In Cyprus the buyer, and many times also the seller, is represented by a legal representative. The legal representative will help you throughout the affairs and will protect your interests only. As a buyer, you freely choose your legal representative, although we are happy to help recommend serious and competent alternatives. The legal representative checks so that there are no shortcomings and errors in the property register, that the property is not burdened by previous loans or mortgages and that no former bills are due for payment. The lawyer also seeks that there are no injunctions or other charges on the land/property, controls building permits, that the seller has the right to sell the property etc. If everything is in order, the lawyer draws up a contract that you need to sign or give written permission for your lawyer to sign by proxy.
When you buy a property off-plan or that is under construction, the lawyer provides a written guarantee in the agreement by both a date for completion according to building permits, drawings, etc. as well as a penalty/delay for the builder in favour of the buyer. Should the construction drag out too much time, the buyer should also be given the option to cancel the purchase, ie. get the full amount back including interest. Your lawyer will ensure that all agreements between the parties are in the contract and that the legal guarantees of the purchase of the property are in accordance with the laws of North Cyprus. The cost of hiring a lawyer varies between £1,250 and £2,000 and is paid by the buyer.
Your application to the Council of Ministers regarding your Permission to Purchase will be submitted by your lawyer. For this, the lawyer requires an unopened extract from the criminal records (in English) from your home country’s police authority, which shows that you have no criminal past. The application process may take time to be approved as there are many who are buying now but this does not affect you from moving into the property, renting it out or reselling it. When your application for a purchase permit is processed, the Council of Ministers makes searches in the land register, the military and the immigration authorities. If the result is positive, your application will be granted. In the unlikely occasion that your application is rejected, you can suggest another person to register the property in their name on your behalf. Once your application has been approved, you will be notified and preparations begin to transfer the title deed to your name. Only then will you pay the remaining 8% of the 8.5%.
Due to a law passed in 2008, it is compulsory to register the purchase agreement with the property register in the district where the purchased property is located. However, the property registry will not register a contract unless it is first stamped by the tax authority. The stamp duty cost is 0.5% of the purchase price. The contract must be stamped within 21 days of the signing of the contract. It is therefore recommended that as soon as the contracts are signed that the lawyer receives sufficient funds for stamping and registration of your agreement. Thus, it is best to transfer the money to your lawyer no later than 14 days after signing the contract. Registration of the purchase agreement with the property register serves as an important security for your purchase so that the seller cannot sell the same property to another person or to mortgage it.