Title Deeds in Cyprus

By Marios Konstantinou

Updated: May 21, 2024

Cyprus title deeds are a series of legal documents which record land and property ownership. The Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS) has a copy of the title deeds for every property. The title deeds prove ownership and show the history of ownership. They will also include information such as mortgages, long-term leases (over 15 years), charges, court decisions, etc.

Certificate of registration of immovable property in Cyprus

The certificate of immovable property registration (title deeds) is issued by application to the relevant District Office of the Department of Lands and Surveys, Ministry of the Interior, Cyprus.

Cyprus title deeds legislation

The rules on title deeds are contained in the following legislation:

  • The Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224.
  • The Immovable Property (Transfer and Mortgage) Law, 9/65.
  • The Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance) Law of 2011, Law 81(I) 2011 as amended by Law 132(I)/2023.
  • The Streets and Buildings Regulation Law (Amendment) of 2011.

Are Cyprus title deeds to be trusted?

The British established the land registration system in Cyprus, which is generally considered a success. All land is registered, so title deeds are an efficient way to show who owns the land and all the previous dealings and details concerning it. The short answer, therefore, is yes.

However, the Department of Lands and Surveys recommends buyers do the following before buying a property:

  • Ask for the title deeds. If there are no title deeds, find out why, and seek the advice of a professional, lawyer or real estate agent.
  • Find out about payable VAT and transfer fees.
  • If any building or structure is on the land, learn if the relevant permissions and certificates have been obtained.
  • Once you decide to buy and pay, arrange for the transfer immediately. If, for any reason, payment cannot be made at once, sign a contract of sale and deposit it to the Land Registry (the relevant district office). This action ensures that the land is not sold to anyone else and protects you if, upon payment, the seller delays the property transfer (see below). A buyer has six months to deposit the contract.

The Department of Lands and Surveys also highly recommends doing a search concerning the property. This is called due diligence and can be carried out by the buyer or their real estate property lawyer. A search certificate can be obtained at the Department of Lands and Surveys district office for a EUR 10 fee for every plot of land. The search will show who owns the property if it is mortgaged, and all other issues, problems and information relating to it.

In late 2023, Cyprus passed Law N. 132(I)/2023, which requires the seller to include, as an integral part of the contract, a Land Registry search certificate not older than five working days from the signing of the contract. Read more about this property law amendment.

How to obtain title deeds in Cyprus?

When buying a property in Cyprus, title deeds can be obtained straightforwardly.

The Department of Lands and Surveys has created an electronic platform for certain transactions. However, obtaining title deeds needs physical presence.

Cyprus title deeds procedure

  • The buyer and seller must go to the District Land Office where the property is located. They can go in person, in which case they should carry ID documents or send their representatives, usually their lawyers, carrying a proxy (authorisation).
  • If the buyer and/or seller is a company, the directors (or one authorised director) will go to the District Land Office.
  • The buyer and seller must complete the transfer form (N. 270).
  • The seller must fill out form N. 313 to confirm that all taxes and charges have been paid.

Under normal circumstances, the process takes one hour (there may be a queue, however). Title deeds will need a few working days to be issued.

Cost of title deeds in Cyprus

The cost of title deeds depends on the value of the property.

The rates are as follows:

  • Value up to EUR 85,000; the transfer fees are 3%.
  • Values between EUR 85,000-170,000; 5%.
  • Over EUR 170,000; 8%.

No transfer fees apply if VAT has been paid.

VAT is paid for immovable property at the rate of 19%.

VAT Reduction

A reduced VAT of 5% applies for the first residence.

The House of Representatives passed new legislation on 8 June 2023 to diminish the area that qualifies for VAT reduction. The new criteria are that the 5% VAT will apply to 130 sq m of land for a residence worth up to EUR 350,000. To qualify, the whole transaction must not exceed EUR 475,000, and the area of the property must not exceed 190 sq m.

For people with disability, the reduced VAT of 5% will apply to 190 sq m of land.

This law has been published in the Cyprus Republic Official Gazette and took effect on 16 June 2023. It amends the existing VAT law and has been given the number 42(I) of 2023.

However, there is a grace period. The law does not cover permissions obtained on applications for reduced VAT submitted until 31 October 2023.

How do I transfer title deeds in Cyprus?

Cyprus title deeds are transferred using the procedure described in the previous section. The seller must complete form N. 313 to pay all pending taxes concerning the property. The seller and buyer must also complete form N. 270 and pay the transfer fee. The buyer pays the transfer fee.

The importance of Cyprus title deeds for property

Title deeds are central documents and an essential part of buying land. They prove the registration of the legal title and who owns the property.

Moreover, title deeds show the current state of the property and contain a description, registration number, encumbrances, mortgages, rights, and charges.

Buying without title deeds is possible, though it may contain dangers.

Common reasons why there are no title deeds

Common reasons why there are no title deeds are:

  • The property is mortgaged.
  • There are legal problems with the property.
  • The seller or developer has not fulfilled their tax obligations concerning the property.

Legislation (the Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance) Law of 2011) protects the buyer without title deeds by allowing them to ask the court for an order of specific performance against the seller.

Under Law 132(I)/2023, the procedure and remedies change for contracts signed after December 12, 2023.

After that date, the seller must include a search certificate from the DLS as an integral part of the sales contract. The search certificate shows any mortgages or other burdens on the property.

The buyer should, within 6 months, deposit at the Land Registry:

  • The contract of sale and either
  • A declaration from the mortgage owner and the seller that once you repay 95% of the mortgage, they will lift the mortgage and confirm this to the Land Registry. Then, the Land Registry will transfer the property to you. If the seller fails to lift the mortgage and transfer the property, the DLS will do it, provided you give them the receipt for the mortgage repayment.
  • Or a declaration from you that you do not wish the contract of sale to be accompanied by the statement in (2).

The new law (132(I)/2023, amending the original law 81(I)/2011) contains specimens for both types of documents: the declarations and receipts wanted under 2 and 3.

Title deeds for a brand-new property

After a new property has been constructed, the developer (or owner) will apply for the title deeds. The Cyprus title deeds procedure is as follows:

A certificate of final approval (CFA) needs to be obtained from the relevant authority. The relevant authority is usually the Municipality Town Planning Authority; if there is no municipality, the community council for the area or any other council appointed by the Council of Ministers to this effect, or, ultimately, the District Officer for the region.

The CFA verifies that:

  • All building and planning permits were issued, and construction was completed following the permits.
  • The building has not derogated from the information given to the authorities.
  • The developer or owner has 21 days from completion to apply for a CFA.
  • Once the developer or owner gets the CFA, they will apply to the Land Registry for the title deeds.
  • Other necessary inspections may then be carried out.
  • The Survey Department will visit the site to check boundaries and ensure that minimum distances between buildings have been kept.
  • Official maps and plans are drawn and uploaded to the system.
  • The title deeds are issued in the developer's or owner's name. Upon sale, the developer transfers them to the buyer.

Important factors to know

Title deeds are necessary to buy or sell a property, for succession purposes when the owner passes away, and for resolving disputes about the property.

If there are no title deeds, the buyer should proceed with caution. There are transactions (dealings) with land that are not very much affected by the absence of title deeds, such as a short-term lease. Still, due diligence is highly recommended.

The Takeaway

  • Title deeds are legal documents that record ownership, mortgages, charges and other essential information concerning a property.
  • In Cyprus, all land is registered. Title deeds are issued, and the Department of Lands and Surveys holds copies.
  • The Department has an electronic platform; some transactions can be done online, but property transfers cannot.
  • It is possible to buy property without the title deeds; in fact, legislation protects the buyer in such a case. However, if there are no title deeds, it is highly recommended not to proceed before taking a lawyer’s advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are title deeds for property in Cyprus?

Title deeds are a series of legal documents which prove ownership of land and contain several details about it, such as description and registration number. Importantly, they show legal and other issues concerning the land, such as mortgages, charges, court decisions and long-term leases.

Can you sell a house in Cyprus without title deeds?

Yes. However, if the seller does not transfer the title deeds to the buyer, the buyer can apply for a court order to make the seller do so.

Should I buy a Cyprus property without title deeds?

It is not advisable. If you wish to buy a particular property (for emotional or any other reason), seek the advice of a lawyer.

How to get title deeds in Cyprus?

The Cyprus title deeds procedure depends on whether the buyer will get the property with existing title deeds or whether these are issued for the first time. If the buyer buys property from a developer or a previous owner, they or their representatives will go to the district offices of the Land Registry to complete certain forms. All taxes and charges concerning the property must be paid. If the developer or owner applies for title deeds for a new property, first, they need to get a certificate of final approval from the municipality. The next step is to apply to the Land Registry for the title deeds. The survey department will need to visit the property.

How long does it take to get a title deed in Cyprus?

The Department of Lands and Surveys mentions a few working days. However, title deeds may be issued on the same day.

Who pays immovable property transfer fees in Cyprus?

The buyer.

How We Can Help?

We have been serving clients since 1983 with measurable success.
Follow us
Members of:
Cyprus Bar Association The Legal 500