What is the Legal Basis of Purchasing Immovable Property in Turkey by Foreigners?
- Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No. 2644 has been amended by the Law No. 6302 which entered into force on 18 May 2012. Accordingly, the condition of reciprocity with regard to purchasing immovable property in Turkey by foreigners has been abolished. In this context, those countries whose citizens can purchase immovable property in Turkey in certain specified conditions, has been identified by Council of Ministers.
- With the said amendment, the Law has entitled the citizens of 183 countries to purchase immovable property "without the condition of reciprocity". The most important reason of the said amendment is to enable Turkey for foreign investors' acquisitions due to considerable interest to immovable property investment.
- Information on countries whose citizens can purchase immovable property and acquire limited in rem rights can be obtained from the Turkish Embassies/Consulates and the General Directorate for Land Registry and Cadaster. Within this scope, it has been stated that citizens of Arab and Islamic Countries except for Syria can purchase immovable property in Turkey. (Due to confidentiality, there is no declared list stating what 183 countries are). In accordance with the amendment made in 2012, reciprocity condition has been removed and therefore it is no longer impossible for citizens of Arab and Islamic Countries to purchase immovable property in Turkey while it was impossible before the said amendment.
- Natural persons with foreign nationality can purchase any kind of immovable property (dwelling, business place, land, farm) subject to relevant legal restrictions.
- Natural persons with foreign nationality who purchase unstructured, incomplete immovable such as land and farm have to submit the respective construction projects which they will build on the property to the relevant Ministry within 2 years.
- According to the Turkish laws and regulations in force, transfer of ownership of an immovable property is only possible with an official deed and registry which is signed before the Land Registry Directorates.
- It is also possible to sign a "preliminary agreement to sell" before a notary. However, it is not possible to gain ownership of an immovable property by execution of the said "preliminary agreement to sell" before the notary or any other kind of sales agreements in that manner.
What are the Legal Restrictions for Foreign Natural Persons With Regard to Purchasing Immovable Property?
- Before the stated Amendment, total surface area of countrywide immovable properties purchased by foreigners could be 2,5 hectares (25 thousand m2) at most. However, currently, persons with foreign nationality can purchase maximum 30 hectares (300 thousand decare) of immovable property in Turkey in total and can acquire limited in rem right to the same extent. Such numerical limit regarding the immovable property can be doubled at most by the decision of the Council of Minister. Hence, with the decision of the Council of Ministers persons with foreign nationality can purchase up to 60 hectares of immovable property in Turkey in total.
- It is forbidden for foreigners to acquire and rent immovable property within the limits of military forbidden zones and security zones.
- Natural persons with foreign nationality can acquire immovable property and limited in rem rights in a district up to 10 % of the total privately owned area of the said district.
What is the Procedure for Foreign Natural Persons with Regard to Purchasing Immovable Property?
- Buyers should be the "Nationals of Those Countries who can Acquire Property and Limited in Rem Rights in Turkey" and meet "The Necessary Conditions for Acquisition". Hence, buyers should not be under the scope of the above stated legal restrictions and be a citizen of those countries determined by the Council of Ministers. In order to determine this, related Land Registry Directorate communicates the relevant military offices to inquiry as to whether there is an obstacle regarding the sale of immovable property within the scope of regulations for foreigners to purchase immovable property in Turkey. In case of a favorable reply, Land Registry Directorate to which the subject matter immovable property is registered begins the perform the due formalities.
- The owner of the immovable property or his/her authorized representative should make a preliminary application to the Land Registry Directorate. (Preliminary applications are generally made before lunch break by taking a number in Land Registry Directorate).
- In case of an incomplete application that can be completed afterwards, preliminary application file is put among the pending files.
What are the Required Documents for Foreign Natural Persons when Purchasing Immovable Property?
a) Title deed of the subject matter immovable property or information on village/district, block, parcel, building, independent section (Title Deed proceeding is carried out in the related Land Registry Directorate).
b) Identity certificate or passport (Together with translation if necessary),
c)"Property Value Statement Document" of the immovable property to be provided from the relevant municipality (Generally, there are branches that has been established specifically for this purpose by municipalities close to the related Land Registry Directorate),
d) Compulsory earthquake insurance policy for the buildings (dwelling, office, etc.),
e) 1 photo of the seller, 2 photos of the buyer (photos shall be taken within the last 6 months, in the size of 6x4),
f) If there is a party who does not speak Turkish, certified translator together with 2 witnesses,
g) If the transaction is carried out with a power of attorney which is prepared abroad, the original or certified copy of the power of attorney together with its translation.
Fees and Expenses to be Paid by Foreign Natural Persons when Purchasing Immovable Property
- Both seller and buyer pay the title deed fee, calculated according to the selling price which cannot be less than the "Property Statement Value" to be issued by the relevant municipality. (According to the Charges Law No.492 the title deed fee percentage for 2014 is %2.)
- Circulating capital fee which is determined locally should be paid (Maximum 73x2,5 TL for 2014).
- At the stage when the Land Registry Directorate inquires with the relevant military authorities whether the property is located within a military or special zone, circulating capital fee for the map prepared by the Cadaster Directorate should be paid if necessary (336 TL for 2014)
What are the Other Issues to be Taken into Account By Foreigners Wishing to Purchase Immovable Property in Turkey?
- The foreigner should inquire with the Land Registry Directorate if there is any encumbrance on the property, such as mortgage, attachment or any restriction which prevents the sale of the immovable property.
- In case the application of the foreigner for purchasing property is rejected, an objection can be made to the relevant Regional Office of the Land Registry Directorate.
- Foreigners should only work with expert and reliable companies.
- Having a residence permit is not a condition for foreigners to acquire immovable property in Turkey.
- In case of any dispute between the parties on the sale of the immovable property, the dispute should be brought before the Turkish courts.
- As a result of the amendment made to the Article 35 of the Land Registry Law, the condition of reciprocity has been abolished. Accordingly, including Arab and Islamic Countries (except for Syria) citizens of 183 countries can purchase immovable property in Turkey.
- Persons with foreign nationality can buy up to 30 hectares of immovable property per person. Such number can be doubled up by Council of Minister's decision.
- Respective construction projects of the unstructured, incomplete immovable should be submitted to the relevant Ministry within 2 years.
- Total area of properties cannot overpass 10 % of the total privately owned area of district.
- A preliminary application is made to the relevant Land Registry Directorate. Application should be transmitted with the above stated necessary documents.
- Permission is needed for foreigners to purchase immovable property within military and private security zones. After preliminary application, it is inquired from the military offices if there is an obstacle regarding the sale of immovable property to a foreign natural person. Time for a reply of governmental authorities vary (may take 1 month to 3 months).
- Official deed is drawn up at the Land Registry Directorates.
- Proceedings in Land Registry Directorates are completed within 1-2 days after favorable reply and completion of the submission of necessary documents.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.