Property Conveyancing in Malta
When a sale of a property is concerned, the procedure which sets the ball rolling is nearly always the signing of the preliminary agreement (also referred to as a ‘promise of sale’). This preliminary agreement is an agreement reached between a prospective vendor and a prospective purchaser for the sale by the former to the latter of property (immovable or movable). In order for a preliminary agreement on immovable property to be binding it has to be in writing and duly registered by the Notary with the Inland Revenue Department within 21 calendar days from date of signing. A preliminary agreement should contain the date, the details of the Vendor and of the Purchaser, the description of the property, the title under which the property will be transferred (sale/purchase), and the terms and conditions agreed between the parties (including price, payment terms and length of agreement until the final contract is signed).
Apart from sale, immovable property can also be transferred under various other titles, including but not limited to, donation, exchange, partition.
In any case of a transfer of immovable property, once the searches into the root of title are in hand and vetted by the Notary and the conditions to which the preliminary agreement has been made subject are fulfilled, an appointment convenient to all the parties is fixed for the signing of the final contract. It is important to note that the Notary does not view the property or check its building permits. Should a survey of the property be required, an architect is to be engaged separately to check whether all the necessary building permits are in place and to ensure that the property is structurally sound.
The final contract is always signed by all the parties concerned together with the Notary simultaneously. Should any one of the parties not be able to sign the contract personally, one can always sign a power of attorney appointing someone else in their stead to conclude the transaction and matters relating thereto.
To ease the procedure of the payment of the price when purchasing a property, especially when purchasers are foreigners, I offer clients account services at no extra charge (apart from any commission charged by the bank) which services include an accountable distribution of the funds on the contract of purchase to the Vendor, the estate agent and any other party who may be involved in the transaction.
It is also a practice of mine to keep all parties involved in a property transfer regularly updated on how matters are proceeding until the day the appointment for signing of the final contract is confirmed.
If you are a prospective purchaser who is going to take a loan from a local bank in Malta to finance the purchase price of the property, I liaison with your bank manager to ease and to follow up the procedure for the approval of your bank loan.
I also make sure that once the contract is signed and duly registered at the Public and/or the Land Registries (as the case may be), a true copy of the original contract is sent to all parties concerned.
The original contract is always kept by the Notary which original contract in the end is passed to the Office of the Notary to Government and Notarial Archives. The Notary can always, upon request, issue a true copy of the original contract from the volumes of the Register kept at the Notary’s office.
Also, as part of my notarial services, I offer free consultation on legal issues regarding property related matters prior to signing, such as providing information to non-resident purchasers about the implications of purchasing a property with or without the Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit (AIP permit), as the case may be. I will also look after your property succession rights the day the contract of purchase is signed – which leads us to the next part of my profession.
Notarial fees are calculated according to the Notarial Council’s official Billing Calculator available here.