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Article by: Lewis Estates admin@lewis-estates.com Published: 09/02/2007

TRNC PROPERTY INFO

The timescale for purchase will to a large degree depend upon the type of title that exists.

Buying a Turkish or TRNC title property will require a number of checks to be carried out by the Ministry of Interior, and therefore this type of purchase will take approximately 4-8 months to complete.

There are a number of types of title deed in North Cyprus:

a) Foreign ownership pre-1974: For example British, with title deed. Property in this category provides the quickest route to purchase as there is no requirement for Council of Ministers approval.

b) Turkish Cypriot owned pre-1974: Before the property can be registered in your name, an application must be made to the Council of Ministers for approval. The procedure for obtaining approval can take up to 6 months.

c) TRNC: Absolute possession document - title deed. Land or property, originally owned by a Greek Cypriot prior to 1974, with title deeds issued by the TRNC Government on a points basis in compensation for land given up in the South. The owner of such a title deed is allowed to sell to foreigners. It seems unlikely in any settlement of the dispute between the North and South, that anyone who has been so compensated through Government issue of such a title deed, or indeed any subsequent purchaser of such title, will loose the value of such issue or purchase. We consider almost all such purchases very safe and we can advise you further on the purchase of this type of title.

d) Greek Cypriot pre-1974: Land or property, where there are no title deeds. Some people offer for sale, such properties without registered deeds for relatively small amounts of money. We advise against such purchases.

e) Contractual or "cases pending" land or property: These are properties where title deeds were never issued, due to delays at the time of the division of the island in 1974. Following the formation of a Turkish Cypriot Government, a statement was issued that all foreign land and property ownership, once registered, would be respected. This has been done and the first cases have been to court, and as long as the owner can substantiate his original payment for the property, then deeds are issued and are safe to purchase. Purchase before formal issue of deeds needs should be cautioned and subject to legal advice.

f) Lease from Government: It is also possible to lease land or property from the Government. These are usually derelict houses, which the Government will lease out for periods up to 49 years to foreigners who renovate the property at their own expense, and who pay a nominal ground rent for the lease period.

The process for buying a freehold property is as follows:

1. Decide the best property for you and agree price.

2. Contract drawn up by solicitor, setting down the terms of sale, i.e. price, timescale, vendor, purchaser, and any special conditions.

3. All relevant paperwork to be signed by vendor and purchaser.

4. Purchaser provides deposit.

5. Solicitor applies for a Purchase Permit from the Council of Ministers, (takes 6 to 8 months).

6. As soon as purchase permit is received, final balance due from purchaser.

7. Purchaser pays balance and Vendor signs title deed into name of purchaser.

8. Sale completed.

Buying from a foreigner (i.e. English, German etc.)

As some of the checks have already been carried out by ministry the process can be a lot simpler and quicker.

1. Decide the best property for you and agree price.

2. Solicitor prepares contract as before and sets timescale.

3. Vendor and purchaser sign contract.

4. Purchaser pays full amount, unless a delayed completion is agreed in which case purchaser pays a deposit and remaining balance on completion.

5. Title transferred to purchaser’s name.

6. Sale completed.

Process for buying a leasehold property is as follows:

The process to purchase is much the same as freehold purchases, however, instead of an application going to the Ministry of Interior, you must apply either directly or via a solicitor to the Ministry of Tourism, who will grant the leases.

At the time of application a deposit of 10% must be paid and held on behalf of the Vendor. Once the application is accepted, the sale can proceed to completion at a convenient time for both vendor and purchaser. At this stage the lease will be transferred into name of the buyer.

1. Decide the best property for you and agree price.

2. Contract drawn up by solicitor agreeing terms & conditions.

3. Vendor & purchaser sign.

4. Vendor applies to Tourism Office to transfer lease.

5. Purchaser applies to take over lease. (May include personal interview).

6. Once Purchaser application is approved, 10% deposit transferred.

7. On completion, remaining balance paid over to vendor and lease transferred.

8. Sale completed.

The typical costs of buying property:

1. Legal Costs including purchase permit application, e.g. TRNC or original Turkish title = £1250.

2. Property Tax = 6% of valuation levied by Land Registry plus 5% VAT (However, you can elect to reduce the 6% down to 3% once in your lifetime).

4. 1% Municipality Tax on 6% Stamp Duty.

NOTES:

1. When buying Turkish Title or TRNC Title foreigners are restricted to 1 Dönüm of land.

2. Deposits can be higher than 10% dependant on stage of build and developers payment schedule.

Cyprus Info

The island of Cyprus is located in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Its neighbouring lands at the nearest coastal points are Turkey 40 miles north, Syria 60 miles east, Lebanon 108 miles south-east, Israel 180 miles south-east and Egypt 230 miles south. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. It is smaller than Sicily and Sardinia and larger than Corsica and Crete. The area of the whole island is 3584 sq. Miles. (9250kilometers)

Northern Cyprus has four major towns, the capital being Lefkosa (Nicosia), which serves as the main administration and business centre. The other main towns Magosa (Famagusta), the country’s principal port; Girne (Kyrenia), the main tourist centre well known for its ancient harbour, and Guzelyurt the centre of the citrus fruit industry.

The British interest in the island dates back to the 12th century and has remained until present day with many British ways being adopted by the government of the Northern Cyprus. Therefore, the British are genuinely welcomed and the transition could not be easier, as English is widely spoken and driving being on the left hand side of the road.

Climate:

The climate of the island is an eastern Mediterranean type with long, hot summers and relatively cool, short winters. There are over 320 days of sunshine a year, the sea temperature is rarely below 16°C and rises to 28-30°C during summer months, making Northern Cyprus one of the healthiest places in the world in which to live.

Language:

Turkish is the official. language and English is the second language, and is widely used and understood in official and commercial circles.

There are several first-class Turkish language teachers available, and some British residents avail themselves of their services.

Time:

Local time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Shopping:

There is an extensive range of consumer goods and services available throughout the island. Many of the popular imported brand names are readily available and can be found in local supermarkets. Fresh local produce can be purchased from a wide variety of markets and small stores and there is wide range of wines and spirits at very low costs: retailing at approximately. VAT (KDV) is levied on most goods and services with rates ranging from 20% down to 2%.

Currency:

The Turkish Lira (TL), which has been in circulation since 1974, is the legal tender. The official rates for the TL are adjusted daily according to changes in international monetary markets. Generally speaking, all foreign currencies are acceptable at trading/tourist outlets.

Banking:

Northern Cyprus offers a well organised banking system, with all banking facilities catered for. Some banks operate their own branches in London and others have arrangements with major UK banks HSBC has a full service presence here. A deposit account can be opened with ease in Sterling or any other major currency and funds can be drawn in that denomination or in Turkish Lira (TL), which is the local currency.

Investments:

Foreign investment is actively encouraged, and those willing to invest in N Cyprus can be sure of a positive Government attitude.

1. Leasing of land for extended periods at favourable rates.

2. Import duty exemptions for goods concerning the project.

3. Government contribution to charter risk.

4. Contribution to brochure/advertisement expenditure up to 75%.

5. Exemption from income tax and corporation tax for a period of ten years in the case of investment in tourist accommodation units.

6. For public companies which have shareholders in excess of 50, tax exemption can be extended.

7. Annual interest and principal instalments of foreign loans enjoy a transfer guarantee.

8. Tourism establishments or hotels may deduct each year 20% of their annual foreign exchange gross earnings from taxable income.

9. Free transfer of proceeds in case of liquidity of investments.

10. Repatriation of profits without restriction or limitations.

11. Employment of foreign personnel who are not available locally.

12. Transfer of net income earned by foreign personnel is free.

13. Exemption of constriction licence fee.

14. Also deductible when calculating annual taxable profit are all travel expenses related to promotion and marketing, plus all kinds of advertisement, promotion and marketing expenses.

Investment Procedure:

With reference to the registration of a company, the legal form widely used for business undertakings in the TRNC, both by foreign investors and by local businessmen, is the private limited company. The provisions concerning the limited company are set out in the Company's Law, Cap 113, which is almost identical with the UK's Company Act of 1948.

Permission is obtained from the Council of Ministers for foreign ownership of TRNC registered companies, usually within two or three months of application. The foreign ownership can be from 49% to 100%.

A business permit is also required, which may be obtained from the Immigration Office.

Visas, Permits and Licences:

The TRNC is encouraging a policy of attracting foreigners to come and live and work in N Cyprus - in particular, to invest in businesses, especially within the tourism sector. This, of course, opens up a multitude of trades and businesses, from travel agencies, transport companies (whether land, sea or air), hotels, bars, restaurants, holiday villages, touristic related services such as water sports, recreational land sports such as tennis, golf, horse riding etc.

A foreigner coming to N. Cyprus to live and/or work must apply for the following permits; firstly, a temporary visitors permit from Nicosia, which involves the completion of a form and the supply of three or four passport size photographs. A full permanent residents permit is not usually issued until the recipient has been in residence in the TRNC for five years.

If you wish to operate a business in TRNC, the following procedure must be adhered to:

If you are to form a limited company, then you instruct an accountant to make the necessary applications on your behalf to the Council of Ministers, outlining the trading intentions of the company, share capital, directors etc. The formation of the company is obviously viewed more favourably if it has some Turkish Cypriot involvement, but it is quite possible to form a company with 100% British or foreign ownership.

A further application has to be made to the Immigration Department for an annually renewable business or employment permit, which is given once the Council of Ministers has given their approval.

You must also have a medical examination for clearance of TB and AIDS.

Finally, you register yourself and your company with Social Security for health insurance payments, the tax authorities, and the provident fund.

Once all this has been done, you may commence trading.

For retired persons, the residents permit is all that is required. Retired persons may bring into the country a full household of furniture. These are virtually tax free - a nominal 2 - 3% tax is levied.

Education:

General education standards in the TRNC are of a very high standard and are borne out by the fact that there are four universities based in Northern Cyprus. The majority of schools offer bilingual education starting with kindergarten through secondary school and finally university.

Medical:

The cost of medical treatment in the local hospitals is lower than comparative care in the UK depending of course on the type of treatment required. Accident and emergency facilities are available at local hospitals. It is recommended that you seek a local GP, many of whom have had UK experience, for many minor ailments. Private health care is also available through a number of international medical insurance companies if required. Dental treatment is of a high standard and charges are moderate.

Traffic:

As in the UK, traffic circulation is on the left. Road signs are international. There is a large selection of car hire companies with a variety of vehicles at favourable rates, from £10 per day in the winter to £15+ in the peak season.

Employment:

There is no acute unemployment problem in the TRNC, and the number of registered unemployed has declined steadily since 1978. The official working week is 40 hours in the winter and 36 in the summer.

Churches:

The TRNC is a secular state with a predominantly Muslim population which welcomes Christian communities. The Anglican Church of St. Andrew’s, Kyrenia is conveniently located near the town centre and services are held on Sundays and Thursdays. All Christian communities are welcome. The Roman Catholic Church of Terra Santa is also based in the centre of Kyrenia with mass being celebrated on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. Other Christian churches are located in Famagusta and Nicosia.

Other Useful Information:

Electricity:

The supply is 220/240v AC 50HZ, with a standard UK 3-pin plug. Water: By mains supply and in some cases supplemented by wells. There has been a shortage of water in the past, however, the government has taken major steps to rectify the situation.

Telecommunication:

International telecommunication facilities are a rapidly growing sector of the economy. The company responsible for all telecommunication also provides telex, fax, telegram transmission and ISDN/e-mail facilities. When making international calls the cheap rates are from 20:00 to 08:00 hrs. Monday –Friday and all hours over the weekend. To dial from TRNC to UK dial 0044 and omit the first 0 of the UK code. To dial from UK to TRNC dial 0090 0392 then the area code, followed by the number required.

 

External Article Link: http://www.property-partnership.com/overseas-property-guides/overseas-property-guide.cfm?id=20

Article Link: http://www.property-partnership.com/overseas-property-guides/overseas-property-guide.cfm?id=20

Please contact the author at admin@lewis-estates.com for more information.

 

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