Many home buyers in Cyprus purchase their homes without title deeds because of the system in Cyprus and the lengthy process that is involved. Many home buyers go through the process with out truly understanding it until they must sell. Most buyers think that they will not have this problem when they purchase and many believe that they will hold on to their property for many years and will have received the title deeds by then.
Then, for some reason the owner wants to sell without the deeds. What do you need to do? Here are the details of the procedure that will occur during the selling or buying process which is good to know in both scenarios. The Cypriot legal system requires that every sale of property is to go through a tax system which is either capital gain tax or income tax. The income tax is imposed for dealers and developers or individuals who may buy and sell more than 2 to 3 properties. The capital gain taxes are estimated in the region of 20% after the following deductions are made-
- The original purchase price
- Any costs you can prove that they were made for the structural development of the property
- 10.000CYP per person as personal allowances
- The inflation for the period you had possession of the property.
In addition to the above, you should know that in the absence of a separate title deed, the only way to sell is to cancel your contract and a fresh contract to be signed between the developers and the new buyers. This may create additional costs called cancellation fees. The amount to be paid depends on the developers you bought from. Additionally you will be asked to pay the cancellation contract stamp duty which is 150 CYP for properties up to 100, 000 and 2% per thousand above 100,000 CYP. Procedures concerning the sales should be handled by lawyers who are familiar with the relevant procedures and they could undertake the relevant responsibilities, both for the legal and the financial matters. Therefore, you should be prepared to pay legal fees which in our experience should be in the region of CYP1000 plus VAT approximately. The procedure to sell a property for which no individual deed exists covers on line the following actions-
- A preliminary agreement is signed between the seller (first buyer) and the new buyer (purchaser). In this preliminary agreement the parties commit to the price, the terms of payments, the delivery date and the deposit. The deposit in this case should be considered non-refundable and should be at least 10% of the purchase price, in order to create a proper commitment.
- The seller cancels his contract with the developers and settles any outstanding amounts including any cancellation fees.
- The cancellation agreement is stamped at the tax office (stamp duty) and an application is lodged with the tax office for the capital gain tax assessment.
- The contract of sale of the seller originally signed is withdrawn from the Lands Office.
- The new contract is signed between the developers and the new buyers and is lodged with the Lands Office
- The delivery of the keys and the payment of the balance takes place. At the same time the seller delivers copies of receipts of payments of the utilities bills.
The issue of title deeds is a concern for many and a system that many would like to see changed. It only makes sense to receive full ownership of any property that one purchases. In the meantime, we hope this helps.