Title deeds are issued by the Land Registry Office which is the only competent government department to register a charge or a transfer of any immovable property. Careful examination of the Title Deeds or Certificate of Registration of the Immovable Property is essential.
By examining the registration certificate we ascertain the following:
Identity of the property (in other words the Title Number and the location of the property)
The title number and sheet/plan are unique elements, identifying the property and distinguishing it from any other property. The location of the property is mentioned on the top left-hand side of the certificate, whereas the registration and the title number and sheet/plan, on the top right-hand side.
The size of the immovable property is mentioned at the top left-hand side, stated in square meters (one acre is equivalent to 1000 sqm and a hectare to 10,000 sqm.)
As regards the size of the apartment, new title certificates analyse the meters of the apartment and the meters of the covered verandas separately, as well as the percentage that the apartment is entitled to the common owned areas.
Owner of the Immovable property:
The owner of the immovable property may be a person or persons or a company or companies. They are referred to by their identity card number and in the case of companies by the registration number allocated to them by the Registrar of Companies.
The share owned by the owner is mentioned on the left-hand side of his name in fractions or in full e.g. the whole part or ½ or ¼ or 32/74. Cyprus apartments and houses, which have been built in the context of a unified development plan, have a separate title each. Where more than one person owns the immovable property, a specific examination is necessary.
Contract of Sale:
1. Drafting the Contract of Sale
An advocate usually drafts the Contract of Sale. Such contract must contain all elements required by Law for a valid and binding agreement, including the following:
a) The name and particulars of the Contracting Parties.
b) Full particulars of the immovable property to be sold, such as the topographic plans etc, inventory and any other indispensable particulars.
c) Price of sale, terms of payment and foreseen interest.
d) Date of delivery of freehold and consequences of non-delivery.
e) Time of transfer and obligations of both parties for the preparation, such as the issue of a freehold title by the vendor and the ‘relevant permits by the purchaser.
f) All those particulars such as an insurance coverage and stamping.
Deposition of the Agreement to the Land Registry Office
It may be done in person and/or by the advocate of the Purchasers.
Transfer of property from the vendor to the purchaser
1. Permission of the Council of Ministers
That is a permission granted by a committee (district officer) under the instructions of the Council of Ministers in order to transfer immovable Cyprus property to aliens (Non-EU 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
i) The marriage certificate of the applicants or a relevant status certification from their embassy, when the spouses do not have the same surname.
j) Registration number from the Immigration Office (pink slip)
k) Application to the District Office
All these may sound a complicated and time consuming task but you no need to worry. Your Cyprus lawyer will do all these for you and we will recommend lawyers that have the right knowledge and expertise in this field.
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 the transfer:
a) Free property title
b) Stamped Contract of Sale
c) Supply 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 organisation, 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.
Again your Cyprus lawyer will deal with all that not you so no need to worry!
3. Capital Gains
Subject to numerous exemptions and indexation, a 20% charge may be levied on the profit you make after selling your Cyprus property.
A €85,500 euro tax-free allowance is made for your own house provided that it was your residence for five years and €17.000 euro for any additional Cyprus property. Other discounts include any payments made for the improvement of the property or for any additions to the property as well as the inflation rate.