Real Estate Related Legal & Information in
the Cayman Islands
Can I foreigner buy real estate in the Cayman Islands? Yes, foreign ownership of property is encouraged. People or companies can purchase up to 3 residential properties. Any more than that, you have to hire a property manager who has a Trade & Business license or you can apply for your own.
Will I need to buy title insurance when buying property in the Cayman Islands? No we do not have title companies here, because the Cayman Islands government has a very sophisticated land register system and the government guarantees title.
Is there a tax office or somewhere the land is registered in the Cayman Islands? Yes, every property is registered under a unique block and parcel number. A potential purchaser can review records to learn if there are any liens or restrictions on the property prior to buying real estate for sale in Cayman Islands.
Is there a land transfer tax due on the sale of any real estate in the Cayman Islands? One of our few taxes is called a stamp duty of 7.5% and is charged by the government on all property sold in Cayman Islands calculated on the purchase price or the market value, whichever is the higher amount. The buyer pays this tax. Chattels and furnishings are not considered part of the value of the property.
What other costs are there normally associated with buying real estate in the Cayman Islands? Purchasers pay their own legal fees, which are usually equal to .5% of the value of the property and this fee can be negotiated with your attorney. Also the government charges a stamp tax to any mortgages of 1% up to CI$300,000 and then 1.5% over CI$300,001.
How the property is transferred form the Vendor to the buyer? The process is called conveyancing and we strongly encourage you to hire a local attorney to do this as they do the checks on title to ensure you are buying what you think you are buying. The process can take as little as 3 days or longer.
Legal Advice: Purchasing Real Estate in the Cayman Islands
Purchasing real estate in the Cayman Islands is fairly straightforward, with systems set in place to protect investors and buyers from fraud or other potential problems. Foreign investors are welcomed with no restriction on foreign ownership. This freedom, along with no property taxes, make it an ideal offshore spot to buy your next luxury home or beach front condominium rental. For foreign investors who want to purchase land, there are no time limits or deadlines dictating when you must complete your building project.
Although there are no property taxes, the Cayman Islands government does require a one-time stamp duty that acts as a transfer fee. This fee is 7.5% of the purchase price.
The title of your new purchase is guaranteed by the Cayman Islands Government. Every real estate transaction must be recorded at the Department of Lands and Survey office, which is housed in the brand new, state-of-the art Government building in George Town. The Lands and Survey office oversees the island’s modern and effective land registry system where every piece of land has its own block and parcel file number and a physical file that can be accessed. Buyers do not need to purchase costly title insurance or worry about possible liens or holds on the property--everything is recorded and guaranteed by the Government’s Lands and Survey office. The name of the individual owner or company name is registered on the title along with any cautions, liens, right of ways, or easements.
In addition to this system, the Cayman Islands have a very sophisticated planning and zoning bylaws that the Government Planning Department enforces. There is also a stringent building code, designed to keep the value of property high and the safety of residents and visitors as a top priority.
In order to ensure this stable infrastructure and the impressive Cayman real estate industry, there are several highly skilled attorneys on the island. Although the Cayman Islands have their own set of laws that they are governed by, those laws are based on English common law, and all of the recommended attorneys are well versed in the legal requirements of property transfers and title searches.
Because the Cayman Islands do not have title insurance, nor require you to pay for title insurance, we recommend meeting with a local attorney, who will research the title for you to make sure there are no liens on other problems on title. This individual will file all of the necessary documents with the Lands and Survey office. Capital Realty does not conduct any conveyance and we strongly encourage every purchaser and vendor to engage a real estate lawyer who specializes in local property law.
We can recommend the following lawyers, who will answer the phone and promptly return your emails. Please email us and we will gladly make introductions for you and give you their direct email and phone lines.
Appleby Law Firm
Nelson & Company
Bodden & Bodden
Higgs and Johnson
Beyond title searches, there are many Cayman Islands attorneys who specialize in real estate-related issues and other related areas of law, including:
- Company Formation and Corporation Law and Services
- Trusts, Wills and Probates
- Residency and Immigration Matters, Employment Law
- Maritime Law and Ship and Yacht Registration and Financing
- Aviation Law and Aircraft Registration and Financing
- Financing and Securitization of Loans
- Banking, Finance, Mutual Funds and Capital Markets
- Planning and Development of Real Estate
- Opening Corporate Bank Account and Trusts
- Licensing and Local Business