Permission to Purchase North Cyprus

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The property buying process in North Cyprus begins with the buyer obtaining their Permission to Purchase (PtP)
As a British Expatriate, or foreign property buyer, you cannot have your name on the Koçan (Deeds) of a property, or legally own a property in North Cyprus without first obtaining your permission to purchase. During the property building boom, obtaining permission to purchase was usually a long, drawn out process that could take upwards of a year to complete, or even longer. More recently however, with shortened approval times, applicants can expect to receive their permission to purchase within a matter of months.
Property buyers with their permission to purchase are able to have the Property Deeds registered immediately in their own name which avoids many of the problems usually associated with committing/buying/paying for a property before obtaining permission to purchase.
Permission to Purchase
What comes first - the chicken, the egg, or Permission to Purchase (PtP) ?
It's not absolutely necessary to use an Advocate (Solicitor) to buy a property in North Cyprus, but if you do appoint an Advocate to guide you through the property buying process, they 'should' advise you that obtaining your PtP is a legal requirement and therefore, an important part of the property purchasing process.
The official advice from the Government (The Ministry of the Interior) is that foreign property purchasers should obtain their permission to purchase a property in North Cyprus before they enter into a commitment to 'actually' buy a property, but is this practical ?
It is certainly 'good' advice because it means that the Deeds to the property that is being purchased can be put into the name of the buyer immediately upon signing a contract/parting with any money which completely avoids many of the problems that may/can arise when purchasers have committed to buying a property, paid a deposit and/or stage payments, or even paid in full and yet, can't have their names put on the Deeds to the property because they do not have PtP.
A Guide for Overseas Buyers (British Expatriates and Foreigners)
Important points for you to consider before you become engaged in the North Cyprus property buying process
Signing a sales contract and paying a deposit whilst simultaneously applying for Permission to Purchase
Having said that, many, many property buyers start the property buying process (enter into a legal commitment to buy) without their PtP and subsequently do not experience any problems, but remember, the 'official' Government advice is that you should obtain your (PtP) 'before' buying, or committing to buy a property in North Cyprus. If however, you are thinking about whether you should proceed with a property purchase whilst simultaneously making an application for permission to purchase and you have any doubts, before you decide one way, or the other, ask your Solicitor whether any of the clauses in their Sales Contract safeguard your interest in the property during the time that you are waiting for your application for (PtP) to be approved and what will happen in the 'unlikely' event that your application for permisson to purchase is declined.
Your Solicitor may suggest, if your (PtP) is declined (for whatever reason), that you can nominate someone and put 'your' property in 'their' name for them to hold the property on trust for you. This solution presents other considerations/problems. Firstly, another (PtP) application will have to be made in 'their' name. How much will this cost ? Secondly, how long does it take and how much does it cost to set up a Deed of Trust and how secure are they ?
Applying for Permission to Purchase before committing to a property
Above, we question whether it is practical to apply for and obtain permission to purchase before committing to a property purchase. Here are several observations :-
Firstly, it will be difficult, but not impossible to get the Vendor to agree to a sale on your chosen property, subject to you eventually receiving your permission to purchase which can take three to six months. The Vendor may agree, but this raises a number of issues: (i) What happens if someone else comes along who offers to purchase 'your' property whilst you are waiting for PtP approval ? They may even gazump you. Will the Vendor just simply cancel your sale and agree another with the new purchaser ? (ii) What happens if the Vendor agrees, but also stipulates that you pay a non-returnable deposit ? (iii) What happens, if whilst you are waiting for PtP approval, property prices increase ? The Vendor may insist on inserting a clause in the Sales Contract that allows them to increase the price of the property, or just sell it to another customer ?
Secondly, bearing in mind the Government's advice - to apply for and obtain Permission to Purchase before committing to a Property - as, to support the PtP application, you are asked to supply (among other documents), the Tapu (Land) Office's site plan for the property, a copy of the property's Deed and a copy of the Sales Agreement, it is impossible for potential purchasers who want to apply for and obtain their Permission to Purchase before they start looking for a property as they will not be able to supply the required documents because they haven't yet chosen a property.
Next, your Solicitor may suggest inserting a clause in the contract to 'cover' the aforementioned 'issues' but with no specific performance law to back it up, is it worth it ? Ask your Solicitor whether they have any experience of solving such problems using a clause in the purchase contract, or whether 'trying' to enforce a clause will (firstly) take a long time and (secondly) cost a lot of money ?
Using a Solicitor to make an application for Permission to Purchase
Presumably, making an application and obtaining your PtP will be included in the services that your Solicitor provides to you (normally, it does), but when appointing your legal representative, make sure that it does and ask them to give you a time frame to complete the process and regularly check back with them to ensure that everything is going according to plan and that there are no hitches.
Having paid a fee to your Solicitor to cover the cost of applying and obtaining your Permission to Purchase, they should provide you with proof that they have made the application on your behalf and this should be in the form of your Permission to Purchase application number. Ask them to supply it to you and keep it in a safe place.
This is very important because should a dispute arise between you and your Solicitor and you see fit to engage the services of another Solicitor to continue with the property purchasing process on your behalf, to do so, the new Solicitor will need your application number. So, obtain it and record it in a safe place. As indeed, you should make sure, once the purchase is complete, that you obtain your complete Property Purchase File and proof that all fees and taxes are paid in full, together with confirmation that the legal process is complete.
Making an application for Permission to Purchase at the Ministry of the Interior
You do not need to appoint a Solicitor in order to make and obtain your Permission to Purchase. You can visit the Ministry of the Interior and make the application yourself. So, if you are thinking about buying a property in North Cyprus and you want to make your own PtP application and follow the advice offered by the Government by obtaining your Permission to Purchase before you commit to a purchase, the first job is to prepare the documentation that you will need to make the application, as follows :-
(i) Your Passport(s) and photocopies of the main page(s) with your photograph(s) and Passport number(s)
(ii) Photocopies of the Tapu (land) Office's site plans for the property
(iii) Photocopies of the property's Deed
(iv) The original (and photocopies) of your Police report from your home country
(v) The original (and photocopies) of the Contract of Sale for your chosen property
(vi) The original (and photocopies) of your own letter of application for PtP
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