• Overseas property - is now the right time to buy Cyprus?

    Guidance

    Cyprus: buying property

    Info on laws and taxes for British nationals who wish to buy property in Cyprus.

    Introduction

    Purchasing property in Cyprus has a number of potential mistakes. The British High Commission recommends possible buyers to exercise extreme care when buying a property if the title deeds are not readily available, as it means your property could be at risk.

    Home loan liability

    It is common practice for designers to get home mortgages on land or property. If you sign a contract with a designer and there is already a mortgage, loan or claim on the property, then you are most likely to end up being responsible for that home loan must the builder, designer or landowner declare insolvency.

    You should ask your lawyer to check for mortgages placed on the land through a Land Browse Certificate which is acquired from the Land Computer registry. It should be kept in mind that in order to obtain a Land Browse Certificate one needs a pertinent authorisation from the Property’s owner. If you are made aware of a home loan prior to signing an agreement it is not likely that you will obtain the deeds in your name till the mortgage is settled.

    Legal representatives are not required to look for home mortgages immediately, although excellent attorneys should do this as a matter of course. In 2011 the Republic of Cyprus Government introduced a Specific Performance Law to provide an agreement of sale precedence over any pre-existing home mortgage nevertheless we still strongly suggest that you examine no home mortgages have actually been placed on the land prior to acquire to guarantee you do not face potential troubles at a later date.

    See Property For Sale in Cyprus Now

    Other problems most regularly raised by British nationals include:

    • legal representatives acting for both home builders or vendors therefore not independent
    • building works occurring without the appropriate planning approval or structure authorization (eg electrical energy or water).
    • fluctuations in currency and interest rates impacting home loans.
    • payment plans or fees not being consisted of in the preliminary agreement.
    • difficulty in getting certificates of last conclusion (deeds can not be issued without this).
    • problem in obtaining title deeds.
    • trouble in getting redress after problems are determined.
      With all property purchases, we highly suggest that you seek your own independent legal recommendations.

    You ought to seek competent independent legal suggestions on your rights and approaches of redress if you have bought a property or land and are coming across difficulties.

    The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the British High Commission are unable to provide legal advice or end up being included with disputes in between personal celebrations. Nevertheless, we direct British nationals to organisations who might have the ability to help and we can raise systemic concerns, issues which impact a number of clients, with regional authorities.

    You can look at the Association of International Property Professionals website to see if a company or legal advisor are members.

    Buying property in the north of Cyprus.

    The ownership of many residential or commercial properties is challenged in the north of Cyprus, with thousands of claims to ownership from people displaced in 1974. Purchase of these properties could have severe financial and legal ramifications. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in a variety of cases that owners of property in northern Cyprus before 1974 continue to be considered the legal owners of that property.

    Buyers could deal with legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, along with attempts to enforce judgments from these courts in other places in the EU, including the UK. There has been at least one effective case to implement judgments in the UK, putting at risk property owned in the UK.

    The leaders of both neighborhoods are currently in negotiations to attempt to resolve the Cyprus issue. One key issue is property and the handling of pre-1974 Greek Cypriot title-owned property. Homeowner and prospective buyers ought to likewise consider that a future settlement of the Cyprus concern might have severe repercussions for property they acquire, consisting of the possible restitution of the property to its original owner, in addition to compensation payments. In particular, potential purchasers need to consider the ramifications of any future settlement on land/property:.

    • in the north of Cyprus that was owned by a Greek Cypriot national prior to 1974 * ^ that was subsequently classified as exchange or ‘present’ land/property by the Turkish Cypriot “authorities”.

    Buyers need to ensure they are totally knowledgeable about the rules in the north of Cyprus in regard of foreigners acquiring property, including the requirement to acquire consent to the transfer of property. Even when acquiring pre-1974 Turkish title land, you might still be declined consent to acquire the land/property and no factor for the refusal may be given.

    On 20 October 2006, an amendment to the Republic of Cyprus criminal code relating to property entered into result. Under the modification, buying, selling, leasing, mortgaging a property or promoting without the permission of the owner (the person whose ownership is signed up with the Republic of Cyprus Land Computer registry, including Greek Cypriots displaced from northern Cyprus in 1974) is a criminal offense. The optimum prison sentence is 7 years.

    The modification to the law also mentions that any effort to undertake such a deal is a criminal offense and could lead to a jail sentence of up to 5 years. This law is not retrospective, so will not criminalise deals that occurred prior to 20 October 2006.

    Also files associating with the purchase of property in the north of Cyprus will be presumed by the Cypriot authorities to relate to the prohibited transfer of Greek Cypriot property and might be subject to confiscation when crossing the Green Line. Anyone found in possession of these documents might be asked to make a statement to the Cypriot authorities and could deal with criminal procedures under the 20 October modification.

    Any queries concerning the scope of this law should be made to the Republic of Cyprus High Commission in London or to the Ministry of Foreign affairs for the Republic of Cyprus:.

    RoC High Commission London.
    13, St James’s Square.
    London SW1Y 4LB.

    Telephone: +44 (0) 207 3214 100.

    Email: cyprusinuk@mfa.gov.uk.

    RoC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    Presidential Palace Avenue.
    1447 Nicosia.

    Telephone: +357 22651000.

    Fax: +357 22661881.

    Duty Officer: +357 99 660129 (for emergency assistance and strictly after workplace hours: 07:30– 16:00 (Monday – Friday).

    Email: info@mfa.gov.cy.

    Property owned before 1974.

    If you are a British national and owned a property in the north of Cyprus before 1974 (or the heir of someone meeting those criteria), please get in touch with the British High Commission by e-mail, marking your message to the attention of the Property Officer. If you want to attempt to reclaim your property, they will be able to inspect your file and encourage on what actions to take.

    The British High Commission is not able to help dual nationals in the nation of their other nationality. , if you are a dual British/Cypriot national you must approach your regional authorities in respect of claims for pre-1974 title deeds.

    .

    Buying property or land in the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs).

    Individuals considering the purchase of immovable property (such as land) in the SBAs require to be mindful that the approval of the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas is required under section 3 of the Immovable Property Acquisition (Control) Regulation 1972 for a non-Cypriot or for a non-Cypriot corporation to acquire immovable property in the SBAs.

    The requirement for approval exists whether or not property is presently owned by a Cypriot or a Cypriot corporation or by a non-Cypriot who has actually formerly acquired approval. Failure to acquire the approval of the Administrator suggests that the acquisition and registration of the unmovable property in question is null and void. The Administrator will give approval only in the most exceptional situations.

    You need to also understand that it is an offence for individuals other than “identified locals” to live in the SBAs for more than 28 days in any period of 12 months, except in accordance with an authorization issued under that Ordinance. Again, you might obtain a certificate of acknowledged home or an authorization, however the Administration just rarely consents to giving these.

    Additional information.

    A few of the problems that property buyers experience are very comparable throughout Cyprus. The British High Commission is not able to get associated with specific property problems or legal disagreements, however supports neighborhood associations that are devoted to solving the issues of property purchasers.

    Associations.

    If the company, or legal consultant, you have actually dealt with belongs to AIPP and you are dissatisfied with the services offered, you can write to the AIPP who have a disciplinary treatment.

    Legal recommendations.

    British people impacted by property problems must take independent legal suggestions from local legal representatives.

    Local cops.

    If you believe that you have actually gone through a property criminal activity, you must make a statement to the local police. Keep in mind to get a copy of the statement and ask for the incident number. Please note, there may be a time limitation in between the time of the alleged criminal offense and the time within which you make your grievance.

    Cyprus Ombudsman (likewise referred to as Commissioner of Administration and Protection of Human Rights).

    The Cyprus Ombudsman acts in the service of citizens, consisting of foreign nationals, in order to safeguard their rights and flexibility versus actions from any Cypriot administration. The Ombudsman has the power to challenge all bodies (subject to some limitations) and authorities of the central government and regional administrations in addition to anyone serving as agents or partners of any of these administrations in the fulfilment or execution of public objectives or services. Contact details are on their site.

    It is essential to keep in mind that the Ombudsman might not step in under the following circumstances:.

    • whenever the general public administration has not been involved.
    • in case of disputes or conflicts in between people.
    • after one year from the moment when the resident knew the occasions of his problem.
    • in the event of confidential complaints, without particular claims providing bad faith or any claims that may harm genuine rights of third parties.
    • in case of non-conformity with the contents of the judicial judgment.
    • complaints versus lawyers.

    Problems versus legal representatives practising in the Republic of Cyprus need to be addressed to:.

    The Cyprus Bar Association.
    Florinis 11, off.101, 1st Floor,.
    1065, Nicosia P.O.Box. 21446,.
    1508, Nicosia– Cyprus.

    Telephone: +357 22873300 Fax: +35722873013.

    Email: cybar3@cytanet.com.cy.

    Site: www.cyprusbarassociation.org.

    Grievances versus lawyers practising in the north of Cyprus may be made in writing to the relevant regional ‘Bar Association’. There is a different ‘Bar Association’ for each district.

    Initial examinations into complaints happen within the appropriate district but they are then passed onto the overall organisation, the ‘Cyprus Turkish Bar Association’.

    Contact information of regional ‘bar associations’:.

    • Nicosia: contact individual: Arzu İzveren, e-mail: barolarbirligi@hotmail.com phone: 0090392227 73 39.
    • Kyrenia: contact individual: Gürcan Bayramoğlu, e-mail: gurcanbayramoglu@hotmail.com phone: 0090392816 06 22.
    • Famagusta: contact person: Mine Vehit, email: mine-vehit@hotmail.com phone: 0090392366 16 88.
    • Morphou: contact person: Mehtun Muslu, e-mail: mmehtun@yahoo.com phone: 0090392714 69 93.

    Grievances against the legal system in the Republic of Cyprus

    Complaints against the legal system must be made to the Attorney General’s Office:.

    Mr George L. Savvides.
    Attorney General.
    Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus.
    1403 Nicosia.
    Cyprus

    European Commissioner.

    There is a European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Their address is:.

    Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.
    European Commission.
    1049 Brussels.
    Belgium.

    You can learn more about EU consumer rights on their website.

    Assist in the UK.

    We have actually published suggestions(Link) on which UK authorities to contact if you think you have been a victim of property scams.

    If you were living in the UK when you made your purchase you may want to call the UK European Consumer Centre. This is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) that has been established by the European Commission in co-operation with member states to help customers with cross-border conflicts. The UK European Consumer Centre provides details and recommendations on problems with buying across borders and can arbitrate when problems develop if they believe it might help.

    Address:.

    UK European Consumer Centre.
    Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
    1 Sylvan Court.
    Sylvan Way.
    Southfields Business Park.
    Basildon.
    Essex SS15 6TH.

    Telephone: +44 (0) 1268 886 690.

    Fax: +44( 0 )1268 582 225.

    Email address: eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu.

    Disclaimer.

    While we hope that this details is useful, please be aware that it is not meant to be the only assistance for potential purchasers to follow when considering making a purchase. In addition, we make no representation regarding the quality or accuracy of the information which is readily available at the web addresses listed in this guide, nor can we accept any obligation for the content that is hosted on them. We strongly recommend that prospective buyers of property in Cyprus seek independent legal and financial guidance at all phases of their purchase.

    The European Court of Human being Rights has actually ruled in a number of cases that owners of property in northern Cyprus before 1974 continue to be related to as the legal owners of that property.

    One essential concern is property and the handling of pre-1974 Greek Cypriot title-owned property. Property owners and potential buyers must also think about that a future settlement of the Cyprus issue could have serious consequences for property they purchase, consisting of the possible restitution of the property to its original owner, in addition to payment payments. Under the modification, buying, selling, leasing, promoting or mortgaging a property without the authorization of the owner (the individual whose ownership is signed up with the Republic of Cyprus Land Windows registry, consisting of Greek Cypriots displaced from northern Cyprus in 1974) is a criminal offense. We highly recommend that potential buyers of property in Cyprus look for independent legal and monetary advice at all phases of their purchase.

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