all sensible buyers will secure the advice of a solicitor to guide them soundly through the legal aspects of the purchase process, you can start your property hunt on the right foot from the outset by asking your agent for ‘title deed’ information when you begin your viewings.
Simply put, the title deed is the ownership document for a property and will give you the detail you will want to know with regards to habitation and ownership rights. In Turkish the title deed is called a ‘TAPU SENEDI’, TAPU for short.
Reputable agents, as part of their pre-marketing processes, will verify that a property vendor’s TAPU corresponds to the version held at the local land registry.
However, it is also advisable that you make arrangements to do your own physical checks, ie by visiting the district land registry records office yourself or by appointing a legal representative to do so. Find the records office (TAPU sicil müdürlüğü) for the Fethiye district here.
Below, we pick out the key parts of the TAPU to check and ask about before you come to sign on the dotted line.
1 Property address (sections ‘ili’ to ‘mevkii’): check that the address on the TAPU and the physical address of the property is the same. When you come to buy, you or your legal representative can check property co-ordinates against records held in the district land registry office.
2 Property type (‘Niteliği’): Check the status listed, eg ‘mesken’ denotes a dwelling (ie apartment, villa or house), ‘arsa’ is a plot, or ‘ticari alanı’ denotes commercial estate (ie business, industrial or office space). Beware of status listings with the following designations as for these types foreign buyers are either prohibited from purchasing or face restrictions: forestry (‘orman alanı’), agricultural (tarim alanı), arable (tarla alanı), military (askeri bölge) or tourist (‘tourizm tesis alanı’).
3 Property designation: One of the following three categories should be ticked and are key to determining ownership. ‘Kat mülkiyeti’, this means the property has been granted a licence for habitation. ‘Kat irtifakı’, this means the property is legally deemed ‘under build’ as some licences are still to be granted, even though the property may be physically complete against the architectural plans approved by the municipality. ‘Devre mülk’, this means the property has fractional and/or timed ownership, ie the property is owned for a certain amount of time in a year. If there is more than one owner, you will need to consider any implications this may have for transfer of ownership – do other owners need to supply their consent?
4 Reason for sale (‘Edinme sebebi’): This section will detail the name of the current property owner(s) and reasons under which the property was bought/sold. It is common for leases to be held under co-operative agreements in Turkey, particularly for apartment developments. If the property is part of a housing co-operative information will be detailed in this section alongside the co-op members and the share (hisse) that they hold. Shares are shown as a proportion of the land measurements for the property (yüzölçümü).
5 Officiating stamp: This section must be stamped by the TAPU office and signed by a TAPU official.