Property Purchasing Checklist: 10 Things To Consider When Purchasing Property in North Cyprus

Property Purchasing Checklist: 10 Things To Consider When Purchasing Property in North Cyprus

This checklist outlines the top 10 issues to consider prior to and during the conveyancing process and how to ensure that the process moves forward smoothly and efficiently while keeping your interests protected at all stages.


1. Seeking legal advice from a lawyer from the outset

As in every other foreign country, the complexity of the conveyancing process, the requirements, restrictions and formalities make it essential to seek expert legal advice from the outset in order to effectively avoid unanticipated pitfalls and undesirable problems in the future. Purchasers who neglect necessary legal advice with a view of saving on legal fees, often wind up paying much more than what they had saved in order to rectify mistakes that could have been avoided if they had appointed a legal professional to protect their interests from the outset.

2. Types of Title Deeds

All title deeds in Northern Cyprus are issued by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and are guaranteed under the TRNC constitution. Although there is only one type of title deed that is issued by the TRNC called the “TRNC title”, the property market distinguishes 3 types of title deeds based on their pre-74 roots and origins.


i. Pre-74 Foreign or Turkish Title Deed

This type of title deed relates to a property which was owned by a foreign national or a Turkish Cypriot prior to the division of Cyprus in 1974. The ownership of this type of title deed is not disputed and is internationally recognised.


ii. Exchange Title Deed (Eşdeğer)

It relates to a property which was in Greek Cypriot ownership before the pre-1974 events. Exchange title deeds were issued by the TRNC government post 1974 to Turkish Cypriot refugees on a points system in exchange for waiving their rights to their abandoned land in the south. It is labeled as “exchange” land since the Turkish Cypriots had swapped their abandoned land in the South for an abandoned Greek Cypriot land in the North.


iii. TMD Title Deed (Tahsis)

TMD Title Deed relates to property mainly owned by Greek Cypriots prior to 1974. These types of title deeds were awarded to Turkish Cypriots and their families in recognition for their military or government service as well as mainland Turkish immigrants.


Should you wish to take legal advice on the speculative opinions for handling of title in the event of a solution in Cyprus or extra-jurisdictional claims please consult one of our lawyers.

3. Searches at the District Lands Office

A search may be undertaken at the District Lands Office to verify that the Vendor has legal authority to sell the property and to investigate whether any mortgages, injunction, court order, contract or other encumbrances have been registered on the property.

4. Boundary Check

It is advised to appoint a surveyor to undertake a boundary check and identify the exact boundaries of the property, to avoid boundary disputes especially in the case of a land purchase.

5. Zoning classifications and requirements

In the case of a land purchase first and foremost you must understand the zoning classification (e.g. – residential, mixed-use, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc.) as well as the zoning requirements and/or restrictions of the land (i.e the number of square meters, height and number of floors that can be built) to determine whether it will fit your needs. Moreover, the zoning of nearby land could also be checked to ensure that your plot is not close to an industrial or agricultural zone, which may affect the use and enjoyment of your property.

6. Access to the Property

It is important to check that that the property you intend to purchase has road access. If the property is landlocked you will not be able to obtain planning and building permissions for the property unless a right of way is obtained from a neighbouring land.

7. Off-plan property

If you are purchasing an off-plan property i.e before or during the construction, you will need specific advice on the terms of the purchase as the legal issues are much more complex compared to a turn-key purchase. If the payments are agreed to be made according to the stages of the construction, you must always check that each stage of the construction has been completed in accordance with the Contract of Sale before making any stage payment and obtain payment receipts for all your payments. Make sure that you inspect the property to check that it is fully complete before making the final payment.

8. Building permit

Some property developers tend to market off-plan properties before the required building permits have been obtained for the plans. Some may begin construction prior to obtaining the permits. If you intend to purchase an off-plan property or if the separate title deed for the property is not yet readily available, it is essential to verify that all the required planning and building permits have been obtained for the construction.

9. Amendments and annexes

For properties that have a separate title deed, it must be confirmed that the property is as described on the title deed and no amendment has been made after the title deed is issued. Any amendments or annexes, for instance a swimming pool, would require additional permits and licensing.

10. Taking delivery of your house

You may refuse to take delivery of your house if it is not finished within the scope of the Contract of Sale. Any such refusal must be in the form of a written legal notice with proof of receipt. Should you wish to take delivery of the house subject to the completion of missing/defective work thereafter, you must obtain a written undertaking from the Vendor to make sure that taking delivery does not amount to forbearance. Please contact us for further legal advice on this matter. If the property is fully complete in accordance with the terms, plans and specifications of the Contract you can move into the property and no additional documentation is necessary.

  • Gürkan&Gürkan
  • August 2019