As per Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No. 2644, amended by Law No. 6302 which entered into force on 18th May 2012, persons with foreign nationality buying property in Turkey (of any type: house, business place, land, field) in Turkey, may do so, as long as they abide by the legal restrictions.
Persons with foreign nationality who buy a plot of land without any buildings constructed should submit the plans to the relevant Ministry within a period of 2 years.
According to the Turkish laws and regulations in force, the transfer of ownership of a property is only possible with an official deed and registry which is signed at the Land Registry Directorates.
It is possible to sign a “sales commitment agreement” before a notary. However, legal ownership of the property does not pass with a “sales commitment agreement” or other kind of sales agreement signed before a notary.
Legal Restrictions on Buying Property in Turkey
- Persons with foreign nationality can buy a maximum of 30 hectares of property in Turkey in total and can acquire limited in rem rights.
- Foreign nationals cannot acquire or rent property within military or designated security zones. Persons with foreign nationality can acquire property or limited in rem rights in a district/town up to a maximum of 10 % of the total area of said district/town.
- Legal restrictions do not apply in setting mortgages for real persons and commercial companies having legal personality which are established in foreign countries.
- The properties are subject to winding up provisions in the following cases: (i) if the properties are acquired in violation of laws; ii) if the relevant Ministries and administrations identify that the properties are used in violation of the purpose of purchase; iii) if the foreigner does not apply to the relevant Ministry within time in case the property is acquired with a project commitment to build; iv) if the projects do not materialize within time.
Property Purchase Process
The purchaser of the property or their authorized representative should make a preliminary application to the Land Registry Directorate. If the preliminary application is incomplete, the file will be kept pending.
The following documentation is required:
- Title deeds of the property or information on village/district, block, building plot, detachment.
- Identification document or passport (Together with its translation).
- “Property Value Statement Document” to be provided from the relevant municipality.
- Compulsory earthquake insurance policy for the buildings (house, office, etc.)
- 1 photo of the seller, 2 photos of the buyer (photos to be taken within last 6 months, 6×4 size)
- (If one of the parties cannot speak Turkish) certified translator and 2 witnesses.
- (If the power of attorney is prepared abroad) The original or certified copy of the power of attorney and its approved translation.
Powers of Attorney Issued Outside Turkey
- Powers of attorney are issued by the Turkish Embassies or Consulates.
- If the power of attorney which is issued by a notary of a foreign country is certified according to The Hague Convention dated 5 October 1961 and if it bears “Apostille (Convention de La Haye du Octobre 1961)” in French, there is no need for an additional certification of the said power of attorney by the relevant Turkish Consulate.
- If the power of attorney is issued by a notary of a foreign country which is not party to The Hague Convention dated 5 October 1961, the signature of the said notary has to be certified by the relevant authority of the foreign country and then the signature and seal of said foreign authority must be certified by the Turkish Consulate in that country.
Financial Aspects of the Property Purchase Process
- Both vendor and purchaser have to pay the title deed fees, 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 2013 is 2%. )
- Circulating capital fee which is determined locally must be paid.
- At the stage when the Land Registry Directorate enquires 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 Cadastre Directorate has to be paid.
Other Issues to Bear in Mind
- The foreign national should check with the Land Registry Directorate if there is any limitation on the property, such as a mortgage, charge or impediment or any obstacle which prevents the sale of the property.
- If the application by the foreigner for buying a property is rejected, this may be appealed to the relevant Regional Office of the Land Registry Directorate.
- For the above reasons it is advisable for foreigners to contract only registered and regulated professionals who can avoid problems with ownership arising in the future.
- Having a residence permit is not a condition for the foreign national who wishes to buy a property in Turkey. Likewise, buying a property does not grant the foreign national the right to obtain a residence permit in Turkey.
- If there is a disagreement between the parties to the sale of a property, the case has to be brought before the Turkish courts by referring to judicial authorities.
Property Acquisition by Companies with Foreign Capital
Where the foreign investors hold, individually or collectively, 50% or more shares of the a company, or where the foreign investors do not hold any share of such a company, but have a right to assign or remove the managers of said companies on the condition that the company has legal personality in Turkey, then the company may purchase property in Turkey in accordance with Article 36 of Land Registry Law No. 2644 and the “Decree on Acquisition of Property and Limited in Rem Rights by Companies and Corporations within the Context of Article 36 of Land Registry Law No. 2644”, dated 16.08.2012.
The Land Registry General Directorate has published a circular No. 2012/13 (1735) on “acquisition of property and limited in rem rights by companies with foreign capital”