In Cyprus, the buyer, and often the seller as well, are represented by a legal representative. The legal representative will guide you throughout the affairs and will protect your interests only. As a buyer, you can choose your legal representative on your own, although we are more than happy to recommend serious and competent alternatives to you. The legal representative checks that there are no shortcomings or errors in the property register, that the property is not saddled by previous loans or mortgages, and that no old bills are due for payment. The lawyer also double checks that there are no injunctions or other charges on the land/property, controls building permits and that the seller has the right to sell the property, etc. If everything is in order, the lawyer writes up a contract, in which you need to sign, alternatively, give written permission that your lawyer is allowed to sign by proxy.
When you buy a property off-plan, or that is under construction, the lawyer will provide you with a written guarantee in the agreement. The agreement will provide you with a date for completion according to building permits, drawings, etc.. It will also provide you a statement regarding a penalty/delay for the builder in favour of the buyer. In case the construction drags out over time, the buyer should also be given the option to cancel the purchase, i.e., get the full amount back, including interest. Your lawyer will certify that all agreements between the parties are stated in the contract as well as all legal guarantees of the purchase of the property are in accordance with the laws of North Cyprus. The cost of hiring a lawyer ranges between £1,250 and £2,000 and is the buyer’s responsibility.
The application to the Council of Ministers regarding your Permission to Purchase will be submitted by your lawyer. Your lawyer will require an unopened extract from the criminal records (in English) from your home country’s police authority. This document should show that you have no criminal history. During the approval process, you can still move in to the property, renting it out, or resell it.
When your purchase permit application is processed, the Council of Ministers will conduct background checks in the land register, the immigration authorities, and the military. If your results are positive, your application will be granted. On the rare occasion that your application is rejected, you can suggest another person on your behalf to register the property in their name. Once your application has been approved, you will be notified, and preparations will begin to transfer the title deed to your name. Only then will you pay the remaining 8% of the 8.5%.
After a law change in 2008, it is required to register the purchase agreement with the property register in the district of the property. The property registry will not register the contract unless it is first stamped by the tax authority. The cost of the stamp duty is 0.5% of the purchase price. Within 21 days after signing, the contract must be registered. Therefore, it is recommended that the lawyer receives sufficient funds for stamping and registration of your agreement as soon as the contracts are signed. Furthermore, the best option is to transfer the money to your lawyer within 14 days after signing the contract. Registration of the purchase agreement to the property register serves as important security for your purchase. This ensures that the seller cannot sell the same property to another person or mortgage it.