ILN: BUYING AND SELLING REAL ESTATE - AN INTERNATIONAL GUIDE

[BUYING AND SELLING REAL ESTATE IN CYPRUS]

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KEY FACTS OF REAL ESTATE ACQUISITIONS UNDER CYPRIOT LAW

3. Ownership rights Real estate in Cyprus may be owned by a single person, or more persons collectively, it may be leased, and it may be placed under a trust. Ownership of the whole Where real estate property is owned by one single person, that person is registered with the Land Registry as the sole owner of the whole of the property. The Land Registry issues a separate title deed in the owner’s name showing him as owner of the whole 1/1 share in the property. Ownership of shares Where real estate property is owned collectively by more than one person, they are registered with the Land Registry as co-owners of the whole of the property, with each of them as owner of a specified share in the property (e.g., 1/2, 3/4, 4/56 as they case may be Separation/allocation agreements are possible to be concluded, to designate and regulate the co- owners’ rights over the different parts of the property. The co-owners can together lease or sell the property. Each of them has the right to mortgage or sell his share, subject to the rights of first refusal provided under the law for the other co-owners. Trusts and Beneficial Ownership The concept of “trust” is recognized under Cyprus law, and it is regulated by both statute and common law principles. Accordingly, real estate property can be made part of the trust estate and afford to the beneficiaries the rights that the settlor provides in the trust instrument. Trusts can be registered with the Land Registry Office over the real estate to which they relate to. The beneficiaries do not hold title over the real estate, as title is registered in the name of the trustee to hold it under the terms of the trust.

A. GENERAL 1. Introduction

Cyprus is a common law jurisdiction, and its legal system is based on the UK one. It is a clear and robust system which leaves no uncertainty as to the ownership status of real estate in Cyprus. The Land Registry Office in Cyprus (with district offices in each of the major towns of the island) records and maintains up to date records of ownership and interests over land. In parallel, Cyprus’ immovable property law, the cornerstone of real property ownership and transactions related to land, regulates the transfer of title, tenure, registration, disposition, and valuation of immovable properties in Cyprus and the creation of securities, charges,

and interests over the same. 2. Land Registry Department

The Land Registry Department was established in 1858 based on the model. It is said to be one of the most dependable and trustworthy worldwide. All rights, interests, and easements (for example mortgages, long leases, rights of way) associated with immovable property, cartography, registration, and of course transfer of title to immovable property, are monitored and registered by the Land Registry Department. Accordingly, purchasers of real estate property in Cyprus can have full knowledge of the status of the property they are interested to buy, as the information related to their potential purchase can be traced from Land Registry records prior to the completion of the transaction. Their purchase transaction would be registered at the Land Registry.

ILN Real Estate Group – Buying and Selling Real Estate Series

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