Latest updates

Plans for Guernsey deposit protection scheme to be laid out before end of 2018
  • Guernsey
  • 05 October 2018

The Office for the Environment and Infrastructure recently announced that a new deposit protection scheme will be planned before the end of 2018. The announcement follows news that a local estate agent has ceased trading, leaving some tenants and landlords uncertain of their position with regard to rents and deposits that were being held by that agent. The proposal is likely to be that Guernsey should introduce a similar, if not identical, scheme to that already in place in Jersey.

Amendments to Transfer and Mortgage of Immovable Property Law introduced
George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC
  • Cyprus
  • 05 October 2018

Law 8(I)/2018 came into force in July 2018, amending the Transfer and Mortgage of Immovable Property Law. The new legislation was applied for the first time in a recent Nicosia District Court case, which is considered to be of great importance in assessing how the courts will interpret the new law in future. The case concerned an auction procedure which had been initiated by the sending of the relevant documents and notices to the mortgagor, which filed a lawsuit against Hellenic Bank to suspend a foreclosure procedure.

Demolition crackdown: Vienna protects its buildings
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Austria
  • 31 August 2018

The City of Vienna recently announced its intention to reform the building code. Some building owners consider it unfair that strict maintenance obligations and rent limits apply only to old buildings, whereas buildings constructed after 8 May 1945 can be let at market rent. As a result, many building owners have chosen to tear down historic buildings and erect new concrete and steel structures in their place. Therefore, one of the aims of the reform is to protect the city's historic buildings.

Prior consultation with indigenous communities: key requirement for real estate developers
Santamarina y Steta SC
  • Mexico
  • 31 August 2018

Convention 169 – Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention establishes that indigenous peoples or communities must be consulted on any legislative or administrative act that may directly affect them. Companies that intend to develop or invest in real estate projects in Mexico should therefore consider community consultation as part of their feasibility criteria.

How to acquire real estate in Mexico: alternate investment vehicles
Santamarina y Steta SC
  • Mexico
  • 20 July 2018

Acquiring real estate in Mexico can be cumbersome and time consuming, particularly for foreign investors. The Constitution forbids foreign individuals and entities from holding direct ownership of land or waters in the geographic area known as the 'restricted zone'. However, Mexican law allows foreign individuals and entities to use a foreign trust to acquire beneficial interests in real estate that is located in the restricted zone where it is intended to be used for residential or commercial purposes.

New RETT rules for share deals
Noerr LLP
  • Germany
  • 06 July 2018

The Ministers of Finance of the Federal States recently agreed on new real estate transfer tax (RETT) rules for share deals. According to official press releases, a fundamental RETT reform that had been previously discussed was not agreed. Rather, the agreement consists of new RETT rules regarding share deals with a lower threshold, longer holding periods and aligning the rules that are applicable to corporations with those that already apply to partnerships.

Federal government drops plan to tighten rules on foreign real property investments
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Switzerland
  • 29 June 2018

In March 2017 the federal government submitted to public consultation several proposals to amend the legal regime governing foreign investments in Swiss real property. The vast majority of the comments received rejected the proposed amendments. While the government subsequently dropped its plan to amend the Lex Koller and a related ordinance, certain pending parliamentary motions may impact the Lex Koller regime in the medium term.

How to make sure that your real estate project succeeds
Santamarina y Steta SC
  • Mexico
  • 15 June 2018

In determining the feasibility of a real estate project, an evaluation of the relevant financial and statistical analyses is not enough. Due to the complex and extensive legislative scope that developers now face, they must also consider the legal factors that will affect a project's implementation and operation, including with regard to the authorised use of a property, environmental zoning and ownership requirements, as well as the rights of indigenous communities.

Supreme Court manages shopping centre management costs
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Austria
  • 08 June 2018

Service charge provisions in shopping centre lease agreements frequently give rise to disputes between landlords and shop operators. In a recent decision on such costs, the Supreme Court offered some insights into shopping centre lease agreements which go beyond service charge provisions.

Real estate firms in the digital advertising era: are you thinking about the risks?
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • 01 June 2018

Digital advertising is an effective and efficient way to brand a property, but it is also increasingly complex and nuanced, which is why many real estate firms subcontract this work to creative agencies that specialise in digital ad strategy and development. However, engaging a third party to provide this service can introduce risk in a number of areas. Therefore, real estate firms should consider how to mitigate those risks in their contracts with digital advertising partners.

Impact of omnibus spending plan on affordable housing industry
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • 18 May 2018

President Trump recently signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018, a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending plan covering the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year. In addition to providing for increased appropriations for several affordable housing programmes, the spending plan adopted two key provisions from the proposed Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that will strengthen and expand the low-income housing credit.

Alleged government inaction did not amount to inverse condemnation and compensable taking
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • 11 May 2018

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently reversed the US Court of Federal Claims decision that a constitutional compensable taking had occurred with respect to the owners of real property which had been damaged as a result of Hurricane Katrina and other recent hurricanes. This ruling could affect many thousands of Texas and Southeastern United States claims that are being filed in the court of claims in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Levy on added value of land resulting from planning measures
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Switzerland
  • 27 April 2018

Swiss legislation provides for adequate compensation for considerable advantages and disadvantages resulting from spatial planning measures. In particular, land that is newly allocated to a building zone substantially increases in value. Owners of such land will benefit from spatial planning activities without any contribution on their part. For reasons of fairness, these benefits are subject to a levy which is supposed to 'skim off' part of the added value.

Sale of real estate by special purpose vehicles
Noerr LLP
  • Germany
  • 20 April 2018

Transaction structures involving special purpose vehicles, whose main assets after completion of the purchase process consist only of the purchased real estate, are often chosen in Germany. Such structures are used in particular to shield from liability, so that third-party access to the special purpose vehicle's assets is limited. They are also used to facilitate a sale without incurring real property transfer tax for the exit.

Residential property developers face cash-flow crunch due to VAT on temporary letting of units
  • South Africa
  • 06 April 2018

Many residential property developers will begin 2018 with a major cash-flow challenge, as they may be faced with a substantial value added tax (VAT) liability in respect of the temporary letting of residential units which have been developed for resale. It is hoped that the South African Revenue Service and the National Treasury will urgently address the problems with regard to the VAT rules concerning the change-in-use adjustments for property developers.

Supreme Court: no change of control despite departure of majority shareholder
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Austria
  • 09 March 2018

The Supreme Court recently considered whether a landlord can increase the rent if the majority shareholder of a partnership dies and his or her shares are distributed equally among the remaining partners, none of whom holds a majority in the partnership. In the decision, the Supreme Court offered an insight into how to assess the change of control in a company that is not a corporation.

Ballot initiative seeks to eliminate Proposal 13 for commercial and industrial real estate
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • 09 March 2018

A new initiative seeks to put two significant changes to California's property tax system before voters in November 2018: the elimination of Proposition 13 protection for commercial and industrial properties in favour of reassessment at least every three years and the addition of a tangible personal property tax exemption for all taxpayers and a full tangible personal property tax exemption for taxpayers with less than 50 California employees.

Three yearly returns for LBTT leases – are you ready to review?
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 February 2018

Land and buildings transaction tax is a tax on property transactions in Scotland and applies to purchases of residential and commercial properties and leases of commercial premises. One of the components of the regime is the requirement for three yearly reviews of the tax chargeable. The government's approach is for leases to be reviewed for tax purposes on a regular basis over their lifetime so that the tax payable more accurately reflects the amount of rent actually paid over the entire lease period.

Pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Cyprus
  • Cyprus
  • 16 February 2018

Purchasing property in Cyprus can involve a number of pitfalls. Potential purchasers are advised to exercise extreme caution when buying property, especially if the title deed is not readily available, which is a common scenario when purchasing new property in Cyprus. Above all, it is paramount to obtain independent legal advice from a competent lawyer. A good lawyer should ensure that purchasers are protected from these potential problems.

Constitutional Court sets out new standard for purchase of real estate in Georgia
  • Georgia
  • 09 February 2018

The Constitutional Court recently considered issues raised in the decision of a lower court in which the legal presumption of accuracy and completeness of entries in the Public Register in relation to real estate was declared in part unconstitutional. The decision may have a significant, adverse impact on the real estate market in Georgia and will be relevant to any real estate transaction, including taking mortgage security.

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