How many properties am I allowed to buy in Northern Cyprus?
Under the laws of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) non-TRNC citizens are allowed to hold one property in their name of up to 5 donums or just over 1.5 acres (5 donums of land OR a house on land of up to that size), although multiple properties are easily and frequently purchased by foreigners by setting up a company or trust registered in North Cyprus or finding a trusted nominee to hold title for you. (Husband and wife qualify for one property – although if they have different passport surnames they may be able to have two). Properties can be registered in the name of an individual or a company. Contact our NCI advisors for advice on using trustees or setting up a TRNC company to hold the title to the property for you – this can also have tax benefits.
Are North Cyprus properties freehold or leasehold?
All properties in North Cyprus hold a freehold title deed. There is no leasehold in the TRNC.
Do I need a solicitor in North Cyprus or can I use my lawyer at home?
It is not possible to use your existing personal Conveyancing lawyer in the UK or other country of origin to purchase a property in Northern Cyprus. It is very important to appoint your own independent legal advisor in the TRNC as there are various important “on island” legal processes which have to be carried out to establish your ownership and which cannot be done by a lawyer outside of the country – the first is obtaining Permission to Purchase or P2P (see below).
Can investors buy without visiting the TRNC?
Occasionally investors who frequently purchase property sight unseen (without visiting) can set up power of attorney remotely via an Embassy or a UK-based TRNC lawyer (with a partner in the TRNC). Please contact us if you are unable to visit the TRNC and still wish to purchase. We advise against this process if you are able to set up POA actually during your visit as it is more complicated.
Can NCI help me find a lawyer?
At NCI we want to ensure that your interests are maximally protected the whole transaction and we can provide a list of recommended and trusted lawyers in North Cyprus who have the best prices, qualifications (often British trained), track record and efficiency. During your inspection visit or viewing day we can arrange a meeting with one of these. During this you should provide your lawyer with full information about the property or properties you have chosen plus all relevant details about any informal agreements you have made with the vendor regarding price, payment schedule and included items.
Must I set up Power of Attorney?
Unless you speak Turkish and live in North Cyprus full time, you need a lawyer! Setting up a limited power of attorney with a certified legal advisor in the TRNC is a free and very quick process. It is a power of attorney or POA ONLY for the process of buying property and is without risk to yourself. The only proof of identify required is your passport. Many visitors do this during their visit in order to have the option to buy once they return home. It is important as it enables the lawyer to on your behalf to sign documents if you are away from Northern Cyprus for long periods of time. Giving this power of attorney is usually without charge and enables all the important buying processes right from the contract registration, to putting the deeds into your name, to be done without you having to return to Cyprus.
When do I pay a deposit?
Buying a property in North Cyprus should be an enjoyable process and we at NCI want to take the stress out of your decision making. To reserve a property once on the island it is customary to pay a non-refundable deposit of £1,000 – transferable to another property with the same owner or developer. This can be paid to your lawyer or directly to the seller. However, many people like to reserve prior to flying out to view. To ensure your total peace of mind, if you wish to reserve prior to your visit, NCI have negotiated a unique 7 day refundable deposit which can be paid prior to your visit to North Cyprus giving you time to fly to see the property. At NCI we pride ourselves on our ethical approach and we would strongly advise against you doing business with anyone who asks for a non-refundable deposit prior to your visit.
What must I do before I get my title deed?
Before the title deeds to the property can be registered in your name, you will need to obtain what is called Permission to Purchase (often written as P2P in shorthand) from the TRNC Council of Ministers. (It is rare for this to be denied – the only situation is usually if the prospective buyer has a police record in their country of origin. This process is a positive one as it protects other TRNC residents by excluding those with a criminal history). The timescale for obtaining this is currently around 6- 9 months, during which period your ownership is fully protected by the Registration of your contract of sale at the land registry, which must be carried out by your legal representative within 2 weeks of the contract being signed. If a clause is inserted into the contract, it is possible to resell your property before taking title – this is a feature which many investors take advantage of.
What taxes must I pay when I buy a property?
There are three main taxes which must be paid. The first is a 0.5% stamp duty (current at July 2014) if paid within one month of the contract date. Please note, this is currently a very low rate – so we recommend buying sooner rather than later as this rate may rise. If it is not paid within this time, it increases until it becomes 1.5% if paid after 6 months. You will have the option to pay upfront or pay on transfer of title and pay a higher rate.
Once your purchase permission has been granted, your legal advisor will notify you and then fill out all of the necessary land registry valuation forms for the valuation of the property. It is usually at this point that taxes will be payable. The taxes are Transfer of Title Fee (again currently very low at initial 1% option for your first purchase). This is a % of the contract sale price. In addition, if you are buying a brand new property from a developer, you will usually have to pay 5% VAT to the government.
For more detailed information on taxes, please ask us for a copy of our guide to the taxes payable on property transactions.
What is a Contract of Sale and when is it signed?
Your lawyer will prepare a Contract of Sale to safeguard your interests. If your property is a new build, the Contract of Sale will include all important terms such as plot number, plot size, price, payment schedule, completion date with penalty clauses for late completion. All floor plans and specifications will be attached to the contract to ensure that the vendor is bound to carry out the construction work in accordance with these.
The contract will be sent to both the vendor and the purchaser for review. When both parties are happy the contract will be signed. Your lawyer will sign on your behalf only when you are completely happy.
How can I obtain Turkish Republic of North Cyprus residency?
Contact us for our NCI-recommended list of lawyers who are all qualified to give you advice on residency in North Cyprus. If you are planning to visit your North Cyprus property each time for 90 days or less on each visit and you do not intend to work in the country, you only need the 90 day visitor visa which is given automatically to those of all nationalities upon arrival at Ercan international airport (accessible via Turkey for all nationalities) or at the border to the TRNC if you are crossing from the South of Cyprus (please note that to enter the South of Cyprus you need to be a European, American or Commonwealth Citizen or hold a Schengen visa).
However, if you are planning to spend regular periods of time longer than 90 days in the TRNC you must apply for a temporary residency permit. This is extremely easy to obtain for all nationalities upon the deposit of sufficient funds in a local North Cyprus bank account to support you for one year and subject to a health check up and blood tests. Please note that temporary residency does not entitle you to work or open a business and if you wish to obtain a work visa or open a company, you should seek legal advice.
For any other queries about the buying process, please contact NCI on +44 207 112 8086