approval to have a property in Cyprus

Do you have a problem getting your Title Deeds?
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Superhoops
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Joined: 21 Jul 2008 14:57

approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Superhoops » 02 Sep 2008 15:23

Hi,
I've just received this email from my developers-
"I would like to inform you that we received the title deeds from the Land Registry office. The title deeds are on our company's name and in order to make the transfer to your name you have to come to Cyprus and go to the Land Registry office together. Please inform me when it will be possible for you to come. Also i would like to remind you that you have to apply to the Council of Ministers in order to get their approval to have a property in Cyprus. If you have already done that you have to bring that paper with you.

If you need any further information please don't hesitate to contact me again."


So at last I can get the title deeds but how do I "apply to the Council of Ministers in order to get their approval to have a property in Cyprus"? How long does this take? Do I need a solicitor?

I would appreciate our advice.
Thanks,

Seán



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Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Nigel Howarth » 02 Sep 2008 20:04

Hi Seán and welcome to the forum,

Assuming that you're an EU citizen, then at the moment, you do need Council of Ministers (CoM) to own property here (unless you've bought only land). But it's generally considered that this requirement will be lifted when Cyprus' 5 year EU transition period ends in 2009.

(This is something that your lawyer should have sorted out for you when you bought the property - it will take 6 - 12 months to sort out).

Obtaining Council of Ministers approval

Your lawyer will complete an application form and submit it, together with information about yourself and details of the property you want to buy, to the local District Office.

The District Officer makes further enquiries and prepares a report that he submits to the Council of Ministers for their consideration. In the meantime, any contract you have signed and deposited to purchase a property remains valid and you may take possession of the property while your case is being considered.

The Council of Ministers advises the District Officer of its decision. In turn, the District Officer sends you a letter of approval (a permit) or refusal.

It is unusual for the Council of Ministers to refuse permission to bona fide EU citizens and other foreign nationals.

When applying to the Council of Ministers, the following documents & information must be submitted:

1. Survey plan

2. Copy of the title of ownership

3. Copy of the building permit for the erection of the house/block of flats or for the residential development of estates. If separate titles of ownership have been issued for the flats of the block or if the house is mentioned on the title of ownership, applicants need not submit a copy of the building permit. For plots under division, applicants must submit a copy of the division permit.

4. Copy of the deed of sale.

5. Sectional view of the building or the flat. Very old houses mentioned on the title of ownership are exempted. A division plan must be submitted in the case of division of plots. In areas of residential development, the plan must be submitted showing the position of the house on the entire holding.

6. Area in square metres of the plot which is to be acquired.

7. Documents proving the financial situation of the applicants.

8. Copies of the pages of the applicants’ passports and those of their spouses (the pages containing the data and the photo of the holders and stamps of arrival to and departure from Cyprus).

9. Certificate of marriage of the applicants or relevant attestation of their Embassy and in cases where the spouses do not have the same surname and when the name of the husband is not written on the wife’s passport.

10. Copy of residence permit and work permit of the applicants in Cyprus (where applicable).

11. Application COMM 145, completed clearly and in full.

12. If the applicant is a company or a shareholder in an offshore company, it is necessary to submit the certificates of registration, of shareholders and of the registered offices of the Company.

13. If the applicant is a Company, a copy of the company’s Articles of Association must be submitted and written information must be furnished on the company’s activities in Cyprus and the staff it employs, both Cypriots and foreigners with the social insurance numbers.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
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Irina M
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Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Irina M » 19 Jan 2012 16:43

Dear Nigel,

This forum is the most helpful source of information that I could find in Cyprus. Therefore I am very grateful to you and everyone who helps to maintain it.

My parents have purchsed property in Cyprus, Paphos in 2007 and we are still trying to resolve various problems with Aristo. We are now in the process of trying to obtain a waiver letter from the developer's bank (we have paid out our mortgage in full) - and are receiving a silence treatment from them.

I noticed in your response above you menioned in relation to the Council of Ministers Permit that " it's generally considered that this requirement will be lifted when Cyprus' 5 year EU transition period ends in 2009". Are you aware of any developemnts on this subject matter?

Our solicitors (two weeks ago) asked us to provide the documents to apply for the Council of Ministers Ownership Permit and assured us that it is neccessary to have it before obtaining the title deeds.

Is obtaining such permit at the absolute discretion of the ministers? The application form which we had to fill in asked all sorts of questions relating to all of our assets movable and immovable, why is this neccessary? Have you heard of any cases when people did not get these permits?


Thank you,

Irina



Pantheman
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Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Pantheman » 19 Jan 2012 19:37

Nigel,

my understanding is that for EU nationals the Minister approval is no longer required, and I have not had to do this for anything I have sold to eu-nationals recently.

Non EU still need the permission and it is just a formality that as you stated, the solicitor should have applied for during the original purchase of the property.

Non EU person can only own a single property in Cyprus under their own name and I guess this is the reason for asking about other assests. if you wish to own more property in Cyprus, you need to form a company etc etc.

I have not heard of any case where permission has beed refused.

In the event you did not get permission, the title of the property cannot be transferred to you, but you still own the beneficial rights and are free to sell it as normal.

Hope that helps.

Pan


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Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Nigel Howarth » 19 Jan 2012 20:43

Hello Irina and welcome to the forum

I guess from you name that your parents may not be EU nationals? (I should explain that although I can see your email address, no-one else here can).

If this is the case, they will need Council of Ministers approval to own the property. As Pan has said, this should be a formality and is something that your lawyer should have dealt with on your parents' behalf when they purchased the property - and I have never heard of a case where the Council of Ministers has refused.

My wife and I bought property here in 1992, many years before Cyprus joined the EU. Our lawyer applied to the Council of Ministers on our behalf when we purchased the property and we sent him bank statements, details of our savings, investments and employment - and some payslips as I recall. It took about a year for us to obtain permission.

If you or you parents are in Cyprus, I suggest you visit the bank and speak with them about the waiver. In my experience some organisations are very slow at replying to emails, telephone calls and letters, and it is best to meet them and discuss matters face to face.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
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Irina M
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Joined: 19 Jan 2012 16:01

Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Irina M » 23 Jan 2012 17:10

Dear Nigel,

Thank you for your response, this is very helpful, but upsetting to find out that we may have to wait for a year to obtain the permit. My family is of Russian origin and my parents were recommended a very poor lawyer at the time of purchasing the property, hence we havent even applied for the permit yet.

With regard to the waiver letter, I understand that only Aristo can push for it as it has the relationship with the bank and not us.

Thank you once again for your help,

Best regards,

Irina



Irina M
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Joined: 19 Jan 2012 16:01

Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Irina M » 23 Jan 2012 17:33

Pan - Thank you for the explanation.

It is just a shame we were not told to apply in 2007 when we purchased, we would have had it by now.

I think delay in issuing the permission will delay even more obtaining the title deeds. And we do not live in Cyprus most of the year which makes it even more difficult to deal with various Cypriot organisations/authorities.

Am I right in thinking that it is a good thing that Cyprus law has a concept of beneficial ownership which can serve as protection to us in case the Developer's Bank tries to sell our proeprty if the Developer defaults.

Thank you



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Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Nigel Howarth » 24 Jan 2012 10:56

Irina M wrote:With regard to the waiver letter, I understand that only Aristo can push for it as it has the relationship with the bank and not us.
There is nothing preventing you from approaching the bank and asking for a waiver.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
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Re: approval to have a property in Cyprus

Post by Nigel Howarth » 24 Jan 2012 11:13

Irina M wrote:Am I right in thinking that it is a good thing that Cyprus law has a concept of beneficial ownership which can serve as protection to us in case the Developer's Bank tries to sell our property if the Developer defaults.
I'm not sure that 'beneficial owner' is a property description - 'owner in waiting' describes the situation better.

When your contract was lodged at the Land Registry for Specific Performance, it created a 'claim' (encumbrance) designed to prevent the vendor changing his mind about the sale or selling the property for a second time to someone else.

The bank will also have a 'claim' lodged at the Land Registry to secure the money it loaned to the developer.

If the bank's 'claim' was lodged at the Land Registry before your contract of sale and the developer defaults, goes bankrupt, etc., the banks claim will take precedence over your claim because these claims are dealt with in the order in which they lodged. In this case, the bank (or any other creditor) can apply to seize the property and auction it to recover the money it is owed - and this will include your property even though you may have paid the developer in full.

This is a very scary situation. There are three developers in Paphos whose companies have failed and another in Paphos - there is also one in Pissouri. Those who have bough properties from these developers face losing their homes and some are taking legal action in efforts to protect their interests.

So I'm afraid that a concept of beneficial ownership does not provide you with any protection if the Developer's Bank tries to sell our property if the Developer defaults.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
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