Basic Information before the Purchase of Immovable Property

What do I need to know?

1. Three (3) ways to purchase immovable property
• Purchase of immovable property with immediate transfer of certificate of registration (title deed).
• Purchase of immovable property through a Sale Contract (SLC).
• Purchase of immovable property from a current purchaser (not an owner) through assignment of the Sale Contract.
2. Choosing the right immovable property.

• Purchasing an immovable property is a process which requires careful handling by the purchaser,
in order to avoid any unpleasant situations. In the process of selecting the right property, we advise
the interested purchaser to become aware of all the rights and restrictions related to that property.
The more information the prospective purchaser has at his/her disposal, the better decision
he/she will be able to make.
3. Request the certificate of registration of the immovable property
Having a certificate of registration (title deed) for the immovable property ensures its registration
in the Land Register of the Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS). For complete information,
a recent certificate of registration should be requested from the seller, which contains
important information regarding the type and current condition of the property.
In the absence of a certificate of registration, the interested purchaser needs to further
investigate and possibly seek the advice of a real estate expert.

4. Legal Inspection of the property – Encumbrances and Prohibitions
Request from the seller to provide you with a Search Certificate of the property. Search for all the characteristics
of the property you are interested in on the “Department of Lands and Surveys Web Portal” (DLS Portal). The
characteristics of all properties are available to the public free of charge. Moreover, at the DLS Portal you can find a
video explaining how to search for them.
Make sure you know,

• whether the immovable property is registered and
whether it really belongs to the seller;
•the registered area of the property;
•if there are any encumbrances, e.g. mortgage, memo (an encumbrance created after the registration of a
court decision), court decision to sell the property, other deposited Sale Contract, etc. affecting the property;
•if there are any personal prohibitions against the registered owner, e.g. an Order for Bankruptcy or
Dissolution of a Company, an Order prohibiting the owner from selling the property, etc.
Moreover, make sure you know,

•if there is legal access to the property or if it is enclaved;
• whether any public stream, pathway or river passes through it;
•if the property is affected by compulsory acquisition;
•from the relevant Planning Authorities whether the property is affected by any development plans (e.g. a new road);
•if there are any other notes, or commitments, or restrictions on the property.
5. Make sure you know whether the transaction is subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) Ask the seller whether VAT should be paid and at which rate.
The seller should know in advance, after consultation with the Tax Department, whether the sale property is subject to VAT.
6. Make sure you know the amount of the transfer fees which you as a purchaser have to pay to DLS when the property is transferred in your name.
7. In addition, if the property is a plot of land, you should check

•for any interventions by third parties, by local inspection of
the property;
•if the registered area of the property corresponds to its
actual area;
•the town planning characteristics of the property, so that
you know the development and use rights of the property.
8. If there is a building on the property, then you should verify its legality and whether there are any
planning or building or other outstanding issues:
• make sure that the building has a Certificate of Approval, and whether it is with or without Notes, or other restrictions or prohibitions;
• ask if the property is subject to any town planning conditions, or if there are any unfulfilled obligations that may trap you in lengthy procedures;
• make sure you know in which planning zone the immovable property belongs to and the detailed planning zone
regulations that apply.
9. If you are going to purchase a unit which resulted from or will result from a division of property, make sure you know:
•in case of buying a unit from property which is under construction/development, whether it has the necessary permits (planning permit/building permit/ town planning permit by way of derogation) and any amending permits;
•the way the property was divided, how many owners exist, whether there is a Distribution Agreement between them, and whether this has been deposited at the DLS;
•the common areas of the building (parking spaces, terraces, corridors, etc.) and whether there are exclusive rights of use for any of these areas;
• your share of ownership in the common areas of the property;
• whether there is an additional unused building coverage according to the planning zone, and if so on whose name it will be registered;
• what is the time frame for work completion, obtaining the permits and the certificate of registration, in case the development has not been completed, and what are the consequences for the seller in case of breach
of the specified time frames.
PIO 179/2022-500
Published by the Press and Information Office
Printed by the Government Printing Office
Basic Information before the Purchase of Immovable Property
Any decision to purchase an immovable
property should be taking into account all aforesaid criteria, so as not to be misguided in making the wrong choice.
It is important, once you have completed research, and once a final decision to purchase the property has been
made, and there are no financial or other outstanding issues, that you proceed with the immediate transfer of the
certificate of registration (title deed) to your name.
If you decide to purchase the property, but there are financial or other outstanding issues, it is recommended
that you proceed with the conclusion and signing of a Sale Contract (SLC) with the seller, which you should deposit at
the DLS.
If you decide to purchase a property through an Assignment Agreement from an existing purchaser who has signed a
SLC make sure you check, as the assignee of the Assignment Agreement, whether the SLC has been deposited at the DLS, and whether there are any financial or other outstanding debts to the seller, as well as any encumbrances prior or
subsequent to the SLC.


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