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Unlocking the Essence of Cyprus Title Deeds

Michalaki, Pitsillidou & Co LLC > MP-Post > Unlocking the Essence of Cyprus Title Deeds

Unlocking the Essence of Cyprus Title Deeds

Title deeds in Cyprus are the cornerstone of property ownership, encapsulating a property's history and confirming its rightful owner. Every property's title deeds are meticulously maintained by the Department of Lands and Surveys in each City of Cyprus, serving as irrefutable proof of ownership. These documents are comprehensive, shedding light on ownership history and an in depth search which is based on certain instructions can reveal mortgages, long-term leases, charges, and court decisions, providing a comprehensive picture of a property's background.

Certificate of Registration of Immovable Property in Cyprus

The Certificate of Immovable Property Registration, commonly known as Title Deed, is obtainable through the Local District Office of the Department of Lands and Surveys which falls under the Ministry of the Interior of Cyprus, by application.

The Legal Framework for Cyprus Title Deeds

The legal framework for Cyprus title deeds is anchored in several key legislations, including:

  1. The Immovable Property (Transfer and Mortgage) Law, 9/65
  2. The Streets and Buildings Regulation Law (Amendment) of 2011
  3. The Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance) Law of 2011, Law 81(I) 2011.
  4. The Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration, and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224

Trustworthiness of Cyprus Title Deeds

The British-established the land registration system in Cyprus which is widely recognized for its efficiency and reliability. With comprehensive records, it leaves no room for ambiguity about land ownership. Therefore, Cyprus title deeds are indeed trustworthy. This system initially started in the year 1912 and was concluded in 1920. Of course the cadastral plans property records and title deeds are being updated continuously.

Nevertheless, the Department of Lands and Surveys advises prospective property buyers to exercise caution on the following:

  • Request title deeds and inquire about their absence if applicable. Seek professional advice from lawyers in such cases examining irregularities .
  • Understand and account for VAT and transfer fees.
  • Verify the necessary permissions and certificates for existing structures on the land such as Town Planning permit with all the schedules and Building Permit also with full schedules accompanied with the Approved Architectural Plans. Of course in cases where a purchase is done on a property such as purchase of appartment or a house or on any other structure and after obtaining the latest approved architectural plans, then those plans have to be checked with the on site building/structure status in order to see that no add ons and changes have been effected after the title was issued. If this is the case then any add on without permission is considered to be a criminal offence and is punishable.
  • Swiftly initiate the property transfer process upon purchase to safeguard your interests.
  • Conduct due diligence, ideally through a real estate property lawyer or personally, by obtaining a Search certificate from the Department of Lands and Surveys and all permits and approved architectural plans.

Obtaining Title Deeds in Cyprus

Acquiring title deeds in Cyprus is a straightforward process. It involves a physical visit to the District Land Office where the property is situated or the application can be done electronically through the program called Ariadne:

  • Both the buyer and seller, or their representatives, complete the transfer forms.
  • Sellers fill out form N. 313 to confirm tax and fee payments.
  • In most of the cases, this process takes about an hour since its done by appointment, but title deeds issuance may require a few working days.

Cost of Transferring of a Cyprus Title Deeds

The cost of transferring title deeds in Cyprus hinges on the property's value, following these rates as specified in the Transfer fee calculator of the Cyprus Land Registry Department:

  • Up to EUR 85,000: 3% transfer fees.
  • EUR 85,000 – EUR 170,000: 5% transfer fees.
  • Over EUR 170,000: 8% transfer fees.
    For all of the above when is a used property 50% reduction is applied and when there is VAT then the above do not apply.
  • VAT is 19% unless it has already been paid and in other cases can be 5% under certain criteria.

VAT Reduction

A reduced 5% VAT applies under specific circumstances, such as:

  • When the property is the buyer's principal or permanent residency in Cyprus.
  • For properties with a minimum area of 200 sq m (with adjustments for larger families).
  • If planning permission for the property was submitted after May 1, 2004.

Recent legislation, effective June 16, 2023, revised the criteria for VAT reduction. It now applies to 130 sq.m of land for a residence worth up to EUR 350,000, with certain transaction limits. This change brings greater clarity to VAT reduction rules.

Transfer of Cyprus Title Deeds

Transferring Cyprus title deeds is a streamlined process involving the seller's payment of pending taxes, completion of required forms, and payment of transfer fees by the buyer.

Navigating Title Deed Challenges

In the realm of property ownership, several hurdles may impede the availability of title deeds such as the following:

  • Mortgage Encumbrances: When a property is under a mortgage, title deeds may not be readily accessible.
  • Legal Problems: Legal issues related to the property can hinder the issuance of title deeds such as a memo from Court or otherwise.
  • Tax Obligations: In cases where property sellers or developers have not fulfilled their tax obligations, title deeds may remain elusive and hold buyers from obtaining their Title deed. Of course the Town Planning Law with article 90 and 91 is giving solutions to the above matter.

To safeguard your interests, we advise registering the sales purchase agreement with the Department of Land and Surveys within six months from the date of purchase. In instances where the seller resists title transfer, you can take action by repaying the mortgage and obtaining a court order for specific performance. This legal decree compels the seller to transfer the property to you.

Title Deeds for New Properties

When a fresh property emerges, the developer or owner initiates the title deeds process. Here's how it unfolds in Cyprus:

Certificate of Final Approval: The acquisition of a Certificate of Final Approval is pivotal and is usually obtained from the relevant authority, typically the Municipality which has a Building Authority or the Provincial Administration Authority.

Alternatively, the District Officer for the area may oversee this process.

  • Certificate of Final Approval Validation: The Certificate of Final Approval serves as validation that all building and planning permits were granted, and construction adhered to the approved plans. It confirms that no deviations occurred during construction.
  • Application for Title Deeds: Upon obtaining the Certificate of Final Approval, the developer or owner proceeds to apply for title deeds at the Land Registry.
  • Necessary Inspections: Supplementary inspections may be conducted to ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Boundary Verification: The Survey Department conducts on-site visits to verify property boundaries and compliance with minimum building distance requirements.
  • Official Documentation: Official maps and plans are prepared and entered into the system.
  • Title Deeds Issuance: Initially, title deeds are issued in the name of the developer or owner. Subsequently, during a property sale, the developer transfers the title deeds to the buyer.

Essential Considerations

Title deeds hold a pivotal role not only in property transactions but also in succession matters following an owner's passing. They serve as invaluable tools for resolving property disputes.

In instances where title deeds are absent, a buyer should exercise caution. While certain land transactions, such as short-term leases, may proceed without them but due diligence is strongly advised.

Anticipating Legal Reforms

Proposals for stringent legislation regarding title deeds in Cyprus are currently under review but await approval by the House of Representatives.

In Summation

Title deeds are indispensable legal documents encompassing property ownership, mortgages, encumbrances, and critical property details. In Cyprus, the comprehensive land registration system ensures that all land is registered, with title deeds issued and copies held by the Department of Lands and Surveys. While select transactions can be conducted electronically, property transfers require a different approach. While purchasing property without title deeds is feasible, it is advisable to seek legal counsel in such cases. Your interests are best protected through diligent guidance and always a close and detail examination of the property being purchased has to be done so in this way the approved architectural plans comply with the on site status of the property to be purchased.

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