Latest updates

Extinguishment of purchasers' rights – importance of priority in unregistered land systems
  • Bahamas
  • 21 June 2019

The Bahamas has an unregistered land system that is based on the conveyancing laws of England and Wales issued before 1925. Therefore, deeds and documents should be recorded in the Registry of Records in The Bahamas as soon as possible. Priority becomes particularly important in high-net-worth commercial and condominium development transactions.

Vienna Building Code: new provision renders short-term letting illegal
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwalte GmbH
  • Austria
  • 31 May 2019

A new provision in the Vienna Building Code recently entered into force, rendering short-term letting – including through rental services such as Airbnb – illegal in large areas of Vienna. Further, under the new provision, all parts of residential zone buildings that were being used for residential purposes when the provision entered into force – or were built thereafter – may be used only for residential purposes. That said, the new provision may be unconstitutional.

Supreme Court examines appeal against decision by Land Registry director
  • Cyprus
  • 17 May 2019

The Supreme Court recently issued its decision on the appeal of a district court interim decision concerning an application to present oral evidence as part of an application against a decision by the director of the Land Registry. The applicants had filed their application against the director's decision to grant a right of way to the respondent to the detriment of their immovable property.

New legislation on rent increases due to modernisation – impact on investors
  • Germany
  • 10 May 2019

Tenants in Germany are generally well protected against rent increases in existing tenancies and high rent increases are uncommon; however, a major exception is when flats or houses are modernised. New legislation aims to offer tenants improved protection against abusive practices when modernisation work is announced and carried out and prevent them from being disproportionately burdened by rent hikes due to modernisation.

Tourism real estate: legal considerations for developers
  • Mexico
  • 12 April 2019

Mexico attracts a large number of tourists, and real estate to support this booming industry is frequently being developed by investors. As Mexico has an abundance of natural resources, tourism developments often take place in a range of different ecosystems, such as forests, beaches and jungles. This article examines the main legal issues that developers should consider when planning a real estate project in Mexico.

Brexit: changes for UK citizens on Swiss property market
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law
  • Switzerland
  • 15 March 2019

While it remains unclear when and on what terms Brexit will happen, the United Kingdom and Switzerland recently signed an agreement on citizens' rights which covers the purchase and retention of real estate by UK citizens in Switzerland and vice versa. After Brexit, UK citizens with a legal and actual Swiss residence will require a permanent Swiss residence permit (C permit). Otherwise, they will be considered persons abroad and will be subject to the Lex Koller restrictions.

Consultation published for SDLT surcharge for non-residents acquiring residential property
Forsters LLP
  • United Kingdom
  • 08 March 2019

The government recently published a consultation proposing the introduction of a 1% stamp duty land tax surcharge on non-residents acquiring residential property in England and Northern Ireland. The proposals include applying the surcharge to non-resident individuals, companies, partnerships and trusts. However, the government is considering relief for non-UK resident individuals who are Crown employees subject to UK income tax at the time of the transaction.

Five issues commonly encountered in commercial building leases
Makarim & Taira S
  • Indonesia
  • 01 March 2019

Leasing is an easy way for businesses to acquire office space in a prime location and helps them to free up working capital. Thus, a carefully prepared lease agreement is invaluable for the lessee and lessor. As a number of issues may be encountered when leasing a building for office space, it is important to consider these ahead of time.

Maximising your real estate returns with fractional ownership
  • Mexico
  • 22 February 2019

As with any other type of investment opportunity, when investing in real estate, it is crucial to limit the risks as much as possible while maintaining maximum returns. Fractional ownership is a good option in this regard, irrespective of whether a party wants to develop real estate or invest in personal real property. Often mistakenly compared with the timeshare model, the fractional ownership model has unique characteristics which can make investing in real estate more feasible and manageable.

Rent Control Court awards damages to owner after tenant is evicted
  • Cyprus
  • 22 February 2019

The Limassol Rent Control Court recently dismissed an application regarding the eviction of a tenant from a leasehold. Since it was ruled that the first and second applicants had never owned the property, they were not entitled to file the eviction application. However, the court awarded damages in relation to unpaid rent to the third applicant (who became the actual owner of the property after the application).

Swiss voters reject plan to freeze building zones
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law
  • Switzerland
  • 22 February 2019

Swiss voters recently rejected an initiative that aimed to stop urban sprawl by freezing the overall size of building zones and strictly limiting exceptions that allow building activities outside building zones. While supporters of the initiative considered the current legal regime to be insufficient, opponents argued that the proposed initiative was overly strict, unable to accommodate cantonal and regional differences and inadequate to address population and economic growth.

Recent amendment to rent increase threshold
  • Turkey
  • 08 February 2019

Turkey recently amended Article 344 of the Code of Obligations, which regulates the upper limit of rent increases for residences and workplaces with a roof that can be agreed on by parties to a rental agreement or determined by the courts. The upper limit will now be calculated based on the consumer price index rather than the producer price index as before.

Clarification in SARS' latest issue of Interpretation Note 64
  • South Africa
  • 11 January 2019

The South African Revenue Service recently published the fourth issue of Interpretation Note 64, which seeks to provide guidance on the application and interpretation of Section 10(1)(e) of the Income Tax Act. With the rising prevalence of complex developments, security estates, shopping centres, wellness compounds and high-rise flats in South Africa, body corporates, homeowners' associations and share block companies are commonplace and clear guidelines as to the taxation of these entities is imperative.

Rent control court rules on outstanding rent
  • Cyprus
  • 14 December 2018

The Nicosia Rent Control Court recently ruled on the outstanding rent of a statutory tenant. The court held that a provision for the increase of rent provided for in a tenancy agreement does not apply once the tenancy is converted into a statutory tenancy. However, by interpreting the terms of the tenancy agreement (which had been terminated in this case), the court concluded that it had not provided for an increase in rent during the first tenancy period.

Federal Supreme Court decision on compensation due to limitation of secondary homes
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law
  • Switzerland
  • 16 November 2018

The Federal Supreme Court recently addressed for the first time whether the prohibition to build secondary homes on private property entitles landowners to compensation. The court ruled on the consequences of the withdrawal of a previously established right through an amendment of the law and clarified that the concept of private property is not a fixed notion inaccessible to change. There is no entitlement to a permanent definition of the concept of private property.

Formal requirements on agreements to amend real estate purchase contracts after conveyance
  • Germany
  • 16 November 2018

Federal Court of Justice case law suggests that the parties to a real estate purchase contract can in principle immediately change its content without having to comply with notarial form requirements after the notarial certification of the real estate purchase contract containing the conveyance has been concluded. The court's recent decision in this regard is to be welcomed in the interests of the continuity of its case law and in view of the lower courts' increasingly inconsistent case law in the past.

Title insurance and indigenous rights
  • Mexico
  • 02 November 2018

Procuring title insurance has become common practice in real estate transactions for both lenders and owners. As title insurance is a type of indemnity insurance which covers financial loss from title defects, it protects policyholders from past events which could affect the property's transfer. However, certain aspects of real estate development which are unique to Mexico must be taken into account in this regard.

Amendments to Transfer and Mortgage of Immovable Property Law introduced
  • 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.

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.

Demolition crackdown: Vienna protects its buildings
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwalte 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.

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