Game of Thrones: Who Has a Claim to Your Possession?

Sam Orgill of ProACT Partnership on latest Developments in the Game of Getting Title Deed for Cyprus Property 

The changes in Cyprus in 2015 allow the land registry to issue title deeds to holders of contract of sale. This changed the dynamics between claimants to the title, and the new rules have been developed with changed approaches in all area as banks, developers, sellers and buyers battle it out to claim best advantage of the situation.  How are you doing in the game of title deeds?

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Historical Factors

Some contracts of sale date back to 1990 without title deed issue. Badly drawn contracts, vendors disappeared, incomplete building permissions, developers with unpaid land taxes, banks with bad debt mortgages to developers, buyers who can’t afford property transfer taxes, buyers who have died, family disputes with buyer or seller.

This range of factors makes each case unique for the land registry, client and their advisers looking to secure keys to their castle.  Let’s be clear the human right to own title deeds is a fundamental principle of EU membership.  This is an area that the EU and Cyprus government are committed to resolving. The new laws will allow title deeds to be issued – for you to be king of your castle.  The game is to assert your rights while the other interested parties seek to protect their own, different, rights and objectives.

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The Buyer is Right

The buyer now has the legal right to request the Land Registry in Cyprus to issue title deeds to the owner of a contract of sale, if they can prove they have paid the seller the monies due under the contract. The land registry will make checks but the only tax to pay after the issue of consent to title deeds  is to pay municipal and immovable property taxes for 14-15-16.

Any taxes the vendor did not pay after the date of contract to 2013 remain with the seller.  They are the taxes of the title deed holder.  The price they pay for not issuing title deeds to you sooner.

Developers could have created better contracts.  If your contract of sale doesn’t include a contract for paying the yearly taxes of the title deed holder, or for charging for managing communal areas, the buyer has no contractual obligation to pay the sums outstanding. After the title deed is issued you can then choose who manages your communal areas.

Tax Saving Tip: Don’t pay the seller’s tax. Pay yours.

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Bankers

The mortgages the seller may have on the land are also removed from the issued title deed, removing the risk of repossession of the property from the seller.  Previously the bank fought and delayed the release of title deeds until the seller could pay off the mortgage. 

As you may imagine it is hard for any seller to pay off his bad debt on your land from years ago.  The new law forces the bank to deal with the problem they created by past bad lending policy. They keep the mortgage but not rights to your title deed.

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Planning

Building permits, planning permissions and licences are another reason, or excuse, for the delay in issuing title deeds.  Planning is no longer an issue for delaying an issue of title deeds.  It doesn’t mean that planning consents and boundary issues should not be dealt with: The new law means you can apply for your title deeds, get them issued to you with (or without) property on the title deed, and possibly with the outstanding planning permit noted on the title deed.

Having received the title deed you then have the legal authority to peruse any outstanding planning issues.  A right you did not have under contract of sale.  If your seller has obligations you can enforce this.  If the seller is not willing or able, you can now get this work resolved yourself.

ProACT Top Tip: Until you have you title deed, with building permits, and boundaries correct, you cannot sell the land and property, your kingdom is worthless. Getting the Title Deeds is the crowning moment to give you control of your destiny.

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Transfer Taxes

Further changes mean that in 2016 you have a 50% Property Transfer Tax saving on issue of title deeds.  In addition you can now pay in advance and save an additional 10% tax.  If you cannot afford the lump sum property transfer tax, you can pay over 12 months after the issue of title deeds.  Giving you time to sell and raise the cash to pay the tax?

Tax Saving Tip: Get your title deeds now to secure a 60% tax saving in 2016

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Inheritance

Cyprus laws of succession with forced heirship means only blood relatives can inherit in proportion.  Property law means gifts to family are Transfer Tax free.  Gifts in lifetime or after death are still subject to Transfer Taxes.

Consider a gift to Family Trust or direct to Family during your lifetime to protect your inheritance, save taxes, and avoid the cost and delay of probate.

Tax Saving Tip: Consider gifting Cyprus property to avoid UK inheritance tax, and probate cost and delay with ProACT Expatriate Advice

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Free Review – Tax, Wills, Inheritance, Property

Be king of your castle. Need help and advice to get Title deeds to Cyprus Property? ProACT offer a Free Review of your Tax, Wills, Inheritance and Property issues for Expats living and working abroad. Contact us to book a Free review. 

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Read more on our website www.proactpartnership.com/blog .

Sam Orgill - ProACT Partnership - Expatriate Advice  

Tel +357 26 819 424      Email info@proactpartnership.com

www.propactpartnership.com    REGISTER