Cyprus has enacted legislation that allows for the swift examination and issuance of title deeds to buyers of immovable property in Cyprus, notwithstanding problems that may exist on the part of the seller, such as mortgages or house and planning discrepancies. The relevant law was enacted on 4 September 2015 and introduced relevant amendments to the Transfer and Mortgage of Properties Law No. 9/1965.
In particular, articles 44IH to 44KST were added, regulating the conditions that would allow for the transfer of Cyprus real estate ownership in the name of the buyer and the relevant procedure that needs to be followed in this respect. The persons entitled to submit an application for the issuance of title deeds in Cyprus are the buyer, the seller and the mortgage lender.
As far as the conditions are concerned, the main requirements are the following: The existence of a valid contract of sale, which has been deposited in the Cyprus Land Registry until 31 December 2014 or later pursuant to a Court order allowing for its deposit outside this deadline. The submission of evidence substantiating that the consideration in relation to the above sale was fully paid or that there is a minor balance, which can be paid upon request from the Land Registry. The process involves the submission of an application and a modest filing fee.
In cases where an application is successful, the purchaser will be requested to pay the transfer fees within 60 days of a notice to transfer the property. If the buyer pays within the 60 days they will be entitled to a 10% reduction in the transfer fees or pay the transfer fees in 12 monthly instalments. If a purchaser neglects, omits or refuses to pay the property transfer fees within the stipulated period, the property will be transferred and registered in their name and the Director will lodge an encumbrance against the title amounting to 150% of the unpaid property transfer fees.
The law also provides for the rights of the stakeholders to oppose or object on various decisions. On 8 September 2015, the Department of Lands and Surveys announced the acceptance of applications for the transfer of Cyprus property into the buyer’s name in accordance with the new provisions of the Transfer and Mortgage of Properties Law No. 9/1965. It is expected that the examination of each application will require a period of 6-12 months from the submission of the application. In the course of this period, the Land Registry will consider the merits of the application, the satisfaction of the requirements and also, where necessary, inform any affected party, such as banks and developers/sellers, to be heard.
The Director of the Land Registry may request relevant information from any of the parties concerned that is necessary for examining the application.