Purchasing Property in St. Lucia
Acquiring property in St Lucia after an Agreement for Sale has been entered into between a non-national intended purchaser and a vendor/developer requires usually a 10% deposit after which non citizens are required to obtain an Alien’s Land Holding License to purchase real estate in St Lucia:
- The license is a permanent licence which does not require renewal.
- It is not transferable.
- It is granted in respect of a specific property or lot of land and thus a person seeking to purchase different properties over a period of time would have to apply for a license on each occasion.
- There is a non-refundable application fee of EC$1,500 (US$560.00).
- The license fee for properties measuring less than one acre is EC$5,000.00 (US$1,860.00) and for properties measuring an acre or more EC$10,000 (US$3,750.00).
- There is a 10% tax liability (known as Vendor’s Tax) due to the Government upon a resale of the property. This calculation is based upon the value for which the property is re-sold at. This can be minimized to a tax liability of merely 0.5% where a domestic company is formed to hold and own the property. What is sold at the time of the disposition of the property is not the land per se but rather the shares in the company which has, as its sole asset, the property.
- Company formation takes 7-10 days and costs approximately US$1,766.63
- License applications are usually made at the beginning of the property purchasing process (often upon the signing of an agreement for sale) and take approximately 4-6 weeks to process. Once the application is processed by the Ministry of Physical Development and approved, a draft license is sent by the Applicant’s attorney to the Attorney General’s Chambers for approval. Once approved, the license is prepared and sent to the Prime Minister’s office for signature. Once signed, the license is then sent to the Land Registry to be registered as the registration details of the license must be entered on the Deed of Sale conveying the property into the name of the newly licensed purchaser. Alien License Document/Information required in support of application.
- Completed alien’s license application form
- Map Sheet of the property
- Land Register of the property
- Survey plan of the property
- A recent valuation of the property
- Completed tax account application form
- Signed agreement for sale between Vendor and Purchaser
- Statutory declaration by applicant indicating no previous convictions
- Four notarized passport-sized photographs
- Police certificate of character or Extract of non-conviction from applicant’s local police station
- Employment/job letter indicating nature and duration of position
- Banker’s reference
- Certified fingerprints from a police station
- Government Stamp Duty – There is a stamp duty of 2% of the purchase price of the property to register the Deed of Sale.
- Mortgage – If a mortgage is taken there is a government stamp duty of 1-1.2% of the purchase price to register the mortgage.
- Legal Fees – The legal fees are set at 1-1.2% of the purchase price of the property for the legal work. If a loan is required, the lawyer will charge an additional 1 to 1.2%.
- Registration, Copies and Stamps – The fees for these services are EC$150.00.
- The local Buyer has to provide the following documents – a letter from Inland Revenue for Property Tax Clearance and Income Tax Clearance, and a letter from National Insurance for Clearance.