Koca & Ersöz Hukuk Bürosu / Anwaltskanzlei

Real estate acquisition by foreigners in Turkey

The issue of foreigners buying property in Turkey is a hot topic and there are legal principles that need to be considered.

Many foreigners would like to buy that long-awaited dream house on the beach or perhaps a nice city apartment in a large city and retire to a new country. Of course, buying a property can also be used as an investment by renting it out.

I will explain everything you need to know about buying a property here. It is important that the purchase is governed by Turkish law. This also applies to inheritance, even if the deceased was a German or UK citizen.

Foreign property owners are also entitled to a one-year residence permit.

I. Restrictions on the purchase of real estate by foreigners

First of all, it should be noted that although in principle any foreigner can acquire property, there are very important restrictions.

1. Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey and Restrictions

Private individuals may acquire property within the city limits without special permission, except in areas that are part of restricted military or security zones. However, the area acquired may not exceed 30 hectares and may not occupy more than 10% of the area of the city in the zoned area. Special rules usually apply to tourist areas, which are intended to facilitate the purchase of land by foreigners. For areas larger than 30 hectares, permission may be obtained from the Council of Ministers for up to 60 hectares.

No private or commercial buildings may be erected in coastal strips of 20, 50 or 100 metres, depending on the level of development.

2. Restrictions on Legal Entities in Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey

Foreign-based companies are prohibited from acquiring property in Turkey. It is therefore necessary to establish a registered office in Turkey. There are no special restrictions for Turkish companies with less than 50% foreign ownership.

In the case of Turkish companies with a foreign shareholding of more than 50% or where a foreigner has control (if the foreigner can appoint or dismiss administrative bodies), it is important to note that the acquisition must be approved by the military in military zones and by the provincial prefecture in civil security zones.

II Notarial procedure -Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey

According to Turkish property law, only transactions carried out at land registries were valid until 2023. However, as of 2023, it will be possible to buy and sell property in Turkey before a notary public. Purchase contracts that are not concluded with a notary or a land registry are invalid.

Despite the possibility of notarisation, this can only be interpreted by the seller as a promise to sell. However, this promise to sell does not provide sufficient protection against fraudulent double sales. It is therefore in the buyer’s interest to ensure that there are no tax debts, mortgages, blockages or encumbrances in favour of third parties in the land register entry. A qualified lawyer can also check whether the property is actually owned by the person claiming to be the seller.

III Settlement before the Land Registry in Turkey

The actual contract of sale takes place before the relevant land registry. The land registry will check that all requirements have been met by the foreigner.

It is important to note that buyers who do not speak Turkish must be accompanied by a sworn interpreter. The purchase contract will only be valid with the signature of the sworn interpreter.

Once all the formalities have been completed by the Land Registry, the Land Registry Deed (Tapu) is issued. The buyer is then officially registered as the owner of the property.

IV. Ensuring Secure Payments at the Turkish Deed Office

The seller is generally required to pay the purchase price at the Land Registry. However, it is recommended that payment should not be made but that security should be offered in the form of a blocked cheque or other security. Payment should not be made until adequate security has been registered at the Land Registry.

V. Taxes and Charges in Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey

Land registry fees and taxes are payable on the purchase of a property. In addition, an annual property tax is payable. Land tax is payable on undeveloped land and building tax is payable on developed land.

VI Representation/Power of Attorney at the Turkish Deed Office

Either party may appoint a representative to handle the purchase transaction.

For this purpose, a notarial power of attorney is required, specifying each activity for which the representative is authorised. This document can also be drawn up by a notary in a foreign country. However, the formal requirements of Turkish law must be observed and an apostille must then be obtained from the competent state court. The Turkish Consulates General in countries outside of Turkey can also provide drafts.

VII. Required Documents for Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey

1. for private persons

  • – Passport and notarised translation of a photocopy of the passport
  • – Provisional tax number in Turkey
  • – Passport photos, 2 pieces
  • – Personal home address
  • – In case of representation: Power of Attorney (including Apostille) according to Turkish law Turkish law

2. for legal entities

In addition to the above, the following documents are required

  • – Notarised signature of the authorised representative of the company
  • – Tax number of the company
  • – Certificate of Power of Attorney, which refers to the content of the Articles of Association, indicating which shareholder is responsible for the purchase of the property. This must be issued by the local Chamber of Commerce.

VIII. Inheritance

If a foreigner who owns property in Turkey dies, the property passes to the heirs. The heirs will receive a certificate of inheritance from their own country, which they must expressly accept. This certificate of inheritance, together with an appropriate translation, must then be submitted to a Turkish civil court in order for a Turkish certificate of inheritance to be issued.

IX. Sale/rental by foreigners

Foreigners may sell their property in Turkey to any person at any time without restriction and transfer the proceeds of the sale abroad. There are no restrictions on letting the property.

Expert Legal Assistance for Foreign Property Transactions in Turkey

At Koca & ErsözAttorney Partnership, we have over 15 years of experience and have successfully represented thousands of foreign clients in Turkey in matters relating to the purchase and sale of real estate, leases and inheritance. We continue to provide expert legal advice and ensure that our clients’ transactions are safe and compliant with Turkish law. Whether you are buying your dream home, selling a property or dealing with an inheritance issue, our dedicated team is here to assist you every step of the way. Contact Koca & Ersöz Attorney Partnership today to find out how we can assist you with your property needs in Turkey.

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