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Legal & Corporate Law Firm
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Real Estate Law

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GENERAL

The location of the island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and Europe, its protective legal system, its superb infrastructure, and its excellent climate are some of the reasons which have led Cyprus to become attractive to foreign investors seeking to invest in real estate. In addition the fact that a non EU citizen may acquire permanent residence or citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus through investment in real estate in Cyprus, has given the real estate market a new impetus.

We are able to offer our clients the following services:

  • drafting and finalization of sales agreements, for buildings or land
  •  advise and payment of stamp duty on the sales agreement
  • lodging same with the land registry for specific performance purposes.
  • We also act on behalf of clients in order to obtain the permit of the council of ministers to own immovable property as an alien
  • We apply and obtain the approval of the VAT department for the refund on VAT which is applicable on the first 200 square meters of any newly constructed dwelling home.
  • We provide legal opinions on the applicability of VAT on land purchased for commercial exploitation or development.
  • We advise on the tax implication of long term leases; we draft such long term lease agreements and the lodging of same with the land registry for specific performance purposes.

 

APPLICABLE LAWS

There are a number of laws which regulate matters relating to the acquisition of immovable property in Cyprus and these laws can be divided into two categories:

GENERAL LEGISLATION: this category consists of a number of laws, which although not directly regulating matters pertaining to immovable property, they contain provisions applicable to rights which are relevant to immovable property.

The main laws in the category of General Legislation are the following: The Constitution of Cyprus:

  • The Constitution of Cyprus safeguards, inter alia, the fundamental right of ownership of property.
  •  Aliens owning immovable property in the Republic of Cyprus have access to the same rights and remedies as the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus in the event that any of their property rights have been infringed upon.
  • The Contract Law: The Contract Law regulates commercial transactions at large.
  • VAT Law of 2002, (as amended): Under the VAT law, a purchaser of property may apply to receive a refund of 14% on the applicable VAT of 19%. The refund of 14% is applicable on the first 200 square meters of any new dwelling home and it is applicable to one property per applicant and it is subject to the property being the dwelling home of the applicant.
    It is to be noted that subject to further conditions, VAT at the rate of 19% is applicable on land which is purchased for development or commercial exploitation.
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  • The Stamp Duty Law: The Stamp Duty Law enunciates, inter alia, the stamp duty which is payable on contracts relating to the sale and acquisition of immovable property and this is as follows:
    •  transaction the value of which is up to EURO 5,000 no stamp duty is payable.

    •  For a transaction the value of which is between EURO 5,001- EURO 170,000 the stamp duty which is payable is EURO 0,1.5%, (EURO 1.5% per EURO 1,000)

    • For a transaction the value of which is between EURO 170,001 and above, the stamp duty which is payable is EURO 0, 2.0%, (EURO 2.0% per EURO 1,000) with a cap at EURO 20,000.

    It is to be noted that the failure to pay the stamp duty does not render a contract of sale void but such a contract can neither be used in Court proceedings nor for the transfer of ownership of the immovable property in the Land Registry until the appropriate stamp duty is paid.

 

SPECIFIC LEGISLATION: this category consists of laws which are concerned specifically with transactions on immovable property

The main laws in the category of Specific Legislation are the following:

  • Acquisition of Immovable Property (Aliens) Law Cap 109 as amended (“AIP Law”). The AIP Law sets out some limitations for the acquisition of immovable property by aliens. The term alien is defined as any person not being a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus and includes a local company controlled by non-residents, a foreign company, and a trust which has been created in favour of an alien person. It does not, however, include citizens of member states of the European Union residing in the Republic of Cyprus, or companies based in Cyprus which are controlled mainly by citizens of member states. Under the AIP Law no alien can acquire immovable property unless the prior permission of the Council of Ministers has been obtained. Permission shall be granted to a bona fide alien who is seeking to acquire a flat, a house, or land (not exceeding three donums) in which he/she shall erect a house which shall be used as a dwelling by the buyer and his family.
  • The Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law Cap 232 (“Specific Performance Law. Under the Specific Performance Law, a purchaser of immovable property may secure the remedy of specific performance by depositing a duly stamped copy of the contract of sale of land with the Land Registry within six months for the date of its execution, thus preventing the vendor from transferring the property to another person or mortgaging it in favour of any financial institution.
  • The Capital Gains Tax Law52/1980.Capital gains tax is levied at the rate of 20% on gains realised from the sale of immovable property, and this includes gains from the disposal of shares in private companies which own immovable property. The Capital Gains Tax Law exempts, inter alia, the following categories of disposals from Capital Gains Tax:
    Gifts between relatives up to the third degree of kindred Gifts to limited companies whose shareholders are family members of the donor and remain as such for at least five years after the gift was made.
    Gifts by family companies to their shareholders, provided that the property given was originally acquired as a gift.
    Gifts made to charitable institutions or to the Republic of Cyprus Exchange of immovable properties