Important checks when buying property in Turkey; property tax debts, planning consents, habitation certificates, etc.

 

Overdue property tax debts

It is crucial to find out whether the present property owner owes the tax department any Real Estate Tax. Turkish property regulations state that the incoming owner is responsible for these debts. Make sure you put a clause into the sale contract to avoid this potential situation. Its also a good idea to ask the seller to give you copies of the tax receipts issued by the tax department.

Overdue utility service debts

Ensure you put clauses into the sale contract stating that the seller will be responsible for any overdue debts incurred before the sale date.

Tenants

If the property you are buying has a tenant, have a look over the tenancy agreement, and where possible meet the tenant. Check whether the tenant has issued the seller with an evacuation notice. If they have, check that the dates written in the sale contract and in the evacuation notice match.

Checking registry records

When you consider buying a specific property in Turkey make sure to compare the information the seller gives you with the title deeds (TAPU) records. You need to check:

  • That the physical address of the property and the address on the TAPU are the same
  • How many owners there are (if there is more than one you will need to ensure all owners agree to the sale)
  • If there are any clauses on the TAPU preventing the transferral of ownership

Building legislation

Current legislation states that all buildings in Turkey must adhere to construction and earthquake-proof laws and plans. The seller should provide you with the Use of Building Permit (Yapi Kullanma Izni) or Habitation Certificate (Oturma Izni/Ruhsati).

Buildings that are under construction

If you want to buy a property in Turkey that is still under construction, ensure that the contractors undertaking the work are financially sound and legal enterprises. Check the existing contract of work and double check the date of completion, the materials and indemnities etc.

Construction of a property on a land

Construction Law No. 3194 states you may erect a building on your land as long as:

  • It is in accordance with the current construction plans and regulations
  • You receive authorised planning permission documents from the local authorities.



As for building rights, if the land you own falls within municipal boundaries, that municipality can approve the construction. If the land you own falls outside the municipal boundaries, you will need authorisation from the provincial governors office (valilik).

You will not be allowed to build on common lands, such as parks, green fields or roads.

If you are planning to buy land in Turkey you will need to find the official construction plans authorised by the local authorities.

Residency permits for newly-built buildings

A residency or habitation permit (Yapi Kullanma Izni or Oturma Izni) is an official document demonstrating that the building has been completed in accordance with the planning permission from the local council authority. The permit includes information about the construction authorisation, the completion date of the works, the land registry office documents on the property, the location and the area of the property, details of property specifications and the owners details.

A residency permit is issued by the Construction License Directorate (Yapi Izinleri Mudurlugu) and Construction Supervision License Directorate (Yapi Denetim Izni Birimi).

If you do not have this document you will not be able to live in this property, or sign up for utilities.

Essential documents for residency permits

In order for your property to be completely above board, you will need the following documents:

  • Petition
  • A copy of the title deeds (TAPU)
  • A tax document showing that the owner does not owe any taxes
  • External sewage document (you can obtain this from the Water Utility Directorate of the Municipality)
  • Telecom Turkeys suitability approval for telecommunications connection
  • Scientific Responsibility Report (Fenni Mesul Raporu)
  • Front-facing photographs of the property
  • If the property has an elevator, you will need: guarantee and standards documents, engineers approval, supervision report and receipts, as well as the application projects approved by the relevant authorities.
  • Where designated, an air raid shelter report
  • In a property where fire exits are compulsory, a fire brigade report detailing these exits

Who can apply for residency permits?

Either you or your agent (as designated by a power of attorney) can apply to the Construction Licenses Directorate in your municipality.

How much is a residency permit?

You will need to pay an examination fee and a levy, calculated by the area (measured in square metres) of the property. The prices are updated regularly, youll need to contact the local authorities for the correct figures.

Housing co-operatives

These are legal entities established in accordance with Law No. 1163 and aim to provide co-operative partners (or participants) with residential apartments or houses.

Housing co-operatives are one of the most popular methods of buying property in Turkey for Turkeys citizens, who are generally middle-income earners.

There are a number of advantages to housing co-operatives, for example: state organisations can provide cheaper loans and there is greater potential for economies of scale.

However, co-operatives must be managed correctly. The Board must be able to prove a solid financial status, and it is imperative that a reliable construction company is employed.

If you are part of a co-operative and you wish to purchase property in Turkey, you must research all aspects of the venture thoroughly. It is recommended that you hire a professional to assist you or work on your behalf.

A co-operative must have at least seven partners (or members). The co-operatives Articles of Association (AA) need to be notarised by a notary public and additionally, be registered in the Trade Registry. The AA must contain the following details:

  • The co-operatives name and address
  • Its intentions and activities
  • Any conditions in which members can lose their partnership
  • The shares of individual members
  • Members rights and liabilities
  • Method of co-operatives representation
  • The manner in which income and expenditures amass
  • The details of the founders (names and addresses)
  • How members plan to contribute to the co-operative

The co-operative must compile partnership notes under each members name. These notes must be signed by members and other representatives. The documents are then given to the members to certify their legal claim in the co-operative.

The main decisions about a co-operatives goings-on are made by the General Assembly, made up of members. It is standard practise for General Assembly meetings to be held every three years. Members are invited to the meetings by individuals who are under authority to represent the co-operative, and these individuals are generally chosen by the assembly.

The law allows partnership to come to an end. However, there may be restrictions as stated in the AA, which may state that partnership must last for a minimum of five years. If there are force majeure conditions in the AA and a member falls in a force majeure, that partner is free from this time restriction.

Partnership rights can be transferred to other individuals or sold

. Regulations state that any partner may request that the board of a co-operative supply them with a co-operatives financial status.

A co-operative disbands when:

  • The works stated in the AA have materialised and the participants have registered properties in their names
  • The General Assembly chooses to dissolve it
  • There is a declaration of bankruptcy
  • A court decision actions the co-operatives disbanding
  • It is taken over or bought by another co-operative
  • The General Assembly has not met during a three-year period
  • The authorities discover that the co-operative is no longer achieving its designated objectives.