independent legal advices to purchasers, vendors and developers for over
Real estate investment by foreign investors has increased
dramatically in recent years with the growth of the tourist industry on
Providenciales and the resulting awareness of what the islands have to
TCI's Registered Land
system provides a simple and reliable land transfer
process. Nevertheless, in order to avoid the other potential
difficulties which can arise, it is imperative that legal advice is
sought "prior" to the signing of any agreement or payment of any
The potential risks of signing any agreement, however informal,
relating to real estate without first obtaining legal advice cannot
Under TCI law, once parties have committed certain basic terms to
writing, the agreement may be enforceable against them, despite the
fact that there may be important provisions which remain to be finalized and notwithstanding the fact that other important
arrangements have not been made.
With limited exceptions Dempsey &
Company charges on a percentage basis for conveyancing work applying
a sliding fee scale based upon the Bar Association Minimum Scale Fee
schedule. Work done in relation to leases is typically charged
on a time spent basis. We will be happy to provide a quote in
relation to any conveyancing matter upon request.
Typically, a real estate purchase
will involve the signing of an initial sales agreement and payment
by the buyer of an initial deposit, usually 10%, towards the
purchase price. The date for closing the transaction is
usually fixed by agreement between the parties (typically 30 days)
at which time the transfer document will be handed over to the
buyer's attorney in exchange for the remainder of the purchase
price. The transfer document is lodged by the buyer's
attorneys in the Land Registry and the Register for the property is
then amended by the Registrar who deletes the name of the seller and
inserts the buyer as the new owner of the property.
The condominium market
is a comparatively new and expanding area of property law in TCI and as
such, is worthy of specific comment. It is Dempsey & Company's
view that independent legal advice is as important when purchasing a
condominium as it is when purchasing a house or undeveloped land.
Potential purchasers should give consideration to the obligations and
duties owed by sales agents and managers of condominium developments and
should take an independent view on legal representation.
developments in the Turks and Caicos Islands have the same basic
characteristics as condominiums in the United States and elsewhere -
e.g. the owner
becomes a member of the general owner’s association, which is known as
the Strata Corporation, of the development concerned.
Corporation will have registered bye-laws, which are its constitution
and which determine how the development is run. Usually the Strata
Corporation is run by an executive committee of several owners elected
by the general membership. Ownership of a condominium generally
involves periodic payment of Strata Corporation dues to cover
maintenance of common areas, building insurance and other expenses.
there are no property taxes or other direct taxes in the Turks and
Caicos Islands, stamp duty is payable on most real estate transactions.
Generally, stamp duty in respect of registerable transactions must be
paid within 30 days of completion of the transaction. In view of the
substantial sums which may be involved, the attendant penalties for
non-compliance with stamp duty regulations, and the very real
possibility of paying more than is required by law taking professional
advice in relation to stamp duty is recommended.
main categories of stamp duty are as follows:
A graduated scale of stamp duty is
payable upon the transfer of the property. Where property valued in
excess of US$75,000.00 is transferred stamp duty is chargeable at the
rate of 7% on Providenciales and 3% for the less developed islands.
Transfers of lesser value incur a lesser rate duty.
Usually, the purchase price is the
benchmark for calculating stamp duties however the Land Valuations
Officer can (and occasionally does) carry out his own valuation as stamp
duty is calculated on the value of the property. Generally, the
purchaser will be liable for the payment of stamp duties. There is
an equivalent duty payable upon the transfers of shares in corporations
owning real estate in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where a change of
beneficial ownership is involved.
Stamp duty of 1% of the sums secured by
the mortgage is payable upon registration;
Stamp duty is payable upon the
registration of leases. The stampable amount is dependant upon
the length the lease and the average annual rental.
Should you require
assistance with a property transaction please do not hesitate to contact
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