The legal system in Cyprus is mainly based on the British as well as the Greek legal system. Most laws are translated into English. In addition, the Land Registry is also based on the British one, which is probably one of the most reliable and advanced system in the world.
Legal fees are much more reasonable than other European countries.
The banking system in Cyprus is close to British system. They are all well organized and well equipped with the latest technology.
Non-Cypriots have the privilege to open foreign currency and local deposits without difficulty.
Cyprus banks offer flexible housing loans in foreign currency to suit a client’s needs.
Prior to purchasing immovable property in Cyprus, the prospective purchaser must be aware of basic principles governing the Law of Contract and transfer of property in Cyprus.
EU & non EU Nationals not residing in Cyprus can buy and acquire the Title Deed only one property on the island, (house or flat-this does not refer to land). However restriction only applies to EU Nationals if they do not have a valid residence permit in Cyprus. If they do have a residence permit then they may purchase as many properties as they want. To purchase a property in Cyprus they need the approval of the Council of Ministers-which is a mere formality. For EU Nationals, there is no restriction on the number of pieces of land they intent to buy irrespective of size or their residence status.
The Cyprus government states that for an acquisition of immovable property by foreigners the following documents must be submitted for the consideration of the application
1. Survey plan
2. Copy of the title of ownership
3. Copy of the building permit for the erection of the house/block of flats or for the residential development of estates. If separate titles of ownership have been issued for the flats of the block or if the house is mentioned on the title of ownership, applicants need not submit a copy of the building permit. For plots under division, applicants must submit a copy of the division permit.
4. Copy of the deed of sale.
5. Sectional view of the building or the flat. Very old houses mentioned on the title of ownership are exempted. A division plan must be submitted in the case of division of plots. In areas of residential development, the plan must be submitted showing the position of the house on the entire holding.
6. Area in square metres of the plot which is to be acquired.
7. Documents proving the financial situation of the applicants.
8. Copies of the pages of the applicants’ passports and those of their spouses (the pages containing the data and the photo of the holders and stamps of arrival to and departure from Cyprus).
9. Certificate of marriage of the applicants or relevant attestation of their Embassy and in cases where the spouses do not have the same surname and when the name of the husband is not written on the wife’s passport.
10. Copy of residence permit and work permit of the applicants in Cyprus.
11. Application COMM 145, completed clearly and in full.
12. If the applicant is a company or a shareholder in an offshore company, it is necessary to submit the certificates of registration, of shareholders and of the registered offices of the Company.
13. If the applicant is a Company, a copy of the company’s Articles of Association must be submitted and written information must be furnished on the company’s activities in Cyprus and the staff it employs, both Cypriots and foreigners with the social insurance numbers.
Residential permit is easily obtained for people living in Cyprus and who have purchased a property in Cyprus The applicant needs to submit an application and give evidence of secure annual income that supports him and his family. In addition, the applicant must submit:
a) A copy of the sale or rental agreements
b) Copies of pension or retirement income
c) Any other relevant income documents
d) Passport and three photos
The above application and documents may be submitted to the local immigration office in the area of residence
Title deeds are issued by the Land Registry Office, which is the only competent government department to register charge and transfer immovable property.
Examination of the Title Deeds or Certificate of Registration of the Immovable Property is essential.
By examining the registration certificate we ascertain the following:
A) Identity of the property in other words the Title Number and the location of the property.
B) Owner of the immovable property
The owner of the immovable property may be a person or persons or a company or companies.
An immovable property may be burdened with the following charges: Mortgage, Interim Order, Memo, Deposition of the Contract of Sale to the Land Registry Office
Any rights related to the immovable property such as access fees etc are mentioned on the title.
Contract of sale
A) Drafting the contract of sale
The Contract of Sale is usually drafted by an advocate who may be acting for both parties (Vendor and Purchaser).
B) Deposition of the agreement to the lands office.
It may be done in person and/or by the advocate of the Purchasers.
Transfer of property from the vendor to the purchaser
A) PERMISSION OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
A permission granted by a committee (district officer) under the instructions of the Council of Ministers is needed in order to transfer immovable property to aliens (non-EC residents).
For acquiring such permission, an application, must be accompanied by the documents mentioned below:
a) A site plan
b) A copy of the property title
c) A copy of the building permission
d) A copy of the contract of sale
e) A plan view of the house or apartment
f) The area of the immovable property to be acquired
g) A bank reference and a bank statement of the applicants
h) Copies of the pages of the passports of the applicants and of their spouses
i) The marriage certificate of the applicants or a relevant certification of their embassy, where the spouses do not have the same surname and where the name of the husband is not mentioned on the passport of the wife.
j) A copy of the residence and work permit of the applicants in Cyprus EC citizens who are residents of Cyprus do not need the permission of the Council Of Ministers. They only need to prove that they are residents in Cyprus.
k) Registration number from the Immigration Office (pink slip)
l) Application to the District Office
The transfer in the name of the purchaser is affected either in person or through a representative, by means of a Power of Attorney certified by a certifying officer. The following is needed for transfer:
a) Free property title
b) Stamped Contract of Sale
c) fumish of receipts of payment of all fees, charges and taxes burdened on the immovable property being transferred. Such fees, charges and taxes may be one or more of the following: (i) Immovable property tax, (ii) Urban immovable property tax, (iii) Capital gains tax, (iv) Inheritance tax (if applicable).
d) Certificate of payment of liabilities issued by the Sewage Board
e) Municipal fees
f) Community fees
g) Land Registry fees
The procedure of acceptance of the transfer is concluded by the calculation of the registration fees from the Land
Registry Officers and their payment by the Purchaser to the Land Registry Office.
The level of fees depends on the type of transfer and it is either calculated on the estimated value or on the purchase value of the immovable property.
Estimated value means the value of the immovable property as it has been registered in the records of the Land Registry Office.
If the purchaser has taken a bank loan or a loan from another organization, the transfer and mortgage in benefit of the creditor, take place simultaneously.
The Land Registry Office issues a new property title under the name of the purchaser and forwards it to the purchaser, following the transfer.
Fees and tax payable
(a)Transfer fees, payable to the Land Registry Office upon the transfer of the property to the purchasers The transfer fees depend on the purchase price as it is equally divided to each purchaser.
(i) For purchase price up to €80000 for each purchaser the fees payable will be equivalent 3% of the purchase price.
(ii) For purchase price over €80000 up to €170000 for each purchaser the fees payable will be equivalent 5% of the purchase price.
(iii) For purchase price over €170000 for each purchaser the fees payable will be equivalent 8% of the purchase price.
(b) Immovable Property tax (per annum)
(i) Up to €170000 (One Hundred Thousand Cyprus Pounds) there will be no fees payable.
(ii) From €170001 and up to €430000 the fees payable will be equivalent 2/1000.
(iii) From €430000 and up to €860000 the fees payable will be equivalent 3/1000.
(iv) Over €860000 the fees payable will be equivalent 3.5/1000.
(c) Capital Gains
Subject to numerous exemptions and indexation, a 20% charge is levied on the profit. A €80.000 tax-free allowance is made for own house provided that is your residence for five years and €17.000 for other property.
(d) Stamp duty for Contracts
(i) For purchase price up to €170000 (One Hundred Thousand Cyprus Pounds) the stamp duty payable will be equivalent to 1.5/1000 of the purchase price.
(ii) For purchase price over €170000 (One Hundred Thousand Cyprus Pounds) the stamp duty payable will be equivalent to 2/1000 of the purchase price.
Appointing a solicitor
You are free to use a solicitor of your choice or we can recommend one of the local area
Applying for a Mortgage
The local banks in Cyprus offer a variety of loans either in €s or foreign currency. The normal charge is the basic +2%. In the case of a mortgage, then there are mortgage fees involved, which are calculated at 1% on the mortgage amount.
No Inheritance Tax paid under Cyprus Law and this encouraging people to invest into the Island.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
The first €17,000.00 (per person) is exempt. In calculating any CGT liability the following are deductible allowances
b. Estate Agents fees (provided the agent is registered).
c. Improvements and fixtures and fittings-provided these can be established by of receipts. Capital Gains tax is then charged on the balance at the rate 20%. This allowance is a once in a lifetime allowance! However any unused allowance may be varied forward. If, however, the property sold has been the main home of the Vendor at least five years, then a CGT relief/allowance of €80,000.00 can be claimed.
The rate of V.A.T. in Cyprus is currently 15% V.A.T. on new property as it is charged as from 1st May 2004, at the rate of 5% for a property that is the principle place of residence, and 15% for secondary properties. For projects, V.A.T. is payable on the selling price of the property and land and building cannot be split. No V.A.T. is payable cases where an application for a Planning permit was submitted before 1st May 2004.
Cyprus is one of the lowest taxed countries in the World and the least taxed amongst the EU members.
For all Cypriot tax residents their total annual income up to €17,000 is tax exempt.
In addition Cyprus has double taxation treaties with many countries, so that its residents don’t pay tax in both countries. Cyprus has signed 26 such treaties, regulating in effect tax relations with over 40 countries.