apartment or maisonette or house.
If the title deeds are ready, transfer of ownership from Vendor to Purchaser is undertaken by a simple procedure through the Cyprus Land Registry Office, either by the buyer in person or by appointing a third party with Power of Attorney.
The government transfer fees, which are payable to the government upon transfer of the property, are on a graduated scale.