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Turkish Property Title Deeds – Do You Know What To Look For?

tapu_smallWhile most buyers will secure the advice of a solicitor to guide them soundly through the legal aspects of the purchase process, you can help your property search from the outset by asking your agent for the ‘title deed’ information when you begin your viewings.
The title deed is the ownership document for a property, and will give you the information status you will need to know about habitation and ownership rights. ‘TAPU SENEDI’, or “TAPU “, is the Turkish name for the title deed.
Your agent, 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 your own physical checks, by visiting the district land registry records office yourself or by appointing a legal representative to do it on your behalf.

Find the records office (TAPU sicil müdürlüğü) for the Fethiye district here.

Below we have highlighted the key parts of the TAPU you need check and ask about before you 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 are 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, ‘mesken’ denotes a dwelling, apartment, villa or house, ‘arsa’ is a plot, or ‘ticari alanı’ denotes commercial estate, business, industrial or office space. Beware of status listings with the following designations as 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 they are key to determining ownership. ‘Kat mülkiyeti’, means the property has been granted a licence for habitation. ‘Kat irtifakı’, 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’, means the property has fractional and/or timed ownership, in short 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 could have for the 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) 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.

To find out more about the buying process in Turkey, view our online Turkey buyer’s guide